A fun contemporary romance published by Lovestruck (Entangled) is on the menu today. Opposites attract with great insight into character growing, masterfully done by Marissa Clarke. Read on for my five-star review of Neighbors With Benefits, the second book in the Anderson Brothers, and all the book details. This review tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.
Neighbors With Benefits
by Marissa Clarke
Love thy sexy jerk of a neighbor…
CEO Michael Anderson might be something of a “control freak.” Still, he’s not quite sure why his therapist thinks dogsitting will fix anything—especially since he and the canine share a kind of mutual loathing. And to make matters worse, a house sitter moves in next door disrupting his peace—and his dates—with the worst possible music at the worst possible time… every time.
Free-spirited artist Mia Argaropolis has settled into the perfect gig—housesitting in NYC’s Upper West Side while working as an art therapist. Too bad she’s stuck living next door to a bossy control freak with a penchant for calling building security when she blasts music to drown out the noises coming through his bedroom wall.
Post-apocalyptic dinner rolls that nearly take her kitchen with them, a douchebag ex, and a Shih Tzu with the personality of Godzilla attack Mia in one day, and her unlikely neighbor comes to the rescue. Like it was her fault. And now, somehow, they find themselves engaged? Both agree, this neighborly feud just got taken to a whole new level.
She: Mia Argaropolis, a near-starving artist with a huge heart, earns money as a house-sitter to make ends meet keeping her job as an art therapist at a senior citizens’ home. Bringing joy through art is her one goal. Because, frankly, she has no other. It’s not her fault she’s flaky, impulsive and no one can count on her to carry something through. That’s who she is, and whoever doesn’t like her, can take a hike.
He: Michael Anderson is a CEO and everything that comes with it. In other words, he breathes control and order. Okay, color-coordinating socks maybe shows he should let go, but dogsitting? His therapist’s idea is as foul as the dogpoo he ended carrying in his pocket. In a business meeting. The annoying neighbor seems to know her way around dogs though, so helping her out as her pretend fiance in exchange for her dogsitting services makes sense. Her almost burning down the house while flooding it doesn’t.
The conflict: Opposites attract goes on a whole new level. A rigid, self-centered, mega-successful control freak needs to make things work with a hot-mess of a woman. Figuring out why he needs that and claiming her makes for a truly fun read.
The setting: Contemporary Upper East side, Manhattan and the Hamptons.
The heat: Slow building. I thought it would stay sweet-ish but when the couple came together, fireworks popped.
The good stuff: The fully fleshed characters. I loved how Marissa Clarke paints a full picture with one character (Michael) not perceiving his flows and the other (Mia) not seeing her strengths. Merging two extremely opposite characters in a plausible way takes skill and mastery, which the author has in spades. The writing is great. I had several laugh-out-loud moments. The Queen B’s, the elderly, inappropriate ladies at the seniors’ home were an interesting change from the cookie-cutter slutty girlfriend sidekick.
The other stuff: Maybe, the overall pace of the book cranked up a notch. And the major misunderstanding that tore the couple apart was a bit exaggerated.
Bottom line: A fun read. Witty, heart-warming and sexy. I’ll sure pick up, Sleeping with the Boss, Book 1 in the Anderson Brothers series.
About the Author
Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa’s heart) with an iron paw. Marissa Clarke is a pseudonym. Her real name is Mary Lindsey and she also writes young adult novels for Penguin USA. She loves to connect with readers and can be found at http://www.marissaclarke.com and on Twitter at @MaryL_MarissaC
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