I don’t think I’ve read a Roni Loren title before (not sure why since she’s a great writer) Off the Clock but I’m certainly going to be doing so in the future.
I’m going to be using some spoiler-tags in this review coz spoilers.
Off the Clock was an enjoyable erotic romance with some intense and sexy characters. The flawed hero and determined heroine both had tragic histories that changed their lives forever and forged them onto different paths before meeting again.
[spoiler]Some of the issues the hero had, including mental illness, were only explained and quickly discovered by the heroine towards the end of the book. Mental illness should never define who a person is (I’ve struggled with this on a personal level) but I did feel as if the ending was rushed a little and I wanted to explore Donovan more deeply as a character.[/spoiler]
So bringing things back to the start. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to continue reading this book. I was a bit wary of eighteen-year-old Marin sleeping with Donovan when he was her TA, in which she reviewed his sexual transcripts he was creating for his dissertation. While Donovan had no clue of Marin’s age and that she was a first-year student, the power imbalance was great and it set off my “oh heck no” button. I’m glad I pushed on because Marin was a great heroine and I totally believed in her and Donovan having their HEA nine years later down the road. I’m wary of describing the set-up of both Marin and Donovan so I’m using spoiler-tags. [spoiler]Marin’s whole life had changed when her mother committed suicide and attacked her baby brother in a psychotic episode.[/spoiler] Marin had to leave college to raise her baby brother, Nate, and she also had to keep a roof over their heads as the sole provider.
Donovan West also had a horrific past event. [spoiler]Both his parents were murdered from a burglary, and there is this soul-destroying guilt inside Donovan because he forgot to set the security alarm.[/spoiler] Donovan was a flawed hero who wasn’t the same young man Marin had her unforgettable one-night stand with all those years ago. He was cocky, arrogant, and he had his own self-defeating behaviours, in which he drank and was frequently late to work. But he was incredibly smart and was one of the best sex psychologists at The Grove, in which he and Marin met again after all those years apart.
Donovan was a completely different person when Marin met him and he didn’t even recognise her! Marin was mature (she had to be because she desperately needed the job so Nate could go to college) and got passed the awkwardness when Donovan finally remembered her. The sexual attraction between them is super hot and really intense and no matter how much they tried and fought it, it was an inevitable losing battle. Donovan recognised the brilliance of Marin but her blushing at work sessions was something she needed to fix because as he explained it’s like a medical doctor going ewwww when you tell them your medical issues. Donovan used Marin’s inexperience in work and sexually as a means to become closer to Marin. The conflict is about them not getting caught at work, because while it wasn’t against rules, it also wasn’t encouraged for colleagues to get involved. Donovan was also Marin’s supervisor and mentor at work and he was also angling for a promotion he had been chasing for so long. So the title is perfect and really clever when all their sexy happenings is Off the Clock. Marin was so eager to learn and experience Donovan. The sex scenes were incredibly hot and delicious with a little role-playing involved.
[spoiler]But Donovan still kept himself hidden from Marin and it wasn’t until shit hits the fan with their boss that Donovan’s depression and anxiety was revealed.
I just wished that his illness wasn’t a catalyst as the big black moment. While I perfectly understand all too well why people keep their mental illnesses to themselves, I felt not enough time was given in the end to explore it all with Marin. Donovan went away for a while and then he arrived back to Marin and it just all felt a little too neat for my liking. But maybe I’m nitpicking because I really did enjoy this book![/spoiler]
I loved the secondary characters, especially Nate. I loved some of the humour between him and Marin, especially a scene in which she got drunk and asked him for porn sites for work lol. I also loved Lane but I’m unsure on him and Elle hooking up if my future sequel tingly senses are right. But I was super excited to see that Bianca, a patient of Donovan’s, is having a book with Eli, another character from the book who is also a patient who happens to be a sex addict!
All in all I really enjoyed this book which had great characters and an intense and sexy romance. I give Off the Clock a B.