Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥
I need to stop this OBSESSION already with Ms. Mayberry's books. Having one of her books on my kindle is like when I have cheesecake in the fridge. I simply CANNOT resist it, have no self control and I just HAVE to have it NOW. This is what has happened with Sarah Mayberry books. I have 3 more before I will have read EVERY SINGLE one of her super romances and then I anticipate some fierce and awful withdrawal sweats.
Let me just say (again) how very impressed I am at how beautifully this lady writes conflict. I mean we're talking proper Conflict with a capital C. Not the piddly kind - ooh she's totally into him, and he just can't commit - Mayberry conflicts are juicy, serious, intense and incredibly relate-able.
Other stuff that I totally loved:
1) The chick was kick ass, serious, awesome, cautious but when she really wanted something - she just went for it.
2) Ms. Mayberry "showed rather than told" how the H was a natural caretaker. I know authors love to say how the hero has a superhero complex, how he has a desperate need to "protect and serve", and often authors literally give the hero a profession where he protects and serves all day long. In this story, the H's every action shows how he takes care of others. Made me feel mushy and vanilla-pudding-y inside. I wanted to weep with relief when he finally found someone to take care of him.
"Her Favorite Rival" is a companion story to Her Favorite Temptation that featured Leah and Will. Leah's sister Audrey is the h in this story.
Here's the 2-minute synopsis:
He: Zach is a young, up-and-comer at the company. He is hard working and determined to rise above his rather horrendous childhood circumstances. He's a nice, charming guy who's wholly focused on his five-year-plan that certainly doesn't leave a whole lot of room for romancing the co-worker to whom he is so attracted.
She: Audrey grew up knowing she was second-best in her parent's eyes. She made a stupid mistake at 16 and has spent the next 17 years "atoning" for it. She keeps her head down, works hard and never complains. She's ambitious and wants the best for herself in her career and is willing to put in the time and effort to get it.
Conflict: SO MANY CONFLICTS!!! But good, meaty ones where you feel a sense of real satisfaction as Ms. Mayberry helps unravel them by the end. Not that they ever completely go away, but the characters learn the "tools" to cope with their conflicts.
One source of tension is obviously the fact that they work together and work romances are mostly a terrible idea. They both love their jobs and are intensely ambitious and don't want to do anything to jeopardize their careers for a random fling.
The other conflicts are personal demons that they both have to let go of before really jumping into something with the other.