Danika Brown is driven. Driven to succeed. Driven to be herself. Driven to begging her goddess for an orgasm or six. She needs a sexual partner, not a romantic one, but a sex-only one. Or at least that’s what she thinks.
But when a safety drill ends up leaving her trapped in an elevator, who comes to her rescue but the romance reading hunky security guard, Zafir. Unfortunately his rescue is captured on film and the two go viral as “couple goals.”
The problem, they’re not a couple. Zafir is a romantic. He believes in happily ever after, and he has the biggest crush on Dani Brown. A former pro rugby player, he gave up fame and the money that goes with it to disappear after a traumatic loss. And not the sports kind of loss but the family kind. Now years later, his charity to help boys confront their feelings rather than succumbing to toxic masculinity is floundering. He needs a boost. And the boost comes in the form of that viral video. Now he just needs Dani to pretend to be his girlfriend without falling in love with her… Oops.
After reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown (which was so good and you need to read it OMG) I knew I really needed to read the second book in the series following an intellectual, pagan, bisexual woman of color. When I didn’t get approved for the ARC, I was sad. And I was even sadder when my library’s wait list was literally 70+ people deep. But thanks to a surprise donation on our ko-fi and a random sale on around the same time, I was able to pick this book up.
And boy howdy, was it everything I ever dreamed of and more.
So as you might guess, I loved this book. It’s got several of my favorite tropes including: Fake Dating, Clueless Protagonist, Mutual Pining, Cinnamon Roll Hero, Plus-Sized Heroine, competence porn, respecting romance novels. You know, stuff that I just go Yay! When they’re done right. And oh Gods, is it done right here.
This is a really lovely read. I found myself relating to both Dani and Zaf throughout the story. The internal monologue is done just right so it never becomes navel gazing, but it’s also super on point. They’ve got great voices. Clear voices. Voices that I could hear in my head, which let me tell you is tougher than you might realize. I loved the portrayal of paganism/Wicca in this story and also that there are differing shades of practice for all religions. That’s something that as a Pagan I rarely see. Like the Pagan rep was so on point. As someone who often sees their religion done wrong, it’s nice to see it done right…Even if it isn’t the same flavor that you practice.
Dani is a great heroine. She’s both strong and weak. Confident and insecure. She’s a study in contrasts, and I love her. I love that she’s got her own character Arc that isn’t dependent on the romance but is enhanced by the romance. I also loved that she was a Plus Sized woman who wasn’t insecure about her looks. So many times they are… Dani isn’t. The body positivity is wonderful. And it’s nice to see that in a bisexual woman whose bisexuality is plot relevant even though she ends up in a relationship with a man, that doesn’t stop her from being BI… or it from being a queer relationship. Because for fuck’s sake you don’t stop being Bi when you enter a relationship. You just don’t. I have opinions about this. Dani is also intelligent as fuck. And I’m like yes, please! Look, I like competent heroines, Okay? And I love love Dani Brown.
Also, we need to talk about Zafir. Zafir is a beautiful wonderful beta romance hero… And we could all use some Zafir in out lives. For my Hunger Games lovers, there’s some serious Peeta Mellark in Zafir. And I am not ashamed to say that I got some serious Everlark Vibes from this book. And that’s entirely because of Zafir.
Zafir is just so much. I loved him. He’s like the opposite of toxic masculinity and it’s so refreshing. He reads romance novels because he likes that there’s happy endings. He’s got mental health issues, but he gets help for them. He’s Muslim and it is important in his life, but he’s like most of the Muslim men I know in real life – respectful, humble, and kind. Not horrible stereotypes often seen in media (I’m looking at you Homeland and NCIS). I mean I’m just smiling thinking about him.
I also loved that the core of the book featured two real truisms… 1. Find someone who loves you for who you are… Warts and all. And 2. Happy endings are what you make of them and they look different for different people. I could talk about this book for days. Like seriously. I love this.
In all this was a lovely book that I am happy to give… Five Stars
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
This review was made possible by a donation on our Ko-fi. Thank you. No really, thank you! I’d still be on the waiting list for my library without it.