ARC received from: Publisher
Trope: Friends-to-lovers / Fake Relationship / Sport
One-Sentence Summary: A rich billionaire invents an engagement to get his friend and employee to stay with him
Review: When I heard that there was going to be a book which combined all my favourite tropes (Friends-to-lovers / Fake Relationship / Sport) in one hot Harlequin package, I knew I just had to read it, and I am pleased to say Joanne Rock did not disappoint.
In this book she gives us two strong, likeable characters in Dempsey and Adelaide. Dempsey is the illegitimate son of the billionaire Reynaud family who has a chip on his shoulder and feels like he has to prove himself by being the best head coach he can and get his team to win the championship. In order to do this, he needs the assistance of his childhood friend Adelaide who, after being his assistant for many years and his friend for even longer, wants to leave him to start her own business. The only way Dempsey can get her to stay? By announcing his engagement to her to the press and thus begins a fake-relationship.
I liked Adelaide a lot. She is someone who made a life for herself without the help of a rich father and has a clear business plan for how to breakout and start her company. This story doesn’t fall into the two major pitfalls with friends-to-lovers or fake relationship tropes either: whilst Adelaide clearly has a soft spot for Dempsey and used to harbour a serious crush on him, when the book starts it is not a case where one half of the friendship is madly in love whilst the other is completely clueless. Also, whilst there is kissing, Adelaide purposefully does not give into the attraction at the first opportunity, which is what so often happens in Harlequin romances.
Whilst I usually have to read a series in order, I hadn’t read the first book in this series as the trope didn’t appeal to me, but I was no worse off for having missed it. Rock introduces the other siblings and their background nicely and I will be turning in for the next two books in the series.