As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
Compelling but infuriating. The heroine’s horrific self-esteem problems, refusal to recognize reality, and habit of doing things that make her unhappy that she thinks will make others happy adds up to drawing idiotic conclusions, not listening to her friends, and general obnoxious self-sabotaging and unwarranted self-sacrificing. She’s stated to be 26 but I think she reads younger.
I get very frustrated when the story problems are rooted in miscommunication. The hero was so cautious and indulgent with her, but if he had been willing to push back on her proclamations at all they might have avoided so much misunderstanding and suffering.
It might have been tempered if we’d also read his viewpoint? Though I don’t think it would have worked for the story as is to give him a POV.
I didn’t like the setup of grabbing a stranger and kissing them – er, sexual assault much? – but it did make for an entertaining pile-up of events after the hero goes along with her cuckoo banana plan. I liked their growing affection and there were some very cute and funny bits. But really hated the lie the heroine told midway through the book.
I thought the ending was only going to involve one of the two bad things it did.
I liked the secondary romance and would have liked it to be a bigger part of the book to add some levity to the angst of the second half.
Also the sex scene was uncomfortable and bad. She’s made out to be demi-sexual, but acts like that is a bad thing and she owes the male character whatever sexual acts he desires, and that if she withholds whatever he desires he will no longer like her. This is bad ace representation.