Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.
Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.
But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.
This is an eclectic story that has me scratching my head a bit. At first it looked like it was going to be a mix between a hurt/comfort and nerd/jock type romance. To a certain extent it is. Nolan is recovering from a severe car accident that has left him with PTSD like symptoms and Zach does help him with those. Nolan is also more brain than brawn and Zach is a big, muscled hot-head. Nolan’s previous life had him training in the work place for things like sensitivity and stress management, and Zach is every assistant’s nightmare because he’s so impulsive and hard to work with.
I liked the “opposites attract” part of this – these two definitely balanced each other well and helped the other be a better person. It was also great the way the story ends up leading Nolan to an even better place than he’d imagined in a way that wasn’t really obvious at the beginning.
However, there was a lot that just confused me and didn’t make sense from a story-writing perspective. I wasn’t sure what purpose Compass served (other than being a place for Nolan and Zach to meet). There was a lot of drama there that just seemed to detract attention from the meat of the story and it didn’t always make sense. The same could be said about the letter at the end. That came from left field and maybe it’ll mean something more later in the series, but in this story it just didn’t really fit and I wasn’t sure why it was included.
So, while I liked Zach and Nolan as a couple and I hope we see more of them in the future, I hope that this is more a pre-quel novel than a road map to the rest of the series. The writing was engaging and the characters well-developed, but the main points of the story just felt disconnected and I didn’t get a sense of fluidity.
I’ll definitely be looking into more from this series, and I do recommend this on it’s own merits, but it wasn’t something I’d consider “great”.
3.5 of 5 stars
Review copy generously provided by NetGalley for Honest Review