<i>Keepsake</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Keepsake: Exclusive Excerpt Sarina Bowen "He made a soft, bitten-off sound, and I felt it in the center of my chest." <i>Change of Address</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Change of Address: Exclusive Excerpt Jordan S. Brock "Letting someone in is a tall order for two men who can't trust themselves..." "Full Circle": A Second Circle Tattoos Story "Full Circle": A Second Circle Tattoos Story Scarlett Cole "He kissed her. Savoring the moment before he told her the rest of his plans." Naughty and Nice: 2016 Holiday Romance Novel Sampler Naughty and Nice: 2016 Holiday Romance Novel Sampler Team H & H We’re serving up a bit of naughty and nice this holiday season!
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Showing posts by: Sahara Hoshi click to see Sahara Hoshi's profile
Sep 20 2016 3:00pm

First Look: Tamsen Parker’s School Ties (September 20, 2016)

School Ties by Tamsen Parker

Tamsen Parker
School Ties
InterMix/ September 20, 2016/ $2.99 digital

Much like Tamsen Parker's Craving Flight, School Ties  reads more like literary fiction tied with romance.  Parker works well with the affluent boarding school setting, Hawthorn Hill as well as the trope of a young student in love with a teacher. What's interesting is that the first half of the novel is really a build of sexual tension between Zach Shepard and Erin Brewster. Erin's not too much older than Zach, but there is the boundary that she is the teacher and Zach's the student. Individuals would argue that there is a great emotional gap between a teacher who is 24 and a student who is 18. However, Zach has to take on more than his share of adult issues including working to help support himself and his family. The maturity is what attracts Erin to Zach although to be honest, Zach's attractiveness doesn't hurt either.

Tamsen Parker fans will be familiar with the kink that runs through the latter half of the book. However, compared to Personal Geography or Craving Flight, the kink is toned down in terms of how much Erin and Zach go into the kink aspect. It's more of a submissive's trust Erin places in Zach and Zach takes care of Erin in the way a dominant might. However, there's not much in terms of toys or the utilization of objects such as rope, paddles, etc. Instead, there is more of a physical dominance at play including spanking and more of Zach dominating Erin through intensity and physical presence. 

[Read more...]

Sep 10 2016 12:00pm

Shift Just Got Real in Jennifer Ashley’s Guardian’s Mate

Guardian's Mate by Jennifer Ashley

I was in love with Kenderick's story in White Tiger and fell in love with polar-bear Shifter and healer, Zander in the same novel so when the opportunity came to review Guardian's Mate, I jumped at it. Guardian's Mate could easily focus on Zander's past and present outlook as he's a character with an extremely rich history. In comparison, the heroine, Rae is just coming into her own, she hasn't lived as long as Zander nor has she gone through as many events or experiences with the magic that touches both Rae and Zander's lives. 

Jennifer Ashley did something very interesting here in pairing up a young woman trying to figure out circumstances that have been thrust upon her with a world-weary man who has seen almost too much to want to create deeper connections with the world around him. Rae stands on her own as a heroine, she may not have the same life experience as her hero, but she's certainly developed enough as a character to have her own opinions and personalty. In addition, she's a bit like Zander in that she doesn't fit the typical mold of the world Ashley's created. Rae is a black wolf Shifter who has been taken in as the adopted daughter of a Feline Alpha. Rae's not sure where she fits in and the place she's most comfortable, her Shiftertown, has turned against her because she's the first known female Guardian. So take one reluctant hero, a reluctant heroine, pair them together and you've got a strong standalone installment in Ashley's Shifter series.

[Read more...]

Jul 25 2016 2:30pm

First Look: Erin Watt’s Broken Prince (July 25, 2016)

Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Erin Watt
Broken Prince (Royals #2)
EverAfter Romance / July 25, 2016 / $14.99 print, $4.99 digital

Broken Prince picks up where Paper Princess left off, Ella has flown the coop away from Royal Palace and it's up to Reed Royal and his point of view narrative to help pick up the pieces and make sense of what is rotten in the Royal family. 

It's a nice surprise to get things in Reed's perspective, however, his change of heart over how much he was anti-Ella for most of the first book is a bit surprisng. The nice thing about this series is that Erin Watt has left a lot of room for shocking and almost unbelievable plot twists to happen. I'm not going to say who or what happens, but by establishing the soap opera tone early on in Paper Princess, Broken Prince can get away with a bunch of twists and plot shifts that would almost kill the suspension of disbelief in other novels.

[Ever after?]

Jul 21 2016 2:30pm

It’s Alive! Can Frankenstein Be Sexy?

One Night Steined by Daisy Harris

Editor’s Note: Yes, we know technically it should be Frankenstein’s Monster, but the terms have become interchangeable in the modern usage of the creature originated by Mary Shelley and for the purposes of this post, we’ll just use the term Frankenstein.

So let me clarify that we are not talking about zombies in this post, we’re talking about Frankenstein, patchwork people and people generally engineered or put together. The difference between a Frankenstein character and a zombie? The Frankenstein character has full use of his or her mental faculties, he or she does not eat the flesh of the living and finally, he or she has been brought to life or pieced together in some way.

[Not quite monster making...]

Jul 19 2016 9:30am

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Rock Wedding (July 19, 2016)

Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh
Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #5)
Nalini Singh / July 19, 2016 / $5.99 digital

I feel that a lot of readers including myself, were inclined to dislike Sarah's character based on the brief glimpses we had in the other books where we saw Sarah and Abe's messy divorce. In Rock Wedding, the reader gets a glimpse of addicted Abe from Sarah's point of view. The reader also gets to see how Sarah picks herself off the ground and goes from victim to victorious in her own right as a business owner. 

As I read the provided ARC (advance reader copy) I messaged Nalini Singh saying that this book is both beautiful and breaks my heart. There are a lot of issues dealt with in the book including: addiction, loss of a infant, divorce, domestic abuse and homelessness among others. What differentiates Rock Wedding from the previous installment Rock Redmeption is that most of the issues have happened in the past so rather than dealing with a man who has his demons calling him head on like Noah, Abe has had actual treatment for his issues so he can confront them in healthy situations such as exercise. The point I'm trying to make is that there is a lot less angst in Rock Wedding and more reflection on where the characters have been and where the characters are going.

[Rock on...]

Jul 15 2016 9:30am

Waiting on the Beast: 5 Books to Read Until You Can See Emma Watson as Beauty in Beauty and the Beast

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

With the upcoming release of a live action Beauty and the Beast, a lot of readers, including myself, are thrilled with the casting and the development but not so thrilled about having to wait a little more than half a year for it. As a result, I’ve rounded up some beastly and beautiful reads for readers impatiently waiting for Emma Watson to grace our screens.

1. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

A really unique take on who is beautiful and who is beastly set in a domed city of Yuan. The heroine Isra is meant to be a human sacrifice destined to bring prosperity through her death. The hero, Gem is a captive in Yuan who up till now has been fighting to save his people, the Monstrous from complete decimation due to starvation. Not so much of a retelling as it is a take on the fairy tale, Of Beast and Beauty is a dystopian tale that questions what does it really mean to be beautiful?

[To help satisfy your hunger...]

Jul 4 2016 11:00am

Indie-pendence Day: Summer Indie Spotlight featuring Wylde, Frost, and More!

Bad Boy's Baby by Sosie Frost

It’s my turn to take the helm and talk about some great indie releases, some that are currently out now and ones that you should keep an eye on in the future.

Sosie Frost’s Football Romances

Bad Boy’s Baby, Beauty and the Blitz, Once Upon a Half-Time: A Secret Baby Romance: Sosie Frost is a new go-to author of mine. Frost has written a ton of troptaistic stories including ones about stepbrothers, a taboo romance featuring a priest and a hard-to-get bridesmaid. I really feel like Frost shines though in her sports romances starting with Bad Boy’s Baby and ending with the most recent Once Upon a Half-Time. Each book features a top of the world alpha football player who either must woo or is reluctantly wooed by his heroine. In addition, the heroines really stand on their own and are distinguished from book to book. My two favorites are Leah and Elle, from Bad Boy’s Baby and Once Upon a Half-Time as the two must be the resistors in their relationships with their heroes, Jack and Lachlan. Beauty and the Blitz on the other hand, is a woman woos alphahole story where Piper must convince Cole to stop being an asshat and basically save his career. Readers who like the trope being turned around will definitely enjoy Beauty and the Blitz and readers who love a twist will enjoy Once Upon a Half-Time. Meanwhile, Bad Boy’s Baby definitely fits in the new wave of breeding romances and features a cocky son of a gun who is hard not to love.

