Hi, E here.
Welcome to The Book Pushers! I absolutely love #RomBkLove month even though my wallet starts screaming in pain. Ana thank you for organizing this event each year. I am always honored and eater to participate. The overall theme this year is inclusion, which I think is a reminder to us about seeing the greatness in our differences and how much we need to work together to accomplish things. As I was thinking about this theme and trying to determine what trope or other venue I wanted to organize this post around, I found a few stories kept popping into my head. Taking this as a not-so-subtle hint from my subconscious I started trying to identify what they had in common, besides my enjoyment, because they crossed romance sub-genres. Then I realized they all fell within a particular subset of the co-worker trope. And by subset I mean they were not in direct competition with each other at work for the same job, promotion, or other opportunity. Now I am not saying they were best buds to begin with and in some cases might have had some enmity towards each other but that just adds a bit of spice…So I decided to go with Co-Workers as my trope of choice.
What do you think of relationships between co-workers? Do you have the same opinion for IRL (In real life) relationships as you do in fiction? What makes you love/hate/or feel meh-ish about Co-workers? What titles would you add to the list? My thoughts are in bold.
Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Katie Porter: Contemporary, m/m, Second Chance, Creative
I haven’t looked at a pool table the same way since first reading this story…
Up-and-coming film producer Kyle Wakefield lives in the closet rather than risk the wrath of his influential, conservative parents. The only time he took a chance on love was a tempestuous teenage affair with Nathan Carnes. But when Nathan proved himself hell-bent on self-destruction and wound up in prison, Kyle closed off his heart.
Almost a decade later, Kyle’s production partner hires Nathan’s stunt company, Second Chances, to work on a big-budget action film in London. Nate is floored by his explosive reunion with Kyle. But he sure as hell isn’t surprised that Kyle still treats their mutual needs—and Nate—like dirty little secrets.
As the London holiday season casts its dazzling spell, the two men find themselves falling in love again. Kyle is one breathless kiss away from declaring himself to Nate—and to the world—but they cannot ignore secrets borne of youthful mistakes. To protect their bright new future, Kyle and Nathan will need all their passion and trust . . . and a little Christmas magic.
Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin – contemporary, f/f, MC, Seasoned Romance, Career Oriented
What happens when you have done everything you expected or thought you were expected to do, then your life drastically changes and you find out you have hidden aspects…?
When widow Talia Wasserman applies for a job with the local police department, she’s shocked to discover she’ll be working for Lieutenant Eve Poe, an officer she’d met—and been attracted to—during a long-ago citizen’s police academy workshop. Fifteen years later, the spark is still there, and no one’s currently in Talia’s life or in her bed. But there’s just one teeny, tiny problem. Eve is her boss, so she’s completely off-limits.
Eve feels a sizzling connection with Talia from the very first, but Talia works for her, and that’s just a bad idea. Besides, Eve needs to focus on the person sending disturbing emails to her office, and not on the woman who quickly makes herself invaluable to the department. It’s too bad her heart doesn’t agree with her.
Then Eve is badly injured in the line of duty, and Talia’s worst fears are realized. She may lose her chance at happiness with the woman she’s come to love, and she can’t survive that kind of loss twice in a lifetime.
Writing Her In by Holley Trent – Contemporary, f/f, m/f, MC, Poly, Creatives, All the Pairings,
I have read almost all of Trent’s PNR or SFR works but I hadn’t given her contemporaries a try. Very intrigued by the blurb and rather curious to see how she was going to make me believe in a HEA with this batch of characters I gave it a try. I am a believer and would just add, don’t read in public or where people can read over your shoulder…
There’s room in a heart for more than one kind of love.
Dara and Adrien Valliere are soul mates and best friends…but they’re not lovers. Their marriage may be unconventional, but it’s satisfying and loving, and they’ve never needed anything or anyone else.
Until they met writer Stacia Leonard.
Stacia built a career on maintaining close ties with her fictional characters while keeping everyone else at arm’s length. She avoids intimacy, apart from a few one-night stands when the loneliness and need become too much. But when Adrien Valliere, her cover model and long-distance friend, invites her for drinks, she’s too fascinated to refuse.
Dara recognizes the physical attraction between her husband and Stacia and sees it for what it is: an opportunity to help Adrien get what he needs. Dara can breathe easy knowing that both she and her husband are happy.
Before long, though, it’s clear that Stacia’s connection isn’t just with Adrien… She and Dara have something special, and it’s something neither of them can—or want to—deny.
Darkling (Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon #3) by Yasmine Galenorn – PNR, f/f, CW: retellings of Torture/Rape
This is the story where Menolly first meets Nerissa. To avoid spoilers I won’t say how their relationship develops. They aren’t co-workers at this time but further in the series they end up on the same side trying to help the supernatural community Earthside.
We’re the D’Artigo Sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we’re savvy–and sexy–operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch whose magic is as unpredictable as the weather. My sister Delilah transforms into a tabby cat when she’s under stress. And me? I’m Menolly, acrobat-extraordinaire-turned-vampire. And I’d give my right fang to make my sire pay for killing me. That is, if he doesn’t find me first…
“All over Seattle, humans have been going missing, only to turn up as newborn vampires–the sure sign of a rogue vamp on the loose. It looks like Dredge is to blame. The same sadistic Dredge who gave me my scars, and who may well be in cahoots with the demon Shadow Wing. If so, Otherworld and Earth are screwed. The only way we can hope to defeat Dredge is for me to travel home to Otherworld, where I must face my own demons. Because unless I sever the ties that bind me to Dredge, all hell is going to break loose…”
Shatter (Unbreakable Bonds #2) by Jocelynne Drake and Rinda Elliott – Romantic Suspense, m/m, MC, Career Oriented, CW: murder, torture
Jude is such a caretaker. I would almost call him an Alpha in disguise. I thought how he manages Snow and Snow’s demons is pretty impressive especially since Snow isn’t a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. Also don’t read this one hungry.
Maverick trauma surgeon Ashton “Snow” Frost keeps the world at a distance, relying only on his three closest friends to keep him connected. But when a ghost from their past returns to Cincinnati, Snow stands to lose everyone he loves. Framed for murder and reeling from attacks on his friends, Snow is pushed to his breaking point.
Jude Torres won’t let the doc shatter. The paramedic has been attracted to the doctor since he first laid eyes on him at the hospital, even if the arrogant, solitary man doesn’t fit into any of his plans. One hot, reckless kiss shows that Snow isn’t who he appears to be. And one night together will never be enough. Jude will fight for the doc.
Fight to keep him whole. Fight to keep him safe. Fight to simply keep him.
Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen #1) by Rhys Ford – UF, m/m, Seasoned Romance
There is a Super Slow-burn romance subplot between Kai and Ryder. They aren’t really co-workers in this first book but as they series progress they do turn into coworkers of sorts…
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.
It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.
But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.
Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford – UF, m/m
I love this quirky story and setting so much I keep periodically pestering the author about a sequel. Don’t read this when you are hungry. I might have a soft spot for the unwanted new partner required at work bit.
* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *
Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.