Dating You / Hating You

This first standalone from Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) mixes business with pleasure as two colleagues fall for each other before a work conflict implodes their bond.

Evie Abbey wants to slink away in mortification when she arrives at her married friends' costume party as the only person without a plus-one. That is, until the delectably hot and equally unattached Carter Aaron arrives. In a whimsical coincidence, both singles have on costumes from Harry Potter. Banter and immediate chemistry ensue, although Evie wonders if their busy careers as talent agents in fast-paced Los Angeles will make a relationship tough. After one steamy date, they seem fated for couplehood, but an overdose of reality hits when they learn their talent agencies have merged and they must compete for a single job. Their passion warps into mistrust, animosity and childish pranks. If Evie and Carter can't learn to work together, their budding love is doomed.

While easily compared with Sally Thorne's The Hating Game, this office romance relies on different thematic elements such as sexism, double standards in the workplace and the destructive power of competition in relationships. Evie works harder than anyone in her office, yet Carter gets preferential treatment from the supervisor by virtue of his gender. Despite their hilariously immature handling of their situation, Evie and Carter's infatuation carries the story. Each feels the other will win because attraction clouds their perception. Smart, sexy and feminist, Dating You Hating You will delight contemporary romance fans. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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