[More great releases ahead...]

Jun 9 2016 2:00pm

Boys and Their Toys: A Look at Guys and Gadgets in Romance

Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Isn’t technology fun? How about pairing up the technology with a book/film boyfriend like my long-time crush and possible future husband Tony Stark and his Iron Man armor? Below is a list of cool guys and even cooler tech that plays a prominent role in romance plotlines.

1. Blake and the Vortex  Watch from Courtney Milan’s Trade Me

Move over Apple Watch, Cyclone Technology has built a watch that features video chat, a timekeeping device and is a cool part of a Prince and the Pauper like story from Courtney Milan. Tina Chen and Blake Reynolds not only swap places, they literally swap lives where each has to walk a mile in the others’ shoes. What’s great about Trade Me, is that not only does it feature a diverse heroine and a hero drowning under his father’s pressure, but Tina and Blake really get a feel for one another becoming friends as well as romantic partners. I also appreciate the addition of Blake’s dad, Adam Reynolds, who is basically Tony Stark if Tony Stark had a kid, super protective, arrogant and overall having high ambitions for his son. It’s Adam who is at the same time a villain and a catalyst for change in Trade Me making the story fully-fleshed out and well-versed in the technology space.

[Tech update commencing in 3... 2... 1...]

Jun 6 2016 12:00pm

The Controversy of an HEA: Why I Like It When A Court of Mist and Fury Flipped The Script

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Necessary spoiler tag is necessary. We're talking about the HEA (Happily Ever After) of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, which of course comes at the end of the book so be warned, there will be spoilers! Further warning, this is not a genre romance, so expectations should be managed. 

Jenn Proffitt recommended A Court of Thorns and Roses to me last year and I devoured it in one sitting. After saving A Court of Mist and Fury—by saving I mean I waited on reading it much like a kid would save a favorite candy bar—all I can say is wow, Sarah J. Maas has managed to do something I never thought I’d love. Maas retroactively changed the happy ending given to Tamlin and Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses and flipped the script so that Feyre ended up in love with my favorite character in the series, Rhysand.

[Flipping the script...]

May 16 2016 3:00pm

First Look: L.H. Cosway’s Showmance (May 16, 2016)

Showmance by L.H. Cosway

L.H. Cosway
Self-published / May 16, 2016 / $14.99 print, $3.99 digital

“I’ll always choose you first, petal,” is one of  the many swoonworthy lines courtesy of Damon Atwood in L.H. Cosway’s Showmance. I’ll preface this article by saying I have never seen Moulin Rouge, but L.H. Cosway’s writing makes me want to see it. Similar to Lucy Parker’s Act Like It, Showmance is set in London’s West End theater district where Moulin Rouge is set to play for three months.

In the foreground is the reclusive Damon Atwood, renowned for winning an Oscar as a young child, but has since been away from the limelight. In the background—literally—the reader meets Rose, a dance instructor/assistant to the show’s choreographer. The two strike up a friendship on the set that clearly becomes more as the story progresses. One of the main things I like about an L.H. Cosway novel is that it delivers a tried and true romance with some conflict between the characters, but the conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be over the top.

[Subtlety is key...]

May 9 2016 2:00pm

Explore the Phoenix Pack World in Suzanne Wright’s Savage Urges

Savage Urges brings us to the fifth installment in the Phoenix Pack series and is the story of taciturn Enforcer, Ryan paired with Loner, Makenna. Other paranormal romance books have explored the concept of a pack mentality versus a lone wolf figure, but in Suzanne Wright’s shifter world, Loner is actually a social status. A person is kicked out of his or her pack for varying reasons and thus carries a stigma for the rest of his or her life.

