Title:Working It (Ringside Romance #1)
Author: Christine d’Abo
Release Date: February 6th 2017
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
My first book by Christine d’Abo was a very pleasant surprise. Office romance, right amount of steam, nice dose of angst and solid writing. What’s not to like?
“Mr. Anderson is the CTO. […]
And he’s your new boss. She held out her hand, “Welcome to Compass, Nolan. God help you.”
Not the words Nolan Carmichael wanted to hear when he got hired as Zack Anderson’s administrative assistant.
Zack is grumpy and hard to work with. He expects his assistants to fail, and lashes out pretty often. Ok, Zack is an asshole. But you know, there are some pretty good qualities underneath the attitude. That much is obvious from the way he acts around people who are in need.
Nolan is far from perfect too. After a horrible accident, he carries scars, both physical and mental. But he doesn’t give up, he works hard, and soon he becomes indispensable to Zack.
There is a lot of slow burn, push and pull, and great chemistry between the MCs. It felt real, the way their connection slowly built. Their joined efforts over reopening Ringside Gym (the place that helped Zack deal with his anger management issues when he was a troubled teen) added a lot to this.
My only niggle is that the second half of the book could be less about office politics, and more about relationship development. Too many details about the business made the story drag a little for me, but in the end it picked up again.
The situation Zack and Nolan find themselves in the end is pretty shitty, but I believe that they both made mistakes. Zack might have handled it wrong (although I can understand why), but Nolan’s hissy fit and grand exit wasn’t exactly the most mature thing to do.
But Zack and Nolan, both take responsibility for the way they acted, apologize, and talk things through. They navigate their new relationship and make plans and dreams for the future. I loved the epilogue and I consider the ending a tentative HEA.
“So sitting on his lap in a defunct boxing gym, Nolan Carmichael told him every detail of the horrific accident that had forever changed his life. And Zack Anderson, frustrated, angry, and sometimes dragon-like, fell in love.”
I’m looking forward to the next installment. Max’s story hopefully?