From the back cover ~
Jake Stevens - star reporter and celebrated literary genius - is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and...
Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?
Another Sarah Mayberry and another win! The setting is a newspaper, the Melbourne Herald. Our heroine is a former professional swimmer who is the the paper's newest writer. Our sexy hero makes it clear that he isn't happy with the newest staff member. Our heroine is determined to succeed at her new career and refuses to let the hero's rude attitude stop her.
Hmmm... let's start with Jake the jerk. LOL Okay, I totally get why our handsome, award winning writer is not happy when someone with no writing experience is given the job of columnist. He's worked hard to get to where he is and to have someone come in without paying their dues really ticks him off. Mayberry had her work cut out for her when she wrote Jake. He really was a jerk to Poppy when they first meet. Beyond his good looks, I didn't like Jake at first. I liked Poppy and Jake was mean to her. Bastard. So for me to come around to not only liking Jake but liking him with Poppy, Mayberry had to work her magic, and she did.
Poppy Birmingham gives up her swimming career when an injury forces her into early retirement. When offered a job as a columnist she takes it, looking for a career away from the pool. Her first day on the job doesn't go as well as she'd hoped. She does get to meet her hero, columnist and author Jake Stevens. She also gets a rude awakening when he's less than friendly, making it clear that he thinks she's just a dumb jock. This attitude doesn't help Poppy's insecurities. She knows the only reason she got the job is because of her experience in the sports world. She barely finished high school and with that in mind she has enrolled in an evening writing class.
I totally enjoyed Poppy's persistence. The way she refused to let Jake get to her while still finding him attractive. You go girl! Show him what you're made of! She was great when it came to standing up to Jake. There were times when she was barely able to hold it together but she did and I couldn't help but cheer her on. It turns out she's a natural when it comes to getting the story. Her insight into the athletes world gives her writing a unique perspective.
Jake was funny with his irritation and dislike for Poppy while grudgingly admitting, if only to himself, that he finds her attractive.
He couldn't help noting the firm bounce of her ass as she walked. Probably she could crack walnuts with that, too. He wondered idly what she looked like naked. Most swimmers didn't have a lot happening up top, but she clearly had a great ass and great legs. page 20
He's caught and he doesn't even know it. LOL This is early on and Jake is still acting like an ass towards Poppy. Still wallowing in his own problems and willing to take out his frustrations on her. Jake is suffering major writers block. His one and only novel was a huge success but that was years ago. His personal life took a downward spiral and the only writing he has done are his columns for the paper. His second novel is still rattling around in his head and he can't seem to get it out. Maybe he's in need of a muse... or a kick in the ass. :)
After the sexual tension hits it's peak, Poppy and Jake give in to their attraction with a one night stand that continues beyond the one night. Neither wants anyone to know that they have become more than coworkers so they meet in secret. Soon it becomes more than just sex, and something or someone had to change. Mayberry does a wonderful job in developing not only Poppy and Jake's relationship but developing Poppy as a reporter and writer. As she writes, her confidence increases and she blooms. She develops friendships with her coworkers and begins to enjoy her new career. Jake, on the other hand, is closed off with a big "Do Not Enter" sign when it comes to relationships. And he is determined to not let anyone get close. He really needed to be hit with a 2 X 4 before he would acknowledge his feelings. Out of the two, Poppy was the stronger character, causing change in both her own life and Jake's. The way they played off each other and the way they ultimately encouraged each other made for an appealing couple.
Mayberry, for me, has developed into an author that I can count on to give me unique characters, uncommon situations and an interesting story. Fortunately I still have some of her back list to read through while waiting for her next release.
sidenote ~ Every time I typed "Poppy" it started as "Poop". The mind of an eight year old boy lurks inside my head. :D