HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING: A Novel by Denise Williams
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.
When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.
Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.
Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.
I genuinely enjoyed this debut novel by Denise Williams. I must note that it was not exactly as I expected from the blurb. Yes, it mentions that she had an abusive ex, but it made it seem more like a romantic comedy about someone with a dark past. So, I must warn the readers that her ex comes back into her life, and it isn’t good. There are threats, intimidation, gaslighting, and attempted rape. That ultimately gave this fun romance a depth of character, enhancing the joy of Naya finding her HEA.
Naya is someone I could relate to immediately, so I was pleased when she met Jake and I found I liked him as well. Neither are perfect, but they are real. Their banter was fun and fast-paced…some of the puns and jokes made me groan, but that was who they were. The easy camaraderie was present with Naya and Jake’ friends as well. I love when the side characters are as much part of the story’s vibe, as the lead characters. It makes you wish you were a part of it all.
The underlying tension in the story kept be riveted. The romance itself was a joy to read. Fun, romantic, and sexy. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Williams gives us next.
*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.
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Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus.