Library manager Angie Burrowes is in trouble again. Her superiors have never approved of her unconventional methods, but the latest warning is serious—another complaint from the administration or a patron, and she’s fired. With a steamy Valentine’s Day contest to conceal and her career on the line, the last thing Angie needs is a near-accident while driving home. At least, until she meets the tall, dark, and sexy stranger responsible for her very own spicy plot twist...
Straight-laced Grant Peterson has only one thing on his mind: making a good impression as the new Director of Branch Services at the Nice County Public Library. On the eve of his first day, however, a lusty encounter with Angie unleashes a desire unlike any he’s ever known. Their tryst may be one for the record books, but when he learns he’s Angie’s new boss, will Grant need to check out on love?
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My Reckless Valentine
By Olivia Dade
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Olivia Dade
All rights reserved.
"One more complaint and the library will have to fire you," Tina told Angie. "We don't want to. I don't want to. But I will."
Angie met the assistant director's solemn gaze without flinching. "None of the complaints came from patrons or the staff of my branch. Not one. They're all from Administration. And none of them have to do with my demeanor, my work ethic, my management of my staff, our circulation statistics, budgetary concerns, or anything substantive."
What she didn't say, though the words pounded through her brain: Please don't take this job away from me. I love my work. I love my library. I belong here.
Tina pushed a strand of her steel-gray bob behind her ear and reached for the most recent letter of reprimand. Turning the paper around on the workroom table so Angie could read it, she pointed to the first complaint. "You created an erotica display labeled Spanking-New Books. Your sign featured a huge fake book cover the color of someone's backside. It had a pink handprint on it."
"It wasn't the shape of an ass," Angie pointed out.
"I think the ass-like nature of the cover was implied," Tina said. "In the display, you labeled different categories, one of which involved bondage —"
"Learning the Ropes."
"Another of which involved threesomes —"
"Ménage and More. I didn't want to exclude groups of more than three."
"Yet another of which involved shape-shifting creatures having sex —"
"Horny Like the Wolf."
Even though Angie knew the situation didn't call for a smile, she couldn't suppress a small one. That particular category name had entertained her for the entire week the display stood in the library. The number of holds on shifter romances had jumped significantly too, even after the display came down.
Tina threw her hands in the air. "Angie, I'm not questioning your ability to come up with clever names for different types of erotica. I'm questioning your judgment in creating the display in the first place. What if a child saw the cover of ..." Tina glanced at the letter. "Ride Her, Cowboy? Or, even worse, Two Men Enter a Bar ... maid? How are those titles appropriate for anyone under the age of eighteen?"
At that, Angie wiggled a bit in her rolling chair. "I put the display at the back of the adult section, where no kids could accidentally see it. And if anyone underage wandered into that area, I shooed them away unless they had parental permission to see those books."
"Are you telling me you watched who went back there every minute of every day this branch was open?" Tina asked.
"Well, no," Angie admitted. "Sometimes I had to go to the workroom to get something. Or I had a lunch break. And obviously I don't work every day."
"So you have no idea how many kids looked at that display."
"I guess not." Angie looked down at the nubby gray carpet, blinking back incipient tears. When she spoke again, her voice wavered. "But again, no one complained, and the circulation statistics for the books in that display were killer. Even after two months, patrons ask me all the time for a list of those titles."
Tina's eyes darted behind Angie, to the door separating the workroom from the main library. A small hand settled on Angie's shoulder. Penny's hand. Evidently, her best friend and coworker had heard part of the discussion from the circulation desk.
Penny rolled Angie's chair back from the table and inserted her tiny frame in front of her friend. Which, to be fair, left a good chunk of Angie still exposed to Tina's view. Angie appreciated the thought, though.
"Anything in this library is the responsibility of the entire staff," Penny declared. "Don't just blame Angie. Also, everyone who works here watched over that display. We made sure no children saw it unless their parents gave permission."
Angie gently nudged Penny, edging her back from the workroom table. "Penny? I think you need to go back to the circulation desk."
"But I should be here to —"
"No, honey. This is my responsibility. I made the display, and I'm the manager."
"I'd rather stay and —"
"And I appreciate it," Angie said. "But now I'm telling you to go to the circulation desk. Not as your friend, but as your supervisor. You don't need to attend this meeting."
With a final worried glance Angie's way, Penny returned to the public portion of the library. Angie knew without looking that her friend had stationed herself next to the door, barely out of sight, ready to intervene again if necessary.
Angie reached out an arm and closed the workroom door. She didn't want to expose Penny to this discussion. Despite her valiant attempt to shield Angie, Penny typically shied away from conflict. It upset her. And her friend didn't deserve a second of discomfort over that damned display. God knew, Penny had warned Angie about it enough times.
Angie, I don't want you to get fired, she'd cautioned the day Angie had unveiled the display.
Angie, I'm not sure a masturbation-themed book called Just Beat It is appropriate for the library to showcase, she'd noted the next morning.
