His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé
By: Joanne Rock
Releasing March 1st (Digital), March 8th (Print)
Her boss wants her in his office—and as his bride!
Adelaide Thibodeaux grew up with Dempsey Reynaud, and she’s worked for him for years. But when the billionaire football coach springs a surprise engagement to keep her from resigning, it’s a low blow. Just as she’s ready to strike out on her own, she’s stuck in a fake relationship with her boss, biding her time…
But soon Adelaide faces a second blow: she’s actually falling for the man! Can a relationship founded on a lie become the real deal? Or will they fumble before the end zone—and stay in the friend zone?
From His Secretary’s Surprise Fiance by Joanne Rock:
“You can’t leave now.” He didn’t have time to hash this out. And he would damn well have his way.
“I’m going after the press conference. I told you I would come back for the pre-season, and now it’s done.” Frowning, she twisted the bracelet round and round on her wrist. “I shouldn’t have returned this year at all, especially if this ends up causing hard feelings between us. But I can send your next assistant all my files.”
How kind. He clamped his mouth shut against the scathing responses that simmered, close to boiling over. He deserved better from her and she knew it.
But if she was going to see him through the press conference, he still had forty minutes to change her mind. Forty minutes to figure out a way to force her hand. A way to make her stay by his side through the season.
All he needed was the right play call.
“In that case, I appreciate the heads-up,” he said, planting his hands on her waist and shuffling her away from the door. “But I’d better get this press conference started now.”
Her eyes widened as he touched her, but she stepped aside, hectic color rising in her cheeks even though they’d always been just friends. He’d protected that friendship because it was special. She was special. He’d never wanted to sacrifice that relationship to something as fickle as attraction even though there’d definitely been moments over the years when he’d been tempted. But logic and reason—and respect for Adelaide—had always won out in the past. Then again, he’d never touched her the way he had today and it was messing with his head. Seeing that awareness on her face now, feeling the answering kick of it in his blood, made him wonder if—
“Of course we need to get to the conference.” She grabbed her earpiece and shoved it into place as she bit her lip. “Let’s go.”
He held the door for her, watching as she hurried up the hallway ahead of him, the subtle sway of her hips making his hands itch for a better feel of her. No doubt about it, she was going to be angry with him. In time, she would see he had her best interests at heart.
But he had the perfect plan to keep her close and the ideal venue—a captive audience full of media members—to execute it. As much as he regretted hurting a friend, he also knew she would understand at a gut level if she knew him half as well as he thought she did.
His game was on the line. And this was for the win.
*ARC provided by Tour Host in exchange for a fair and honest review*
His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé is the second book in the Bayou Billionaires series by Joanne Rock and Catherine Mann. In the story, Adelaide Thibodeaux and Dempsey Reynaud are not only childhood friends but also boss and employee, the second being what Adelaide hopes to change and Dempsey will do anything to keep as status quo.
As a longtime Harlequin reader, I have always adored Joanne Rock’s stories (and Catherine Mann’s as well). I know when I pick up a book from either one of the authors writing this series that the book in question will be extremely well-written and utterly engaging. The book’s characterization will always be deep, and the story always emotionally satisfying. All of that is true again in His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé.
Dempsey is a man used to getting what he wants, and right now, what he wants most is Adelaide to stay with him, and to stay with the team. The last thing he needs is to lose her just as he’s about to amp his team up to have a championship year, but she’s determined to leave and instead of supporting her in her quest to build something of her own, Dempsey works around her by announcing to the media that she’s his fiancé.
What’s that you say? Dempsey is an ass and pulled a major dick move. Yes, he sure did, and he’s totally been taking Adelaide for granted for years. But you know what? Even with all the idiotic, self-centered, asshole-ness from him at the start of this story, I have to admit, I liked Dempsey a lot. He’s a real man, with real flaws and complications, and there is a lot of depth to his character, which I absolutely freaking loved. Dempsey isn’t a cardboard cutout hero but an honestly screwed up man in need of some self-evaluation. I liked his protectiveness toward Adelaide a whole hell of a lot, though, and I understood it the more I learned about him and his background, and hers as well.
Also, here’s another thing… Adelaide could’ve stood up for herself at any time prior to the events that started this story and she didn’t. She lacked the courage to confront Dempsey and because she lacked that courage, that strength of self, she allowed him to not only take advantage of her devotion to him but also just plain take her for granted. But you know what’s funny? Instead of finding Adelaide too weak to like, I personally admired her strength and devotion to her friend and boss. She’s seen the worst parts of him and yet, she’s stayed by his side and been someone he could always count on, and for a man like Dempsey, that’s means a hell of a lot.
His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé is a fast-paced, compelling romance story filled with glorious amounts of sexual tension, sexy love scenes, and lots of sweet, beautiful conflict between the characters. I absolutely adored the setup, the characters, and the emotional journey Adelaide and Dempsey took to reach their happily ever after.
If you’re like me and you love a well-written, deeply satisfying friends-to-lovers, boss-employee romance story, you won’t go wrong with His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancé by Joanne Rock. It’s an amazing read with two fantastically flawed but deeply connected lead characters.
Love, love, loved it!
Rating: 5 Stars
Grand prize of: Heart of Cooking recipes from authors, Vera Bradley pen, notebook and backlist book by Joanne Rock and a Second Prize – Downloads of two Runaway Bride stories by Catherine Mann & Joanne Rock
Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy novels enjoys writing contemporary romance and medieval historicals alike, recently exploring Young Adult romance under a pseudonym. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance–in all its forms– fits her life outlook perfectly. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.