Unabashedly Yours : An office romance
She thinks I can fall in love like all those men in the romance books she devours.
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"Rina is a bookworm like all of us, she devours romance and knows all the good clichés. I felt like I was reading myself. Her passion for romance is inspiring."Natalie
"You don't need to believe in love to fall in love. This book brings you all the feels. And a phone call too hot to hang up."Rodrigo Maya
"If you like slow burners, office romance and enemies to lovers, this is for you."Marcela Ferros
Book Reviewer and Actor
I close my long fingers around her delicate ankle, “You need to get a life, Sabrina.”
I like control, sue me. In fact, don't, it usually works the other way around.
I have to say, my life is on tracks:
✓ I make decent money with a job I love,
✓ my house looks good
✓ I have spare to help Ma.
Well, the pink-haired devil begs to differ.
My assistant, Sabrina Rubio, (a.k.a., the bane of my existence) has an opinion about everything, particularly about my dating life. She thinks I can fall in love just like those men in the romance books she devours. But that's one more thing we have to disagree.
Sabrina can call me a grumpy boss as much as she likes. There will be no office flirting going on at number 34, Main Street - Yellow Meadows.
Between her steamy romance books and her crass humour, I'm pretty sure her main goal is to drive me insane.
His lips curls inside his mouth, nostrils flare. Janey, I made him angry, didn't I?
*This sweet romantic comedy is an absolute treat for fans of Sally Thorne's THE HATING GAME, Jo Watson's LOVE TO HATE YOU or Lucy Score's BY A THREAD.
Or for anyone who's looking for a spicy new book, an opinionated heroine, a grumpy and protective hero. Fighting as foreplay and the beloved enemy to lovers trope.
Release date: November 11, 2020
Publisher: Amy Oliveira
Print pages: 571
Content advisory: Sexual content.
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Behind the book
When a cynic and a romance author are stuck together in an office, who will get the last word?
Darren has never had a day in his life that wasn’t completely under his control. Rina never had control over anything in her life, besides a fierce determination of becoming a great romance author.
Nothing drives her crazy like the practical way Darren chooses to live without love and nothing drives him crazier than Rina herself.
Rina only saw the work as a legal assistant as a temporary stop on her journey to live in a big city, while Darren was always perfectly content in his life as a small-town attorney. They spend their daily workdays between bickering, dealing with the town’s crazy residents and a little bit of passive aggression (Are lawyers people?).
Will a big new case make them bond and let Darren finally see the world through his pink-haired assistant’s romantic eyes? And what will that mean for her plans of leaving Yellow Meadows?
Unabashedly Yours : An office romance
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
What a fucking jackass.
My fingers curl into the edge of my desk, my toes to the inside of my shoes and it’s only that and god himself holding me from physically hurting my stupid boss.
My stupid, tall, green eyed, suit wearing and smirk ready boss. He’s an asshole. At least he’s trying his best to sound like one. I look up, tipping my head to look at him right in the fecking eyes, my teeth gritting, my breathing coming out choppy.
All he does is grunt, as he has his own language and never bothered to clue the rest of us in. It’s six months since I was hired as Darren Kelly’s assistant, a position which he told many times he didn’t care to fill, much less by me. But his best friend insisted so much he ended up agreeing on having me for a month. Just one month to shut Ellis up, I was told like it was professional of him to tell me such. But a month turned into two… and three…
And here we fucking are.
Looking to each other in a death match, we’re both ready to die for our causes.
Darren’s a lawyer, a small family solicitor for the small town we live in. Most of his work consists of neighbourly disputes and divorce agreements but time to time he’s able to fight for what matters.
Look, the man is infuriating but he’s good. He’s passionate and he will fight forever for the greater good. That’s how we found ourselves in this particular pickle, that’s what caused a full-blown scream match since nine in the morning.
Darren found out about a few Au Pairs being mistreated by their host families. Shit payment, long hours, no time for English school, you know the drill. Abusive comments, not coming back on the agreed time. Little by little the last couple of months he collected information about many of the girls on how they were being treated and how much they were making a week. The figure itself made him enraged. Everything else set a fire in his eyes.
And look, I’m here for it, alright? I super am. I’m so grateful to be here and be able to help girls and talk to them… But he’s being a prick now and there’s no way around it.
It started with a call this morning, a timid call that shouldn’t be causing all this drama. One of the girls, the out spoken one with better English, rang in today to tell me she and the girls didn’t want to continue the action anymore. They did not wish to sue their host families. As a collective, they talked over the week and decided what was best for them. I’m a rational person so I only asked if they were safe, if they had any other employment in sight and to call me if they need anything.
Twenty minutes later my moody boss arrived and when I told him about the call, he lost his mind. Fucking lost it. Full on, pulling the hair off his scalp, screaming and shouting like I did something wrong.