The previous installments of the Phoenix Pack series have shown humans becoming increasingly more aggressive in their stance against shifters, so a shifter without a pack is put in physical, social and emotional danger. As a result, Makenna takes her lone wolf status seriously and volunteers with a shelter that houses and helps other lone shifters. Makenna’s work literally brings her to Ryan when a teenage relative of Ryan’s, Zac, is found passed out on her doorstep.

[A most inauspicious meeting if we've ever seen one...]

May 1 2016 2:00pm

Ship Just Got Real in Captain America: Civil War—Time To Decide Your Side (Part 2 of 2)

Team Cap vs Team Iron Man Part 2 gif

Team H&H is having its own Civil War among our bloggers as two of our most die-hard superhero fans, Pen Singleton and Sahara Hoshi, take a side in Captain America: Civil War. Today they're offering up their State of the Ship for each side, but look back on their opening argument to decide your decide, as they detail what their side winning or losing could mean for the ships we've come to love in the Marvel Universe. 

Team Captain America (Pen):

In the opening argument of the #TeamIronMan post, Sahara delves into members of the team and reasons why they are on Tony’s side, including being haunted by past mistakes, much like Tony. #TeamIronMan sees this as a good thing but I see it as another reason to not be on #TeamIronMan. Tony causing the rift amongst the heroes is doing more than just pitting them against one another; he’s also jeopardizing a few of the bromances and romances amongst the teams. Our heroes splitting up when there is an imminent danger to the planet on the horizon (don’t forget Thanos is on his way!) is bad enough but the thought of these relationships falling apart causes me even more distress. Let’s check in on how Civil War may affect a few of the ‘ships I have a vested interest in. Gif via asparkshinesbright

[Let's now hear from #TeamIronMan ...]

Apr 29 2016 3:00pm

Captain America vs. Iron Man: Which Side Are You On? Part 1 of 2

Captain American #Team Cap vs Iron Man #TeamIronMan in Civil War

Team H&H is having its own Civil War among our bloggers as two of our most die-hard superhero fans, Pen Singleton and Sahara Hoshi, take a side in Captain America: Civil War. Today they're offering up their opening arguments for each side, but come back on Sunday as they detail what their side winning or losing could mean for the ships we've come to love in the Marvel Universe. 

We are about a week away from Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and I (Pen Singleton) could not be more ready!  In case you haven’t seen any of my other Marvel posts, here’s a quick rundown of my credentials.  I have a tendency to obsess and it comes into play very strongly with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I have seen most of the movies multiple times in the theater.  And, when I say multiple, I don’t mean two or three.  I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the theater ten times. And, thus far, I’ve seen The Avengers in the theater twenty times. And I say “thus far” because I already have my ticket for the Ultimate Captain America Marathon on May 5, the day before the release of Captain America: Civil War.  I will be in the movie theater at 8am to watch a 15 hour marathon consisting of both previous Captain American movies and both Avengers movies before the premiere of Captain America: Civil War. So, I know a bit about these movies and have extremely strong feelings about the battle at the heart of the new movie that will pit all of the Marvel heroes we’ve seen in movies since 2008’s Iron Man against one another: Team Iron Man vs Team Captain America.

[Pick your side ...]

Apr 8 2016 12:00pm

A Mobile Small Town: Romances Set in Trailer Parks Offer Community and Support

Burn Down the Night by M O’Keefe

It’s funny because when people think of trailer park they sometimes get negative connotations associated with this living situation. However, a number of romances are using the trailer park setting to their advantage by creating a close-knit community of characters who interact with and rely on each other especially due to their close proximity to one another. Take for example, M O’Keefe’s Everything I Left Unsaid and its sequel The Truth About Him. Annie’s whole journey starts and pretty much ends in the trailer park that is somehow connected to the hero, Dylan. In fact, a number of the neighbors including a sort of crusty old man and a seemingly pessimistic female neighbor also play pivotal roles in the story. Annie works at the trailer park as well and there is a sense of enclosure about the setting. The rising action, climax and conclusion of Dylan and Annie’s story don’t really leave the trailer park setting. Also, a certain resident is responsible for the trouble the hero and heroine get into in M O’Keefe’s upcoming Burn Down the Night. The examples in relation to these stories may be vague, but that’s because each and every resident Annie encounters at the trailer park affects her in some way.

