Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.
Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.
This book was utterly delightful from beginning to end.
We met Cole Sharpe in Lauren Layne’s Stiletto series. He’s Oxford got-to sports writer but he’s freelance and he likes it that way. But the rising cost of his brother’s care led him to contemplate having a more permanent gig. Oxford magazine is expanding its sports section and they want a brilliant sports editor to handle it. Cole, of course, has an in since he’s friends with a lot of the Oxford guys. He felt confident that he has the job, which wasn’t the case at all because he has stiff competition coming from a female.
Penelope Pope (love the alliteration) is a brilliant sports editor like Cole but because of her sex, she doesn’t get the same respect as her male colleagues. After a boyfriend and co-worker took credit of her ideas, edging her out on an opportunity, she decided to move to New York and try her luck there. The gig with Oxford was something she wants and she won’t let anything like intense attraction towards her main competition get in the way.
Oh I loved the whole set up. Cole is such a man’s man and it was so worth it seeing him get taken down a peg or two by the diminutive Penelope. Penelope wasn’t the type of woman Cole usually go for but he was intrigued by her encyclopedic knowledge of every single player stats and her passion for sports reporting. She was his perfect match.
But they had a lot of things to work through. Penelope has been there, done that. Her ex-boyfriend in Chicago did a number on her. I was bit apprehensive because the first quarter of the book, I thought she was too hung up on this ex of hers. Thankfully, that part was settled quickly, and Cole and Penelope embarked on a sizzling affair.
But Cole has kept his heart protected for far too long. Love and relationship isn’t a priority for him. His brother is, and has been since Cole was a teenager. Having a brother that needs care 24/7 made Cole realize that not many women might like being an afterthought. So he totally panicked when Penelope started pushing for more. I understood his reasons but he did take his sweet time coming to terms with his feelings. Some readers might not be down with that but I felt that it was totally in character for Cole.
I loved the banter in this book, not just between Penelope and Cole but also between Cole and his friends. We get a glimpse inside the Oxford office and it’s so fun to read. I love the bromance between the guys and teasing. The Stiletto girls also made an appearance which was totally cool.
Overall, this fun and easy and light. Totally readable and totally fun to read. Highly recommended.