When you put together a former pro rugby player turned CEO, a timid but mouthy assistant, and enough all-consuming sexual tension to burn up the pages, you get quite a delicious little package already. But add to that some rather phenomenal writing and flawless character development and you are in for a real treat. A sweet, slow-paced, very sexy romance between two people who are drawn to one another from the moment they meet, this story is not as straight-forward or as predictable as it might seem. Gently and sensitively interwoven with some heavier, much more intense emotional undertones than I ever expected to find in a story of this kind, this was a book I found to be absolutely impossible to put down. I adored the characters, I loved their unique connection, the snarky humour that colours their every exchange, and I was utterly charmed by the way their relationship slowly but surely takes hold, never rushed, never forced, thoughtfully and realistically mapped out from the start. A book I will most definitely re-read many a time, I urge you to meet and fall in love with Charlie-mouse and T-Rex.
“A petite but tempting morsel. Too bad she was terrified at the sight of him.”
Charlotte Baird is the girl no one notices in the office. Petite, unassuming, cloaked by figure-drowning clothes that are designed to make her feel invisible, she is self-conscious and unobtrusive, but behind the timid little mouse hides an intelligent and witty young woman, capable of much more than people give her credit for. Her traumatic dating past, however, has made it so that she now deliberately avoids attention of any kind, her bashfulness and fear of men being something she cannot control or escape from, both in her personal as well as her professional life. Her quiet existence is thrown off balance by the arrival of her new boss, a man hired to salvage the struggling company Charlotte works for, but one look at him and there is no doubt in her mind that he is the most compelling man she’s ever met. And the most intimidating one too.
“Gabriel Bishop was a gorgeous man… Too big and muscled and dangerous, but gorgeous. Like a tiger was gorgeous. Right before it ate you.”
Gabriel Bishop’s reputation precedes him wherever he goes. An ex-rugby star turned ruthless businessman, he is smart, driven, confident and successful in all his endeavours, but very few people in his life truly know the man behind the muscles and the tailored business suits. What comes across as arrogance and callous drive is a need to never again feel like that little boy whose whole life changed the day his father abandoned his family and left them fending for themselves. From the moment shy little Charlotte steps in front of him, he cannot get her out of his mind, the hidden fire in her eyes stirring something in him, a hunger he’s never known before, but it is her occasional smart mouth that intrigues him the most. So he makes her his new PA, forcing her to work daily alongside a man she is terrified of as well as viscerally attracted to, both being a constant challenge for Charlotte, especially since her new boss is also determined to get her in his bed. And has no qualms about expressing it. Unequivocally.
“If you tell me you don’t want me, I’m going to demand you give me your panties to prove they’re not damp.”
In a sexy game of “T-Rex and mouse”, we watch their relationship change over time, cross boundaries and evolve into what they both desperately want. But Charlotte’s hang-ups are a real obstacle to any intimacy between them, forcing Gabriel to handle her with patience and care, teasing, tempting and charming her out of her shell, thus allowing her to bloom under his loving touch at her own pace.
“The seeds of terror were hidden within her, could burst open at any time.”
I am still stunned by how much I not only enjoyed this story, but also felt emotionally invested in every aspect of it. There is a delightful streak of light-hearted humour tied in with the intense emotions driving this story forward, and it is this perfectly balanced contrast that hooked me in and kept me enthralled until the end. The characters are well-rounded and fascinating, and their very differences are what makes their connection so magical and touching at times. A mighty “T-Rex”, larger than life and deceptively rough around the edges, falling for a gentle little “mouse” and treating her with such loving care and sensitivity that it wards her demons away and makes her whole again—this is a story that will warm your heart and make it race all at the same time, every part of this story done just right, and every eloquent word penned by this gifted author making you want to read everything else she’s ever written.
“When you look at me like that, I want to do everything you ask me.”