[A new kind of small town romance for your enjoyment ...]

Mar 14 2016 12:30pm

More Than Three’s Not a Crowd: Looking at Reverse Harem in CL Stone’s The Academy Series

The Academy Introductions by  C.L. Stone

If you’re a fan of love triangles what if I told you there was a series that was more like a love octagon except there’s more than eight people? Still interested? Then you’ll want to pick up C.L. Stone’s The Academy.

If you like reverse harem stories, this is for you as Sang Sorensen enters her high school and becomes friends with a group of mysterious boys who work for an institution only known as The Academy. C.L. Stone also offers a New Adult version of The Academy featuring a young woman named Kayli who has made thieving skills. Both series are saort of like Ouran High School Host club in book format, Sang and Kayli have not one but more than four different types of guys (can’t remember the last count). I’m not going list them all but rather look at a couple of questions readers might have regarding the series:

1. What is reverse harem and how does it apply to The Academy?

Reverse harem is basically a story where a female character is given the option of multiple suitors as opposed to the harem trope where a man is given the option of multiple female suitors (think the Bachelorette versus the Bachelor).

[Are you ready for The Academy? ...]

Mar 7 2016 5:36pm

The Fae-tastic World of Amelia Hutchins

Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins

It’s been a while since I’ve read an urban fantasy/paranormal romance and if I had to pick, Amelia Hutchins’ The Fae Chronicles falls into the paranormal romance category with some urban fantasy elements. The series that the Fae Chronicles most resembles is Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Unlike Mac, however, the main protagonist of the Fae Chronicles, Synthia, is magically inclined from the get-go. She is a Witch, leader of a coven that has established itself to protect the human world from the residents of the Otherworld, most specifically the Fae. When the reader starts book one, Fighting Destiny, he or she will already see Synthia in action and how brutal the world that she’s involved in really is.

If I had to pinpoint an ambiance for the series, it’s both melancholic and sexy at the same time. There’s an understanding that no matter what Syn or the members of her coven do, there’s always a bigger, badder power waiting in the wings. In addition, Syn’s main lust interest (I don’t know if I’d start off with love) is Ryder, the Dark Heir to the Dark Fae kingdom. Ryder is not a gentle, touchy feely hero nor is he a rational alpha hero. He’s all alpha and very much inhuman. The fact that the Fae are not human is constantly stressed to Synthia, but she has to learn the hard way the realities of dealing with a creature that is literally not of this world. The series is erotic in that Synthia and Ryder share a sexual connection as well as the fact that the Fae are very sexual creatures. This is not too dissimilar from Faefever where readers saw Mac succumb to the emotional and mental manipulation of the Fae. The difference between Mac and Synthia in this situation is that Synthia’s narrative clashes between her rational mind and physical effects, she’s somewhat aware of what is happening to her versus that catatonic Mac who becomes subsumed in Fae magic. Both books could be triggering for those who find any hint of emotional manipulation or even the theme of non-consensual sex triggering, even though Ryder makes sure to get Synthia’s verbal agreement during their time in the bedroom.

[The Fae Chronicles series is Fae-tastic ...]

Mar 3 2016 6:00pm

Redeeming Aiden: Mariana Zapata’s The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I love Mariana Zapata’s writing style. She knocked it out of the park with last year’s Kulti and that same prowess returns in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. The story of Vanessa, an ex-personal assistant and Aiden, a defensive linemen for the National Football Organization is definitely a slow burn read. I’d argue that slow burn reads can be the best because the anticipation builds. Zapata gave herself a tough task of redeeming Aiden, who starts out as a total asshole and making the relationship between Vanessa and Aiden believable. It’s clear from the outset of the book that Aiden has little to no regard for Vanessa and unlike the titular hero in Kulti, Aiden doesn’t necessarily get too much better over time. Instead, the relationship between the hero and heroine is a natural progression of time and trust. For those who like tropes, this is a very troperific story with a marriage of convenience, Vanessa marries Aiden to get her student loans paid off and Aiden gets a green card, as well as not-even-friends to lovers.

