Post appeared on USA Today’s Happy Ever After on May 11, 2017.
My husband fell in love with me because of a memo I wrote. He’ll deny it and claim it was my kind heart, vivacious personality and stunning smile, but I know it was really my mad memo-writing skills. Honestly, who could resist a perfectly formatted memorandum riddled with bullet points and a sexy pros and cons list?
Before your mind wonders to illicit places, the memo was a persuasive argument to start an employee softball team at his company. He was my boss, and I was an employee, and that request began our whirlwind office romance that ended with “I do.” It should be no surprise that I gravitate to office romances, and these must-read books will make you believe that sometimes business and pleasure mix perfectly.
The Boy Next Door by Ella James
This second-chance romance vibrates with emotion and will tie you up in knots and hold you captivated long into the night. Amelia and Dash grew up as next-door neighbors and friends, and they shared a special connection that evolves over the years into unacknowledged romantic feelings just as he leaves for college. All ties are unexpectedly cut when he moves, until an unexpected encounter a year later results in a night of passion and revelations. While this should be the beginning of their future, it is an abrupt and cruel end, and Amelia is devastated.
Six years later, Amelia walks into her summer internship and discovers Dash is her boss, and seeing him after all this time reignites her anger and her heartache. She wants answers but is also afraid to hear them, and Dash refuses to reveal why he left. It’s evident he has secrets, and it’s apparent they still love each other. The office brings these passionate, star-crossed lovers back together, and proximity forces them to excavate their past in order to consider a future. The reader will feel every heartbreaking, gut-wrenching moment along the way and will be mesmerized and begging for its bittersweet resolution. The Boy Next Door will leave you smiling and considering the power of first loves and second chances.
The Negotiator by Avery Flynn
I’d never read Avery Flynn, but a friend recommended The Negotiator, and I owe that person a thank-you note. This is a clever, passionate and charming love story that takes a lighter look at office romance, and reading it feels like the best kind of indulgence. Sawyer Carlyle and Clover Lee are combustible from the moment they meet, and he hires her to be his “buffer” against his meddling, matchmaking mother. He’s a wealthy businessman who has dedicated his life to routine and the family’s business empire, and she’s a nomadic free spirit who works odd jobs to fund her next adventure.
They challenge each other at every turn, trying to deny their mutual attraction because they assume they’re too different, but their efforts are in vain when Clover transitions from buffer to fake fiancée. All lines between boss and employee are blurred as the sexual tension reaches a fever pitch, and their pretend relationship becomes a real love affair that has them both reconsidering their future. Underneath all the fiery exchanges and sizzling encounters, there’s a sweetness to this romance as Sawyer and Clover lower their guards, expose their insecurities and realize even the best negotiator can’t out-negotiate fate.
The Wright Boss by K.A. Linde
The Wright Boss is a sexy and deeply romantic story, where a complicated, seemingly impossible relationship defies all expectations. Landon Wright’s life is dismantled when he leaves an unhappy marriage, faces the possible end of his professional golfing career and moves back to his hometown to start over. He’s also just realized that he wants to pursue his attraction to his childhood friend Heidi, who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend’s best friend. There’s nothing easy about this scenario.
Heidi is just as attracted to Landon, but she’s not sure there could or should be anything between them so she is determined to ignore her feelings — and him. Her strategy is blown to bits when he accepts a position at his family’s company, where she works, and he becomes her boss. Now he’s within sight and touching distance, and although Heidi has everything to lose — her career, her best friend, her heart — the mind-blowing pull between them makes him impossible to resist. The only thing Landon is certain of in his uncertain life are his feelings for Heidi, and he steadfastly and passionately woos away her fears. His pursuit feels hypnotic and swoon-worthy, and there is no doubt Landon Wright will be on quite a few book-boyfriend lists. The Wright Boss is a testament to love’s ability to grow and thrive in the most unlikely of places, and K.A. Linde’s fearless and powerful writing will turn any cynic into believing in true love and happy ever afters.
Mary Dubé can be found reading when she’s not teaching spinning, crunching numbers, blogging or hovering over her teenager. She reviews for All About Romance and Harlequin Junkie and is always looking to add to her keeper shelf. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.
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