Off the Clock is the first in the Pleasure Principle Series by Roni Loren. This novel has a touch of everything: smarts, emotion, very sexy situations, and two really great leads. Grab it today!
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars and 5 of 5 Blushes
“I make you stop thinking, and you wake me up.”
I’m instituting a new method of measurement for Off the Clock—blushes. You’ll totally understand once you read the book because some of these scenes are hot! Have mercy, y’all, this book completely owned me.
To start off, we meet Marin Rush. She’s had a very hard life. Her mother is unstable, and it’s been up to Marin to take care of the household tasks as well as raising her younger brother along with making sure her mom takes her meds. All the while, she’s putting herself through college.
During Spring Break, she encounters the TA she’s been secretly lusting over. She’s logging sleep study info, but his research is a bit more interesting. Donovan West is recording a series of erotic scenes to go along with finishing his doctoral research. Of course, Marin can’t help but listen to his voice as it filters into the hallway and get caught up in those delightfully dirty words.
The following week is full of flirting and Marin finally getting the chance to be a real teenager and college student. Their time does come to close, though, and when it does, Marin is forced to walk away from school for almost a year due to family matters and Donovan can’t find her anywhere.
Jump nine years after that memorable week, and Marin is raising her brother, who is about to graduate high school, and her research funding has been cut at the university she was able to return to. With no way to support her family and send her brother to college, Marin’s advisor/mentor sends her to a job interview in New Orleans. The Grove is a high-end rehab and treatment facility that’s very exclusive. It’s perfect because the pay is outstanding and NOLA is where her brother was accepted to art school.
Things are looking up for Marin until she realizes that her mentor on the X-wing is Donovan West and the sparks that were flying years earlier are still there between them.
Marin and Donovan are absolutely great together, but what I loved the most is that they’re professional! Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to read about two adults in a work place relationship that legitimately kept their relationship out of their jobs.
They do joint counseling sessions to help Marin learn the ropes and Donovan teaches her and gives advice on her approach with patients. When they realize that they’re not going to be able to fight their physical attraction, the face it head on.
So where do the blushes come in?
Well, Marin can’t stop blushing during some of their sessions with patients. Her only sexual experience was with Donovan years before, and she’s not good with therapy to begin with. She always feels awkward with patients. Donovan recommends looking through a sex checklist to find things she’s never experienced that make her blush. Then he makes an offer to help Marin work through her checklist.
“But if you decide you might want that anyway, know there isn’t a thing on this list that I wouldn’t love to check off for you. Completely and thoroughly. I could make you shameless, Rush.”
What follows is probably some of the hottest and most well-written sex scenes I’ve read in a book. There’s a very fun game of hide-and-seek, an usual use of wine, and the playing out of several fantasies that both Donovan and Marin have shared since their college days and his recordings.
When he’d fully slid out, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pressed his face to her shoulder. “Christ. That was…I…Damn…”
He was panting against her and obviously as blitzed as she was. That made her smile. Mr. Orgasm Whisperer had gone dumb. Not that she could say much more than, “I concur.”
He chuckled against her, his breath cool on her heated skin. “Two in two doctors agree.”
She smiled at that. “Empirically verified that it was great, then.”
Their relationship isn’t without complications, though. Donovan isn’t a “relationship” guy, so the 30-day limit doesn’t bother him (at first). As the story unfolds, they both start changing their minds on the topic. They’re honest with each other as things progress between them, too. There’s some drama, but it’s resolved in a mature way.
I’m probably making myself look silly, but I LOVE a romance that has two responsible, flawed adults that are open with each other.
Off the Clock is built on the professions of the characters and with that comes a strong focus on the issue of mental health. Both of our leads have their own troubles, and at the heart of the story, it’s about them moving past them, especially Donovan. I was so proud of his decisions at the end of the book.
Add on the short story about two of Marin and Donovan’s patients at the end, and you’ll be swoony for days. I’m so happy Off the Clock was my first book of 2016. It definitely set the bar high!