Allyson Lindt recently released her contemporary romance Conflict of Interest and put an interesting spin on the standard blog tour idea to promote it. Rather than guest posting about her book on other bloggers' sites, she offered to do a reverse blog tour, in which other writers might pimp their books on her site during the month of May. I have to say, this is a spectacularly lovely way to promote both her work and others', one which I have taken advantage of (but more on that next week). Anyway, the blurb and excerpt on her site for Conflict of Interest piqued my interest, so I asked if I could check it out in advance so I could tell all y'all about it.
Leading lady Kenzie is a smart, professional PR gal who, as successful a career-woman as she is, still can't help getting wound up by an unflattering assessment of herself made by her twin sister, Riley. According to the sis, Kenzie's a frigid miss who wouldn't know passion if it bit her right on her classy ass. Suitably perturbed, Kenzie stalks off to her fave coffee place in full-on, "I'll show her" mode and, when she arrives, spontaneously decides to pick up cute-dude-in-torn-up-jeans, whom she's been eyeballing for a while, now. Naturally, hijinks ensue. I find Kenzie incredibly endearing as she struggles to overcome her natural reticence by coming on to a stranger. (I find the stranger endearing for other reasons, which would possibly melt my keyboard to go into right now.)
Turns out, Scott's a high-powered gamer and software developer/owns his own company/used to chicks going after him for his ducats kinda guy. Because Kenzie's so different from everybody else who wants a piece of him, Scott finds this clearly out-of-her-element beauteous blonde intriguing. They enjoy some hot moments in his "love van" but must part ways. Here's the thing about Scott, though—he's been pissing off one of the Suits investing in his company with his "bad-boy/no verbal filter" ways and now all the investors want him to subject himself to grooming so they can rake in more money. Uh, I mean, so his image can be a credit to the company.
So guess who's hired to groom him?
Kenzie's determined to keep their relationship professional. (Sorta.) Scott's determined not to. (Totally.)
The dark romance of it all: I told Allyson early on in my reading that I found myself smiling through the first few chapters because Scott and Kenzie are so much fun when they first connect, and they really are. On the surface, it's a very fun, modern, sexy romance between two career-oriented folks. But the darkness I see lying beneath points to very deep hangups, on the part of both parties. Kenzie and Scott are both forthright folks when it comes to work, but they bury the reality of their feelings for one another under smart-ass remarks or corporate masks. Deeply vulnerable in different ways, they hide their growing feelings due to very old-fashioned fears which I'm sure we've all known: the fear of exposure, of rejection, of humiliation and eventual heartache. It's so fascinating to me how modern dating, in which girls routinely ask guys out, dudes'll tie on an apron to cook for their gals, and everyone's got loads of condoms at the ready, just in case, we can all still be so terrified about telling someone, "Hey, I really like-you, like-you." It's almost scarier than going to the dentist, right?
Anyway, I did really enjoy seeing Kenzie realize that, actually, it's very natural to her to be a temptress. And Scott...well, W00F, OK? Just W00F.
You can click here for a sneak peek at Conflict of Interest, which is available for purchase at Amazon, Kobo, and Liquid Silver Books.