Title: Shacking Up
Author: Helena Hunting
Series: – –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 30th May
Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.
Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.
Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.
Source: ARC from SMP Swerve via NetGalley
This is not your average contemporary romance, partly because a big chunk of the plot is about Ruby’s career struggles and job-hunting woes, but mostly because Ruby and Bane spend the majority of the book apart – even when they’re together. Which would normally put an end to all things romantic, and yet, somehow, this fun read managed to turn a spark of chemistry between strangers into an enjoyable slow-burn romance.
I liked Ruby. Despite her poor-little-rich-girl woes and daddy issues, she is trying to make it on her own and not cave to paternal pressure. Life isn’t going quite how she planned, but at least she’s willing to graft and recognise her limitations. She does have a touch of the over-dramatics, but hey, she’s a stage actress, so I guess a certain amount of flamboyance is to be expected.
I liked Bane too, though it surprised me that he was an ex-pro rugby player. I would have loved to have learned how he ended up playing that instead of a more American sport. I also would have liked more about how he was adjusting to his new life working with his brothers. This book is told in alternating first-person, and we get a whole lot more from Ruby than Bane, which made sense since this book is mostly about Ruby, but it might have been nice to have a bit more of everyday Bane.
The pace is pretty slow, and there were a few times when my attention wandered during yet another Ruby scene about life, job woes and just how much she really didn’t want to go home and not only because she’d have to stop fantasising about Bane’s thighs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still plenty of fun and even though it takes a long time for these two to actually get down to business, that doesn’t stop them from flirting with plenty of innuendo and other assorted smutty moments along the way.
It might also have been nice to have gone a little deeper with the emotions at times. These two clearly get along great, but beyond the sexual tension and compatibility – and a mutual love of a certain ferret – I couldn’t see what drew them together. Throw in the overblown conflagration of misunderstandings towards the end and it just added to the idea that they really don’t know each other all that well.
On the whole, though, if you’re looking for something light and fun with a thoroughly filthy sense of humour and a really cute ferret, then give this a go. Just be prepared for the slow pace and lots of Ruby’s life and hopefully you’ll find plenty to enjoy.
Shacking Up is out May 30th.
Visit Helena Hunting for more details.