Title: The Hating Game
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
Author: Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Source: Publisher
Published: August 9, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
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This is, hands down, the best contemporary romance I’ve read this year.
Sally Thorne crafted an amazing story that once I started, I couldn’t put down. It’s told in first person from Lucy’s perspective, and she reminded me of the happy-go-lucky Lou from Me Before You (you know, before all the sad stuff started to happen and before we know exactly why Lou is the way she is). Lucy wants everyone to like her, and she goes out of her way to make sure they do – especially at her own expense. (For example, when folks need extra time for reports, she allows it, but then has to stay late to finish her work.) Lucy dresses inner own way, lives in her own way, and generally enjoys life. But, when her company merged with another, she lost her best friend (and all those associated friends), and gained a nemesis.
Joshua Templeton is the one person who doesn’t like Lucy. In fact, he openly hates her – or so she believes. He is mean, distant, scowly – the list goes on. The worst thing is that he and Lucy share an office space and they have to look at each other 40+ hours per week. Lucy plays all sorts of different, silent, self-admittedly juvenile games with him – and he plays them right back. The object of the game is to win – which means making Josh smile or Lucy not breaking down in tears. If she manages not to cry in front of him, she counts it as a win.
The two of them go back and forth, and the banter is hilariously sharp. But when things take a turn, and Josh’s personality begins to emerge, Lucy isn’t quite sure who he really is. She gets very ill at the mandatory company fun outing, and he doesn’t leave her side – he gets her to her home and takes really wonderful (sweet!) care of her as she goes through a terrible stomach bug and fever. As their bond slowly grows, Lucy remains distrustful of his motives (after a couple years of working together under the kind of environment those two had, I could absolutely understand why.)
When Joshua kisses Lucy…holy moly, the pages almost melted from the heat! But Joshua isn’t into immediate gratification. He wants Lucy to come to him on her own, and he wants to be sure of her reasons why. Lucy’s mystified, as she doesn’t really know the rules of this particular game, and watching as she figures it out was the most satisfying things I’ve read in a really long time. I fell in love with him in the same slow way Lucy did!!
The obstacles these two have to get through are partially created by themselves towards each other, but also the inner character conflicts were believable as well. I felt all of Lucy’s emotions with her, as she felt them – determined, saddened, confused, gutted, suspicious, intrigued, surprised, exhilarated, and ultimately insanely happy. And that, dear readers, is how a romance should be read, written, and experienced.