Excuse me, I just answered the phone.
“And now I need to find a way to fix your fuck up, Sabrina,” he said in a mean tone about half an hour into the screaming.
From that, we’ve argued in circles, me reminding him I did nothing but respect people’s wishes and him letting me know that they were wrong and I should be the one to convince them the lawsuit was the best action.
“Boss…” I say now, mustering all my patience. “The problem here is that you aren’t sure that’s the best…”
“And staying with abusive fuckshits is much better, Sabrina? Do you think it’s safe?”
Christ on a cracker.
This is the same guy who danced with me and my friends last night. Sigh. When accidentally my girls and I met him and his friends at the pub slash club at the next town over, we all ended up very drunk and dancing like idiots. I can’t believe this is the same man I threated to copy the dance moves less than twenty-four hours ago.
This man, his beautiful face, the easy smile… it all disappeared. Now it feels like last night and the easy manner about him was a collective hallucination. Maybe I’m going insane, that would be right on brand for me.
I suck in a breath, easing my fingers off the table, trying my best to stabilize my heart. God, he angers me!
“They are scared, Darren,” I tell him with more edge in my voice that I would like to have. “They have visas to worry about, they will lose their homes and jobs all at once. Surely you can understand, right?”
His lip thinned before spitting, “Don’t patronize me, Sabrina, of course I understand what’s at stake for them. What you should’ve done was stay on the phone and fucking calm them down. Isn’t hard is it? Reassure them we have it. Is that too much to ask?”
No, it isn’t. Of course, it isn’t, but at the same time I feel for them, for the tremble of the girl’s voice when she called in, I don’t want to pressure them to do something… Because…
We aren’t sure how will turn out.
There, I’ve said it.
I’m not sure if Darren can turn this around, I don’t know if the girls are getting any compensation after this, if they will have their visas tempered with. And yes, I know the man in front of me is the most capable man I’ve ever met… But is that enough to trust him with the livelihood of all those people? Isn’t that too much responsibility for one mortal?
I have no answer to that particular loaded question, so I don’t feel like messing around with those girls, assuring them with shit I have no proof will be a reality.
I bite my lip and face him. Chin up, Rina girl. Narrowing my eyes to that giant of a man, no one is better at staring people down like me.
“I will call them,” he says with a low voice, so low it sounds like danger.
He’s so displeased with me. Fuck him.
“Don’t.” It’s my plea, and to this Darren scowls. “Darren… just don’t call them and force them to something… Fuck, give them the weekend maybe?”
He shakes his brown mane. “We need to proceed as quickly as we can, I can’t let…”
“That’s the terrifying part,” I sigh. “The war tactics going on in your head, and sure you’re great on what you do, it doesn’t mean that will settle any of the girls. I don’t think…”
“You think I will force them to anything?” he asks, disgusted.
Oh god. Give me patience, because if you give me strength, I will smack his beautiful face off.
“I think you’re very persuasive and you are good with words. And I think you talk fast and directly to the point… and sometimes the girls look dazed.”
“Just spill out already, Sabrina.”
I roll my eyes.
“It’s your manner, and your accent.”
“I have a very watered-down accent.”
“It’s very Yellow Meadows.”
A sneer. “That’s where I’m fucking from.”
“Sure is, Boss, it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for them to keep up, especially when you’re talking legal shit. And you know you talk fast when you’re trying to reach a point. Look, it’s nothing to do with what you do or not. But they’re in a fragile situation, they’re young and this is all happening in a strange country in their second language. Just… don’t call them ok? Don’t push so hard.”
Darren deflates in front of my eyes. Shoulders sag and he brushes the huge palm in front of his eyes, and then looks back at me.
“I’m not trying to push hard.” Without notice he goes over to his desk and I stay close to mine, still holding myself up like I’m about to crumble.
Darren’s back with papers, he reads them to me. “Do you know the parents Thalita works for never comes back Friday night? They go straight to the pub after work, without notice, they just assume she’ll stay in and mind their three kids.” Another shuffle. “And Karina? She’s on 24/7. If the baby is up at night, she’s the one to go, she makes eighty euro a week.”
I straighten up and my palms finally leave the desk. I’m sure I have a pained look on my face, fuck I know it’s bad, I understand I…
“Blanca minds four children and cleans the four-bedroom house every day. It’s insane, they inspect to see if she vacuums every night.”
“Darren…” I shake my head. “I know why are you doing this. But calling them up and making them take the lawsuit… They’re already in a fragile situation…”
“Jesus fucking Christ, Sabrina, I’m here to help.”
