by Elizabeth Hayley
Series: Strictly Business #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Magazine columnist Quinn Sawyer has always attracted sweet, innocent, and safe men. And something tells her it’s because she’s just as harmless. So when she starts craving a guy with an edge, she realizes she may have to get one for herself. When her boss asks for a unique pitch, Quinn’s quest to live outside her comfort zone prompts her to suggest an idea that will cause her to break her good-girl rules. And who better than Tim Jacobs to help her push her boundaries? For a while now, Quinn’s had a hot crush on the tattooed executive chef with a checkered past. If anybody can bring out her inner rebel, he can. It’s no surprise that with every task the two complete, the sparks between them grow more and more intense. Soon there’s no denying the attraction they each feel. But Tim’s troubled past reveals an even tougher edge than Quinn expected—which means for her, falling in love might just be the greatest rebellion of all.
Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley is the second book in this writing duo’s Strictly Business series and it had everything one looks for in a romance. While this is the second book, and we do see, the other couples both work as standalone. Just Say Yes had me swooning, reaching for truffles and laughing aloud as I hugged the pages.
Coffee dates with Just Say Yes
- First date: We meet Quinn Sawyer a struggling writer at a women’s magazine. She is waiting for her breakthrough article and has been feeling frustrated about her “safe” social life when she pitches “a good girl” trying new things article and lands the top article for the September issue. Tim Jacob hit rock bottom eight years ago but it took being disowned by his parents and almost losing the one person who mattered before he dug himself out. Life is good and he in control but he’s lonely. He has always thought Quinn lovely but way out his league. A backyard picnic has him agreeing to help Quinn with her assignment. Let the fun begin and maybe something a little magical.
- Second date: Friends to lovers is one of favorite tropes. Hayley created magic giving the reader all the feels. Watching Quinn as she takes chances and laughing because she is still the “good girl” underneath had me grinning. Tim has quite the checkered past and is guarded, but he has this vulnerability and tenderness that curled my toes. Does he have a chip on his shoulder? You had better believe it but this writing duo did a wonderful job of fleshing him out and letting us in. Quinn may be a good girl, a little too controlled, and way to worried about others opinions but we see plenty of growth and I connected easily with her. The romance in Just Say Yes is slow building, lightly heated and swoon-worthy.
- Third date: Obstacles!!! Some from others and some self-induced throw a wrench into the romance and had me flipping the pages. Doubt, forgiveness and self-worth were all factors as each went through their own personal growing pains. I love that their healing came from within and was not solely dependent on the other. Quinn was strong and yet fair making her a character I admired. Despite wanting to smack Tim in the back of the head a few times, I mostly just wanted to hug him. I felt all of his emotions and loved how the authors enabled me to connect on so many levels without overdoing the drama.
Just Say Yes had a neat premise and delivered all the feels from laughter to toe curling. Grab a box of truffles and indulge. It’s the kind of romance that you will devour in one sitting.
Read an Excerpt
At the time, it had seemed like a better idea to have Tim pose with her. She wouldn’t be as “on display” as she would have felt if he were in the audience. Until today, it hadn’t really sunken in that she’d have to see Tim with no clothes on. But there was no turning back.
Especially since Tim had just entered, the light hairs on his colorful chest peeking out from under his robe. They exchanged awkward I’m-about-to-see-you-naked hellos and were silent for a few moments before Tim spoke again. “This’ll be easy.”
Quinn lifted her eyebrows. “Are you telling me or yourself?”
Tim laughed gently. “Uh, probably a little of both.”
Quinn exhaled a deep breath. “At least it’s not just me.” Though she had been relatively calm, seeing Tim with only one loose layer of clothing on brought a surge of adrenaline through her entire body. “I’m starting to freak out a little.”
“Well, you could’ve fooled me. You hide your feelings well.”
“Yeah,” Quinn said softly, thinking Tim had no idea just how right he was.
A while later, Niall knocked and said the artists were ready for them. They stood, Quinn smoothing her robe and adjusting the belt.
The corner of Tim’s lip quirked up playfully. “You know that thing’s coming off in a few minutes anyway, right?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said, shaking her head. The nerves she hadn’t felt earlier at the prospect of people seeing her naked now hit with full force as she walked down the hall.
Niall escorted Tim and Quinn past the students, ushering them toward a chair and small black couch at the front of the room. When Niall had discussed the details with her, he’d said that he would like four poses between the two of them: standing, sitting, semi-reclining, and prone. He’d said it was up to her and Tim to decide who would be responsible for what. However, though she’d notified Tim of the requirements, the two had never actually discussed the specifics of who would do which pose. And now they stood, about to disrobe in front of close to ten people, with no idea what to do next.
“Um, I can stand,” Tim whispered in Quinn’s ear, probably knowing that that position would be the most exposed. “Which one would you like to do first?”
Quinn looked at the firm black couch behind her. “I’ll lie down, I guess.”
When neither of them moved to undress, Niall prompted them from the side of the room. “Whenever the two of you are ready.”
“Right,” Tim said, as he brought his hands toward the belt of his white robe.
Quinn was momentarily frozen as her eyes fixated on his long fingers pulling at the knot until the robe hung slightly open. Then he carefully shrugged it off his shoulders and tossed it on the coatrack nearby.
Niall nodded toward Quinn, urging her to do the same. It’s now or never, she thought to herself. Though the latter definitely seemed like the better option.
“You sure you’re okay to do this?” Tim asked as he moved to face her.
Quinn nodded, but she stayed stock-still. Though she was certain she wanted to do this, she wasn’t certain that she could. As if he could read her mind, Tim reached for her belt, tugging on it gently as he pulled the knot loose. Neither one took their eyes off the other’s as Tim opened her robe enough to slide the fabric down her shoulders, dragging his thumbs down her skin softly. This time he let the garment fall to the floor, leaving his firm hands lightly grasping Quinn’s biceps. He gave her a nod—one that felt full of pride and encouragement—and moved toward her side, gesturing to the sofa for her to have a seat.
Quinn followed his silent direction, suddenly no longer fearful or embarrassed. The two of them had jumped out of the metaphorical plane and were falling through the sky in tandem. Tim moved to stand to the side, a few feet in front of the couch. And this time, Quinn couldn’t help but let her gaze wander as it followed the movement of his body—his strong legs and the taut muscles of his ass carrying him a few feet away from her.
She wiggled briefly on the cushions until she found a comfortable position and then let herself relax against the back and armrest. Crossing her legs, she brought her hand up to her chin and let her index finger drape over her bottom lip as she studied Tim’s solid form.
Tim turned his head and looked over his shoulder just enough to catch Quinn’s gaze as she brought it up to meet his.
“Perfect,” Niall said. “Don’t move a muscle.”
And they didn’t. There they stayed for several minutes, their bodies locked in place and their eyes boring into each other’s. In that moment, Quinn felt it: the physical attraction, the connection, the intimacy that had always been present between them. All of it was undeniable now.
At least to her.
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