Loveswept / December 6, 2016 / $3.99 digital
I love everything about Hooked. But what in particular do I love? Cinderella trope with a strong heroine? Check. Witty banter that eventually turns into scorching chemistry? Check. Overcoming the past in a way that feels fresh? Check.
Miranda Carr is a business student putting herself through college. Not only is she breaking her back working two jobs, one of them involves reporting to a boss at a high-end hotel who delights in squashing her spirit. Regardless, she’s taking steps to finish her degree, no matter how long it takes. An untraditional aged college-student in her mid twenties, Miranda doesn’t let the stresses of life push her down. In fact, it makes her more determined to accomplish her goals. But everything changes when she cleans the penthouse suite of Jake Birch, hockey star and captain. Not only does she clean his apartment, but she has the audacity to tell him off. Miranda knows she’s about to lose her job at the hotel until Jake does the unexpected, and requests she be his personal housekeeper. Let the banter funwheel begin.
Me: Why is your room so clean then?
Jake: You don’t think I can clean up after myself?
Me: Isn’t cleaning up after yourself for mortals?
Jake: Are you saying I resemble someone immortal? Like a Greek god maybe?
I roll my eyes at the screen.
Jake: You just rolled your eyes, didn’t you?
Well, that’s freaky. I turn and look around the room, wondering if there’s a camera in here.
Me: How did you know?
Jake: I just knew you would.
Me: Huh. Well aren’t we just bffs?
Jake: With benefits, I hope?
Me: Ha! Cleaning your toilet is all the benefits you’ll get from me.
With Miranda, Jake wants to change. On his own. And prove he’s more than the stereotypical jock asshole.
“Jake, you don’t need to take me out to dinner to thank me, okay?”
He sighs softly. “You’re not making this easy.”
“I just made is super easy. We’re square, okay? Just hold back some of your bitching when I clean your room and I’ll be forever grateful.”
“I want to take you out to dinner,” he says, his eyes holding mine in a serious way that makes my stomach flip. “And I want to show you my place. It’s not about repaying anything. I want you to see that I’m not just an asshole.”
“So you admit that you are, in part, an asshole?”
He grins sheepishly. “I do.”
Now this all has the potential to sound cliché and done before. But it’s not. It’s the way we’re able to get inside Jake’s head and understand his past. It’s the way Miranda doesn’t automatically fall for the asshole hockey star, nor does she “change” him. Rather they support each other. They force each other to search their souls to stand for what they truly want. To allow themselves a love that they truly deserve. It’s how together, they move outside their protective comfort zones.
When he steps closer to me, I inhale sharply as I feel the heat of his body near mine.
“So here it is, Miranda,” he says in a low, husky tone. “My real, actual compliment for you. When I’m with you, everything else melts away. I don’t obsess about hockey or get irritated by anything. There’s just you, and that gorgeous smile I’m hooked on. I think I could have fun with you anywhere.”
Of course, hidden in all of this are secrets that always create messy situation. Jake’s secrets do just that. Especially when he’s forced to “date” a woman he’s really not. But trust me, they’ll survive the deception because of the friendship they build, that becomes just as strong, if not stronger, than their physical attraction.
Brenda Rothert has become an automatic-buy for me, because she’s so good at the banter. At uncovering the layers of crazy in all of us, and at offering hope for a happily ever after.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Hooked by Brenda Rothert, available December 6, 2016:
H&H Editor Picks:
Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance, dabbles in Happily Ever Afters under the pen name of Lily Kay, and teaches sociology part-time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu, @AuthorLilyKay, or on facebook.com/Authorlilykay.