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Irresistibly Yours is my second Lauren Layne book this year. I previously read (and quite enjoyed) Blurred Lines. So, of course, when I saw another of Layne’s books available for request on Netgalley, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, I was left feeling more or less indifferent to the characters, disappointed by the romance, and bothered by the plot.

Here’s what we’re dealing with here:

Cole Sharpe works as a freelancer for Oxford magazine. With many good friends on staff, and given his history with the magazine, he feels like he’s a shoo-in for the sports editor job that just opened up. The application and interview are just formalities, silly checkboxes for HR, he thinks. He doesn’t bank on serious competition in the form of Penelope Pope, whose love and knowledge of sports rivals his own. He also doesn’t bank on developing feelings for his competition, who is so far from his usual type that his attraction to her is almost inexplicable.

So, first off: THE CHARACTERS

I see that this is series is set in the same universe as Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto, which I have not read. I see that a lot of other reviewers had preconceived notions of Cole due to this series. I did not. I thought Cole was actually pretty much a jerk based on the events in the book. He pushes for a relationship with Penelope, even when she says she’s not looking for one. (Because he knows best.) He flirts with, kisses, and gropes another woman, right in front of Penelope. (So that she’ll admit she has feelings for him.) And it turns out that Cole does know best, because this is exactly what Penelope wants. She wants to be with Cole, but she’s too darn insecure about everything to do it. She’s got a number of men attracted to her, but she constantly plays the woe is me, I’m so unattractive and boyish card. I’m sorry, that doesn’t do it for me. Neither of these characters did it for me.

Next up: THE ROMANCE

I can sum it up in five words: I DIDN’T FEEL THE CONNECTION. Cole and Penelope fall head-over-heels for each other? Um, no. They kind of just end up kissing, and then having some sex, and then there’s a ridiculously overblown fight/breakup before they’re back to happy again. So basically, it’s your typical romance, but with no spark. I wasn’t rooting for them to get together. I didn’t care. There was too much focus on drama, both in the ridiculously overblown fight/breakup and in Penelope’s nonsensical obsession with a guy from her last job who totally screwed her over.

Finally: THE PLOT

I mean, I’m really sorry here. But this is the most unrealistic plot I’ve seen in a long time. This office, full of men, no less, has more petty, immature drama than my own personal office, filled with a bunch of hormonal women. These guys gossip about their love lives more than characters on a soap opera, and their love lives aren’t even remotely interesting. Maybe I would have cared more if I’d read the previous series?

And my thoughts through the development of Cole and Penelope’s relationship were not along the lines of wow, this is sexy, but more along the lines of wow, this would be an HR disaster in real life. You cannot just go around kissing your co-workers on the job. You cannot advise your employees to start dating. Probably at least half of what happens in that office could be considered serious sexual harrassment.

Now, don’t get me wrong. As a light, fluffy read, this book is fine. But given what I’ve previously gotten from both Loveswept and Lauren Layne, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆ (really more along the lines of 2.5 stars)

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