Audrey and Zach both have painful pasts. Audrey ran away from home at the age of sixteen. Although she came back home, her parents never truly forgave her. Instead they lavished attention on her younger sister while became she became the black sheep of the family.
Zach’s parents were recreational drug users. His mom became addicted to heroin after the death of his father in a motorcycle accident.
Audrey and Zach have overcome their hardships and are successful in the corporate world. They are both buyers for a large hardware chain of stores. A new CEO has come on board and they want to prove themselves in hopes of getting a promotion to category manager. Audrey has the experience. Zach has the academic qualifications.
They see each other as rivals but working together on a report allows them to get to know each other. An attraction develops. Naturally, they flirt.
“Why do men always buy manual cars?”
“Because we like to be in control.”
“Why do women always buy automatics?”
“Because we like to conserve our energy for some important things.”
“I have plenty of energy left to spare, don’t worry.”
They eventually give in to this attraction and it is Audrey who initiates this. It is Zach who insists that it goes beyond one night, who wants to start dating her.
“He didn’t care. Maybe that was because he was so tired, or maybe it was because he’d spent the night beside his sick mother, and turning his back on something -somone- who felt as good and life-affirming and right as Audrey did seemed nuts.”
It is mutual decision that they keep it quite from work for now.
As they open up about their families, they are there to console, comfort and support each other.
The category manager position does eventually open up. Both are asked to interview. No matter whom is selected, I firmly believed that the other would be proud and supportive of the other.
“All right. It’ll probably end in tears, but if you think we can handle this, I guess we’ve got to do it.”
“We can handle it.”
This is another winner by Mayberry. She writes compelling and sometimes heartbreaking stories featuring everyday, hardworking characters. It was a pleasure to see Audrey and Zach fall for each other as they deftly handled their career aspirations and difficult past.
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.
Read Clio’s review of the prequel featuring Audrey’s sister.
Buy It Now Her Favorite Rival (Harlequin Superromance)