Author: Shiloh Walker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 19, 2018
He’s the cockiest bastard I’ve ever met and I mean that with all the affection and adoration in the world. I’ve been in love with him for years, and not just because of those intense blue eyes or that slow smug smile that promises to make all your dreams come true. I’ve seen what lies under that smile and his cocksure attitude. It’s enough to make me melt.
Not that I’d ever let him know. Not only is Luke Cochran one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming movie stars…he’s also my boss. I’m his personal assistant and have seen all the women who come and go in his life.
I don’t even hold a candle. But a girl can dream…right?
Sabrina is one of the sharpest, funniest, kindest people I’ve ever met. Sometimes, I think I’m taking advantage of her, but I seriously cannot cope with my hectic lifestyle without her to keep me on track.
Of course, my life just got totally knocked off track. One of my sisters called.
They need me back home. My mother is sick and the last thing I can think about is the promotional tour I’ve got coming up.
Sabrina’s coming with me. She’s the only person who can keep me focused and centered in a time like this. Besides, my family adores her. And it’s just a quick visit. My mother is tough. She’ll be alright.
But then something happens that knocks me for a loop and when my mother tells me that all she really wants in life is to see her kids happy and settled down, I do the stupidest damn thing ever and announce that Sabrina and I are in love.
Now I’ve just got to convince my best friend to play along with me and act like she’s my fiancée and we’re stupid in love.
No big deal…right?
warning: contains sensitive subject material
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My mouth had a mind of its own and before I even realized what I planned to say, the words were already out there. “I’m wondering if you’ll taste as good as you feel, Sabrina. As good as you smell.”
She swung a wide, shocked gaze my way.
She was still gaping at me when the doors opened—a soft, bell-like tone announcing our arrival—to an elegantly discreet entryway. Across the hall there was a double set of mahogany doors, flanked on either side by fresh vases of flowers that probably stood close to five feet from their bases to the very tips of the tallest blooms.
Nudging Sabrina’s shoulder, I said, “The doors are open.”
She snapped her jaw shut and turned stiffly. She exited the elevator just before the doors would have glided shut. I followed her, blowing out a slow, deep breath.
She unlocked the doors and pushed them open, standing aside for me.
I gave her a hard look. “After you.”
Sabrina cocked a perfectly shaped brow at me.
We’d had this argument a hundred times, probably more.
“My mom would kick my ass if she knew I was letting a lady open doors for me,” I told her.
“Equal rights.” Sabrina gave me a toothy smile. Then she jingled the key in my face. “And I already opened the door.”
She had a point. Grumbling under my breath, I moved into the sprawling apartment and put the two suitcases down. Neither of them were heavy. Both of us knew how to pack light and over the past few years, Sabrina had worked on training me to be as efficient as her.
I wasn’t even close.
But she had tried.
She came in right after me, closing and locking the doors, then catching her carry-on and sailing past me.
I let her, sauntering after her.
She took the bedroom I’d known she’d take—the closest one—smaller, with a western-facing view that offered a look at downtown and the Ohio River as it rolled off toward New Albany and beyond. As she put her luggage on the bed, I leaned a shoulder against the doorframe and studied her.
The poppy-red dress she wore framed her upper body like a dream, cupping her breasts and offering them up in a fashion I couldn’t help but appreciate. The bodice ran close along her torso before flaring out at her hips. I wanted to ease her onto the bed and push that skirt up, up, up, baring her so I could see the flesh I’d only felt, so I could taste her, then watch as I filled her.
Her cheeks were flushed.
She fumbled with her business bag.
She knew I was watching her.
I waited to see what she’d do.
Finally, she stopped pretending she didn’t know I was there and turned to face me, hands clenched into fists at her sides.
“Do you need something, Luke?” she asked, her voice businesslike and brisk.
“That’s a loaded question, Ina,” I said, taking a step into her room. “You sure you want me to answer it?”
Her mouth parted and she licked her lips. I don’t think she even realized she’d done it.
I decided I was right a split second later when she clenched her jaw and fixed her mouth back in that polite, businesslike smile. “I’ve already got quite a bit to get done tonight, so unless this is important…”
I closed the distance between us, sliding an arm around her waist.
She sucked in her breath, going silent.
“I do want something,” I said, pressing my mouth to her ear. “I want you naked. I want you under me. Over me. In front of me. On top of me. I want you kneeling on my face so I can eat your pussy or bending over in front of me so I can fuck you. Any way you want to give yourself to me, that’s what I want.”
She was shaking now.
I caught the lobe of her earlobe between my teeth and bit down gently.
“But the final decision is up to you. I’m going to my room. You come find me if you want me.”
Walking out of that room was the hardest damn thing I’d ever done.
To be honest, I saw the author and title of this one–paired with the series name–and read just the beginning of the blurb, and said, “Eh, sure, I’ll read it…” just because I figured anything inspired by the recent court case would at the very least be entertaining.
I really wasn’t expecting the places that this one took us to, though. It ended up having so much more to it than just a reaction to all of that ridiculousness, and a impressive number of troupes (friends-to-lovers, workplace/boss-employee romance, fake relationship) and situations (parental drug use and suicide, parental illness and surgery, childhood sexual abuse, the challenge of being a celebrity and trying to have a personal life in the age of social media…) that could have resulted in a huge mess but instead came together into one heck of a story.
I really liked Sabrina and Luke, and though she spends much of the first few pages lamenting on how “cocky” her boss is, we find out through the course of the book (though really, shouldn’t Sabrina have known this already? Looking back that first bit felt like it was more for effect, which is partly why the emotional impact of the rest of it took me by surprise) that most of it is just a facade, covering up a past hurt that he still hasn’t dealt with. It’s easy to almost forget how everything started–except when others bring up the PR nightmare that they had been dealing with at the time–because the reader is soon swept up into the drama of the rest of the story.
I have to admit that the “black moment” here was rather painful, and though Luke does a decent job of trying to make up for it I was disappointed that there wasn’t an epilogue to the story, just to give us a hint of where the two of them were going to go after their reconciliation. Instead, it just kind of…ended. Hopefully we’ll get more of a sense of where they end up in future series books, since this is billed as the “Cochrans of Cocker County #1” and all… 😉
Rating: 4 stars / B
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her latest suspense, The Doubted, released in May 2018.
She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.
There is a giveaway for either a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card (winner’s choice)