by Sally Thorne
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
Wow. The Hating Game by Sally Throne was not even on my radar until the publisher contacted me. When I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to make room for it. The following day I read a review from a fellow blogger and began to get excited. Little did I know I was going to begin a “five cups of coffee” romance -the kind that leaves you with a killer book hangover.
“I recheck my inbox. Everything’s up to date. I check the clock. Three fifteen P.M. I check my lipstick in the reflection of the shiny wall tile near my computer monitor. I check Joshua, who is glowering at me with contempt. I stare back. Now we are playing the Staring Game.
I should mention that the ultimate aim of all our games is to make the other smile, or cry. It’s something like that. I’ll know when I win.”
Confession: I love wicked banter, snark and haters to lovers’ romances. The Hating Game delivered these in spades. I loved quirky, vulnerable, and lovable Lucy Hutton from the opening dialogue. Soon after, I fell for the reserved, efficient and impeccably dressed Joshua Templeton.
The Hating Game was clever, witty, charming and had moments that made me giggle, roll my eyes and even snort. The setup is clever, the characters well-developed and together they are adorable. I devoured this book and yet did not want it to end.
Walking together, matching our footfalls, we exit the lobby like two television district attorneys gunning for justice.
Lucy and Joshua are executive assistants to the CEO’s of two book companies that merge. They work across from each other and spend their days playing a game of one-upmanship. They are polar opposites. He is an uptight by-the-book professional who is obsessively neat, and treats employees with a firm hand. Lucy is eccentric, colorful, friendly, and well frankly a bit of a pushover when dealing with staff. They play these ridiculous games like The Mirror Game, HR Game, and Staring Game. It is dorky and yet it totally works! Lucy is determined to get Josh to smile and they are both determined to win.
“What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.”
“Strangling you. Bare hands.” I can barely get the words out. I’m huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.
“So that’s your kink.” His eyes are going dark.
“Only where you’re concerned.”
Both his eyebrows ratchet up, and he opens his mouth as his eyes go completely black, but he does not seem to be able to say a word.
It is wonderful.”
A new position will make one the boss of the other and becomes the catalytic that changes the dynamics of their relationship. An erotic dream, a mystery date, and a smoking hot elevator kiss had me flipping the pages as Lucy begins to reassess Joshua Templeton.
I almost quiver with concentration… If I had whiskers, they would be twitching.
I absolutely loved how this romance unfolded. It had moments of sheer absurdity and then “awe” moments that made me warm and fuzzy. I laughed, cried and snorted. Throne brings us heated moments and swoon worthy kisses that only make you want to hug the book.
“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”
If you know me, I rarely give out five cups for romance titles. I love them, but it is rare that I stumble upon one I would want to reread. I cannot quite pinpoint what magical element The Hating Game had that pushed it to five cups of deliciously brewed coffee for me. Nevertheless, I knew the moment I slipped in that I was in the midst of something memorable. Maybe, it was Sally Thorne’s ability to bring these characters to life creating a hilarious, believable, and very relatable work office romance. Whatever it was, I cannot wait to see what Thorne delivers next.
“Truth or Dare,” he says. He always knows the exact right thing to say.
“Coward. Okay, I dare you to eat the entire jar of hot mustard I have in my fridge.”
“I was hoping for a sexy dare.”
“I’ll get you a spoon.”