Oh boy, here we go. Here we go Mr. Big Man full of good intentions. Better than most people I know, still it doesn’t mean he can bull himself in every situation and use his good intentions as a shield. We know what hell is full of, right?
And like in the little suicidal mission I’m in, I tell him so.
“Hell is full of good intentions.”
That doesn’t go down well.
Ho-ly shit. His lips curls inside his mouth, nostrils flare. Janey, I made him angry, didn’t I?
I open my mouth to order him to relax but he beats me. “Those people are mistreating barely legal girls, they are neglecting their children, they are paying less than the minimum wage. I’m furious, Sabrina. I’m livid. If we let them give up on this, they will continue to live that situation, they will continue to be abused. This is not just for the girls involved, but will be a message to every little shithead who thought they can get away paying a euro an hour for living-in help. It’s a disgrace to this country and the fact you’re not boiling in anger worries the hell out of me.”
My mouth closes with a snap. Say what?
“I am angry!” I say in a high tone that isn’t mine. “I’m so angry with everything and getting that call? Hearing the fear on her voice…” I shake my head. “It doesn’t mean I can bully someone into a goddamn lawsuit!”
“I am not…” He starts…
“It sure looks like it,” I scream over him.
It’s a complete stare down. Darren versus Rina: The Yellow Meadows showdown of a century.
To your left, a six foot two of a man, lean runner’s body, defined set jaw. To your right, five foot one of a pink haired twenty-year-old. I’m scrappy though. I can win, I’m sure I can.
I tap my fingers inside my wrist like I’m counting time. One, two, three breaths has passed since either of us muttered a word. It’s not the first time we have a good old scream down at the office, and I’m sure as hell it won’t be the last.
I open and close my mouth, he narrows his eyes, I look to the clock to my right. It’s past twelve, we’ve been fighting the whole morning.
“I’m going to go for lunch,” I say slowly. “You won’t make any calls and I will think of a way to have this sorted and get the girls back in without you…”
“Say one more time I’m bullying them Sabrina, and I swear…”
“I’m not saying, shit. Fuck, Darren, calm down. Just give me an hour to think of something, alright?”
I really think he’s going to say no. I can see it in his eyes, his favourite word ready to curl its way off his lips. He doesn’t say anything though. Instead I get a curt nod, a big breath of release, and in a blink, he leaves the room and slams his office’s door.
Alright. I have an hour to think. That isn’t much but better than nothing. I grab my packed healthy sandwich and a chocolate bar (because I’m human) and I’m out of there. Covered in a thick jacket and a bright yellow scarf, I fight my way to the pub where I know Ellis will be and I plonk myself on a stool, bagging my head on the dirty bar.
Ellis laughs softly, not really paying attention on me, she’s busy scribbling in a huge book, working for sure, I’m just not really certain on what.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
God, what’s right, am I right? Darren is a pain in my ass, I’m back in Yellow Meadows, a town I really thought I saw the last of when I moved to try my luck in the big city… The dire dating situation of this place. I mean, so many things are wrong, just pick an area of my life and I will talk your ear off for two hours straight.
But I don’t say any of this. Only the Darren part. Well, in part because Ellis is Darren’s best friend and she can help with his moods, the other part is because the rest of my problems have so much backstory to unpack. I’m in need of a certified therapist.
When she gives me a simple solution, I feel a little blindsided. Are we going insane inside that office? Yes, we are. Suddenly, the problem doesn’t seem as big as it felt back there, just thirty minutes ago. Ellis is smart as shit but she’s no wizard.
Darren and I are so busy arguing we make things harder on ourselves.
I know it and I hope he knows it too.
I sigh and tell Ellis goodbye; I have to get the new idea running from today. I grab my phone and shoot a text on my way back to the office and when I reach our red door, I make a promise to myself.
I will not make things worse with Darren. I will not rise to stupid arguments; I will not fight him every step of the way. Nope.
He’s carefree, he’s funny, he’s easy going. I saw it all last night, didn’t I? It’s there somewhere. I will free that man’s wild soul as soon as I can. I surely will.
I turn the handle and step in. The office is quiet. I turn to my left and I open Darren’s office’s door, he opens his mouth to say something, probably school me on how I shouldn’t be opening his door without knocking first, but I just made a resolution out there and I am not here for another round.
“Let me set a meeting with the girls and my flatmate, Rocío.” I suggest from the door. “Let her talk to them, immigrant to immigrant. I know Rocío is Spanish and that’s not the same, but she understands the language struggle, the culture difference. She dealt with xenophobic employers back in Dublin. She can connect with the girls and talk to them with ease and maybe that will reassure them that’s the right move.”
My phone chimes and I smile to the text of one of my closest friends reply saying she will talk to the girls. I shake my phone up to Darren. “Rocío’s in. Can I set the meeting?”
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