Dec 13 2016 12:00pm

Love at the Water Cooler: Adorkable Office Romance

Due South by Tamsen Parker

Today we're thrilled to welcome Tamsen Parker (author of Due South) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. The couple of Due South is wonderfully awkward and wonderfully entangled at the office. The office romance is a beloved trope in the genre, and it's made all the sweeter when the couple has to bumble their way to a Happy Ever After. Tamsen, also an H&H blogger, is here with her author hat on today, to share some of her favorite adorable and dorky (adorkable!) couples. Thanks, Tamsen!

Adorkable. That’s a word I’ve heard a lot lately, and as someone who’s been called a “nerd aficionado,” I like it. There’s just something about that awkward sweetness that makes me all squishy inside. Especially in a work setting, because then you’re combining two of my favorite things: adorkableness and competence porn.

Which is maybe part of the reason I ended up writing a book for Evans and Lucy. The fifth book in the Compass series, I went into it thinking, “Oh, this will be a short and sweet holiday novella.” And while it is very sweet—both Lucy and Evans are genuinely nice people, and shy—it quickly became more than a novella, and far dirtier than I was expecting. But no matter how their exhibitionism/voyeurism/role-playing kinks developed, and no matter how many places they had the sex in, one thing remained constant: they’re both hard-working and good at their jobs, as well as being kind of bumbling and awkward.

For some reason, romances set in offices seem to have a higher incidence of adorkableness, and while I haven’t quite figured out why that is, I’m glad it’s true.  So in no particular order, here are some of my fave adorkable office romances:

Donna and Josh from The West Wing

Source: thefinestbagelsandmuffins.tumblr.com

Josh has got the competence porn thing down pat and Donna’s the queen of keeping her boss humble. He’s a total policy wonk, and she’s far more down to earth, but they’re both incredibly dedicated to their jobs and each other. And though it takes them forever and a day, they do eventually get together before the end of show.

Josh: I'm just sayin', if you were in an accident I wouldn't stop for a beer.
Donna: If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for red lights.

Eugene Parsons and Charlie Eason from Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

So not only does Parsons bring the dorkiness and a serious case of the awkwards, but he’s also grumpy AF while secretly being terribly in love with his heroine. MY CATNIP. Both Eugene and Charlie are incredibly hard-working and intelligent, and their romance starts off as a secret fling. It also contains the swooniest line about fish I’ve ever read in a romance novel. It needs context though, so you’ll have to read it to see what I’m talking about.

Kaylee and Simon from Firefly/Serenity

Source: iammoana.tumblr.com

A heroine mechanic and a doctor hero. He’s uptight and fastidious, she’s sex-positive and exuberant. And while it’s not technically an office romance, I’m sure you’ll give me a little leeway to include these space-faring dorks. They do after all share a ship, one that wouldn’t fly without the badass Kaylee. 

Natalie and Jeremy from Sports Night

Honestly, you’re lucky this list isn’t entirely various permutations of Aaron Sorkin characters. No one watched Sports Night, which was a real shame because it’s a freaking brilliant show. If you like geek boys, take your pick. Mine for the purposes of this column is Josh Malina’s Jeremy. Jeremy is what I’d call a Renaissance Nerd; his geekery has many facets. One of my favorite scenes from the show is when Natalie tries to get Jeremy to talk nerdy to her, and he so doesn’t get it…

Jeremy: We were having phone sex? 
Natalie: Well not phone sex, but whatever. We were having sex. 
Jeremy: I didn't even know. 
Natalie: And frankly, it showed up in your performance. 

Austin and Marley from Changing His Game by Megan Erickson

This book is set at a company called Gamers Magazine. If that isn’t enough to earn its Geek badge, I don’t know what is. But if you do need more convincing, the whole romance begins because our heroine Marley is caught watching a dirty GIF by Austin, who she thinks is the company IT guy, but is (because this is Romancelandia, people), more than meets the eye.

E. Edward and Lee from Secretary

These two are some of the most awkward people on the planet, and yet also some of the sexiest characters to grace the big screen. E. Edward cultivates orchids, and just as surely helps Lee to bloom as well—even though he is himself kind of a hot mess. And Lee returns the favor, being the woman who finally succeeds in getting E. Edward to accept his desires and see that there really is someone out there that’s right for him.


Jim and Pam from The Office

Arguably the most adorkable couple in TV history, I couldn’t leave Jim and Pam off this list. Their years-long courtship, their super sweet friendship, and dammit, when Jim cut his tie… There are far too many adorkable moments over the course of this show to include here. But given how deep their love for each other runs, you know these two are going the distance.


Did I miss your favorite adorkable office romance? Tell me below in the comments!


Learn more about or order a copy of Due South by Tamsen Parker, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes



Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:

Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner
Changing His Game by Megan Erickson

H&H Editor Picks:

How (NOT) to Act Around that Hot Guy in Your Office

Shipping Sunday: The West Wing’s Josh/Donna

December 2016 Romance New Releases






Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, erotic romance writer by naptime. She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Jen Wattley
1. JenWattley
You said Josh and Donna and I'm here. I'm ready. They will be my forever gold standard of office romance even though we waited 7 seasons. SEVEN SEASONS.
2. TamsenParker
@JenWattley They killed me. No matter how many times I wanted to smack Josh upside the head, I still wanted them to be together, because adorbs. They were having an office romance long before they even realized it.
Wendy the Super Librarian
3. SuperWendy
Oh Lord yes - Secretary! That movie works so well as a romance PRECISELY because of how awkward the characters are. I seriously need more erotic romance like that in my life.

(Might be time to read another Charlotte Stein out of the TBR - she tends to do "awkward" well...)
4. TamsenParker
@SuperWendy I loved that E. Edward and Lee were both peculiar in their own ways. I think it made it feel more real to me than if either of them had been super slick, and they did such a good job with the costuming and the sets, all the way down to the saturated colors. And yes, Charlotte is the Queen of Awkward! Someone get her a crown and a scepter...
Mary Lynne Nielsen
5. emmel
Kaylee and Simon! One of my all-time faves from the far-too-short Firefly. At least they finally got together in Serenity, to shippers' endless relief!
6. TamsenParker
@emmel: Yes! Even Mr. Parker was like "Jeez, finally, thank you!" So many reasons that movie was infuriating but at least that wasn't one of them.
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