What Zapata does well with her sports romances is take time to actually capture what the life of an athlete outside of the field, court, etc. is really like. For example, Vanessa is training for a marathon but Aiden and his roommate have a hard time keeping up with her because they aren’t trained for endurance running. This is a small fact that while it may seem insignificant, makes the story really believable from a sports perspective.

[This is how it goes down off the field ...]

Feb 25 2016 5:45pm

Finding Your Place in the Panels: Gateway Comics for Romance Readers

Comic book culture is permeating everything from the big to the small screens, the toys your kids are playing with or maybe the toys you are buying yourself. Geek has never been more chic and while there are many options from the Avengers to Squirrel Girl (yeah she’s real) it might be a space romance readers will find themselves finding new fandoms in a fun space that embraces action, romance, and suspense.

I could fill this list with plenty of Eisner (think comics Oscar) award winning pieces such as Saga or The Wicked and the Divine or even the new Archie, but I want to focus on comics that should get a little more love for lack of a better term and are a little bit more heavy on the romance theme. Great places to check out comics news, find recommendations or just read articles for fun include: Women Write About Comics, The Mary-Sue, and Panels. Without further ado, I present my picks for gateway romance comics:

The Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter and Earthien: So Harlequin decided to adapt the popular Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter in a manga-style format. The illustrations are gorgeous and somewhat true to how any fan art or Tumblr page might depict the popular tormented heroes who are each plagued with a demon. The story is on point as well and familiar to those who have read the books, the one caveat is that instead of paying for one book, you’ll pay for about two volumes or so because illustrating a 300-plus word romance novel can’t be easy.

[Romance comics in volumes please ...]

Feb 13 2016 3:00pm

Happy Galentine’s Day: A Look at the Best Female Friendships in Romance

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh

It’s pretty easy to take Valentine’s Day and make it a day about your significant other, but what about a Leslie Knope-Ann Perkins-type relationship? I’d argue that a true Galentine’s Day friendship is much harder to find, especially the older you get. No longer do you have the avenues of high school and college to solidify your relationships with peers who are going through the same things as you at the exact same time. Instead, you have to venture out and somehow find your own beautiful land mermaid. Below is a list of what I would argue are some of the top female friendships in romance:

1. Elena and Sara from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series

Nothing says, I platonically love you quite like the gift of custom weapons as well as the promise to send an extraction team in after your best friend becomes involved with a seriously deadly Archangel. If anyone doubts the depth of Elena and Sara’s friendship (for those who don’t remember, Sara is the head of the United States Guild), go to the end of Angel’s Blood. Elena laments her change into *spoilers* an angel, but Sara points out at least there will be someone to watch over, Zoe, Sara’s daughter and Elena’s goddaughter. Being able to handle that your friend has been changed into a superhuman species? I’d say that is true friendship right there.

Friendship Rating: Sisters to the end – nothing says solidarity like looking out for the ones you love.

[Call it a Galentine's Day with the girls ...]

Feb 12 2016 10:30am

Fake It Til You Make It: Lucy Parker’s Act Like It

Act Like it by Lucy Parker

This little gem of a novel first came to my attention via Angela James, editor for Carina Press. Like many Carina Press titles, Act Like It by Lucy Parker is a solid love story filled with sass, snark and brooding all at a reasonable price. The story is a pretty simple take on the one-week fiancé/ one week significant other trope. Lainie and Richard are cast mates and Richard has a bit of a reputation as an arsehole. Lainie considered to be the “good girl” of West End theater in London, takes on the task of being Richard’s significant other in exchange for the proceeds of one of the plays going towards the charity of her heart. This may sound like a category romance you’ve read a million times, but what makes this book so special is how the antagonists to friends to lovers pattern progresses in the book.

Lainie may be a “good girl” but she doesn’t put up with Richard’s complaining and antics. In addition, Richard may be sort of a broody hero, but he snarks and gives as good as he gets from Lainie. What makes the pair really work is Lainie pushes back against Richard not in a “sassy female lashing out at an unreasonable hero” but instead, a equal addressing the ridiculous attitude of another equal partner. Because Lainie doesn’t put up with his guff, it’s pretty easy to see how Richard comes to respect Lainie and eventually that respect turns into a friendship that eventually blossoms into a romance.

[Two imperfects find something to love in one another ...]