In the terrific first chapter of Only With You, Sophie is in a Las Vegas hotel room getting dressed for her friend’s bachelorette party, which has a costume theme. All the guests are supposed to wear trashy outfits so they look like hookers. Ordinarily Sophie would find this fun, especially since she actually has a pair of rhinestone-studded, thigh-high boots. But tonight she finds her growing insecurities creeping up on her. Though she’s pretty, friendly, and smart, no one takes her seriously anymore. And why would they? She has made some bad career choices since dropping out of law school. Now twenty-eight, she is no more than a party girl who bounces from job to job, making ends meet as a cocktail waitress. She knows that no one forced her to be an underachiever, but can’t help worrying that her successful parents and sister might think less of her.
But Sophie’s sunny nature makes her shrug off these thoughts. She runs to catch an elevator down to the hotel lobby and is thrilled to find herself riding alone with a handsome young businessman in an expensive suit. She begins to flirt with him – but he is inexplicably cold and snippy. Annoyed, she becomes overly chatty just to irritate him. Could things get worse? Well, yes. The elevator gets stuck and she almost has a panic attack. And she begins to realize that the handsome man (whose name is Gray) has a disdainful attitude because he has mistaken her for a real hooker. Sophie is mortified. Clearly it is time for her to re-evaluate her priorities, clean up her image, and change her life.
But to Sophie’s shock, she runs into Gray one month later in her hometown. Gray has just moved to Seattle as CEO of a hotel-acquisitions business. Imagine Sophie’s surprise when her perfect sister Brynn brings Gray to their parents’ house for Sunday dinner. Are he and Brynn dating? Is he going to reveal the embarrassing circumstances under which he and Sophie have already met? Within minutes, Sophie has even more to worry about when Brynn innocently talks Gray into offering Sophie a job. Sophie isn’t sure that she can work as a personal assistant to a man like Gray who is gorgeous, aloof, shy, defensive, and completely socially inept.
Only With You is an excellent romantic comedy with a lot of heart. Both Gray and Sophie struggle with their growing mutual attraction even as they must maintain professional boundaries in the workplace. Both have been hurt in the past, and they can’t help guarding their hearts against any future pain. Sophie turns out to be very good at her job, but she compensates by treating her boss Gray with cheery insubordination. Gray tries to cope with icy indifference. But neither can ignore their chemistry. The story is very good at showing their subtle misunderstandings while keeping their interactions believable and complex. No one is choosing to overreact to something stupid just to manufacture tension for the plot. Instead, these two individuals are trying so hard to reach each other through the emotional minefield of their past experiences. And just so the narrative doesn’t get too serious, the story manages to throw Sophie and Gray into some very funny scenes, including a boss-versus-employee showdown through an obstacle course at the company picnic. The result is an opposites-attract romance that manages to be equally funny and heartfelt. Highly recommended!
Type of Romance: Male-Female Romance
Title: Only With You
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Forever imprint (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group)
Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Humorous Romance
Setting: Seattle, Washington
Level of sexual explicitness: Level 3 – Subtle (see “Levels of Explicitness” in Related Links below)
Length: about 243 pages
Viewpoint: alternating third person (Sophie, Gray) by scene/chapter.
Note: A free review copy of this novel was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for this review from author or publisher. Look on Amazon.com for Only with You (The Best Mistake)