Jolie excels at weaving a story filled with romantic angst, keeping readers guessing about where this relationship will go right up until the end. Poppy’s sensitively handled body image issues (she says, of her OnlyFans customers, “they liked me with photo editing, good lighting, and at the right angle”) and Gabe’s at-first unenlightened attitude toward her occupation (he notes, in a point-of-view chapter, “I didn’t mean to be condescending, but in a manner of speaking, the girl used sex for a living”) start out as the core romantic conflicts, but relationships from Gabe’s past, notably his ex-girlfriend Caroline and old friend, Reed, add additional layers of drama to the plot.
Dialogue surrounding Poppy’s business is sex driven, but oftentimes humorous, as are the innuendo-laced exchanges between her and Gabe. The sexual tension around these exchanges intensifies when the two move in together as temporary housemates. The heat level of intimate scenes sizzles around moderate, despite numerous references to porn and prostitution. Uncomfortable events from Poppy’s past and details of Gabe’s impending Justice Department investigation disperse the steam and lighten the heat, while creating dramatic subplots. Full of steam, drama, angst, and vibrant prose, this story is ideal for readers who prefer a cat-and-mouse element to their romance.
Takeaway: This small-town contemporary romance will draw readers in with its sexy storyline and relatable characters.
Great for fans of: Meghan March, Courtney Milan.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A