Angie, she'd declared five days later, your display is amazing. Hilarious and eye-catching. But it's going to get you in trouble. Can't we take it down before we open today?
Later that particular morning, the director of the Nice County Public Library system had made an unexpected visit to the Battlefield Library, and Angie had found herself on probation for a month. She'd ignored her friend's repeated, impassioned warnings. So Angie alone needed to take whatever consequences were coming down the pike.
"Then there's your New Year's Eve singles event," Tina said. She pointed to the second complaint in the letter. "Am I to understand that you used library money to buy chaps? And a harness? And a French maid outfit?"
"They were props for couples to recreate book covers, an activity the Library Board approved," Angie said, defending herself. "Plus, I used discretionary funds from the sale of donated books. Haven't you told me I could use that money for any library-related purpose?"
"Technically, that's true. But I think it was understood you wouldn't use the money to buy a whip."
"The library actually made money on that event," Angie reminded Tina. "We also inspired several happy relationships, including one for Penny."
"That's not really the point of —"
Angie held up a finger. "Wait a minute. I didn't ask for reimbursement for those props, and no one complained. So how did you find out about them?"
Tina sighed and plucked another printout from her black leather briefcase. "We got a request to hold a similar event at Downtown, only with more buccaneer-themed props and activities. From someone named Clarence, who signed his e-mail" — she straightened her wire-rimmed glasses and read the next line in a resigned tone —" 'Still lookin' for booty, so thank ye kindly, Clarence.'"
Angie hung her head and heaved her own sigh. Pretend Pirate Clarence. Her favorite — and only — swashbuckler-obsessed patron. Of course.
She glanced around the workroom, cataloging the changes she'd made since becoming branch manager seven years ago. When she'd arrived, the staff-only space had overflowed with random papers, books, and supplies. Because of the clutter, the regular cleaning service hadn't been able to do their job. Every surface in the room had rested under a blanket of dust and grime. Within Angie's first week, she'd bought additional shelving and bins from her own savings, organized the chaos, and disinfected the whole damn area.
In the past seven years, circulation numbers at the Battlefield Library had skyrocketed. The number of holds had increased exponentially. Because of special events like the New Year's Eve program, Battlefield even contributed a little extra money to Downtown's coffers. The programs held at Battlefield boasted the best attendance of any county branch. Angie and her staff received thank-you notes, baked goods, and frequent hugs from their visitors.
But it wasn't enough, apparently. Angie's knowledge of her patrons and what they liked was irrelevant in the face of complaints from administrators who rarely stepped foot in her library. So here she sat, marveling at how little her life had actually changed over the years.
A familiar sick feeling knotted her stomach and rose, bitter, into the back of her throat. Once more, she'd disappointed someone whose opinion she respected. Once more, she'd been reprimanded like a naughty child. And not in a hot way, either.
"Angie," Tina repeated. "Look at me."
She obeyed. The assistant director leaned forward and laid a gentle hand on Angie's arm.
"Angie, I'm the one who hired you. You know I like and respect you. After the debacle with the erotica display, I fought for you to get probation rather than a pink slip. But I can't protect you anymore. You need to be smart and protect yourself." She gave Angie's arm a final pat and stood.
Angie rose too. Even though she stood almost half a foot taller than Tina, she felt about a millimeter high. Shades of her childhood. "Okay," she said. "I appreciate the warning."
"Is there anything in the branch that needs repair? I could take a look and contact maintenance for you when I get back to Downtown."
"No," Angie said. "No, nothing needs to be looked at. Nothing at all."
"Are your shelves getting too crowded? Do you need help weeding the collection?"
"Nope." Angie stood in front of the door to the main library, her hands braced on either side of the frame. "Thanks, though."
"All right. I'll be off, then. Don't be late to the staff meeting tomorrow morning," Tina said.
"I'm never late," Angie replied. "You know that."
Tina gave her a genuine smile. "I know. You're a hard worker. I meant you should be on time because there's an announcement tomorrow that will affect you. I'm hoping the change will help you keep your job." She headed toward the back door of the workroom, the one leading to the staff parking lot.
An announcement affecting me? What the hell does that mean?
"Should I be worried?" Angie called after her.
Tina turned and gave her an assessing look. "Maybe." She flicked a glance at Angie's clothes. "And no jeans."
Before Angie could say anything else, the assistant director let the door close behind her.
Angie waited until she heard Tina's car pull away from the parking lot. Then she staggered back into a chair, planted her elbows on the workroom table, and covered her face with her hands.
The door to the main library opened with a protesting squeak. A slim arm surrounded her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. Penny again. Angie covered Penny's hand with her own and leaned into her friend. The soft cotton sweater on Penny's shoulder cushioned Angie's hot cheek. Breathing in her friend's familiar, lemony scent, she relaxed a little bit.
"Oh, thank God," she said.
"Don't get me wrong," Penny said. "I'm glad you're relieved. I'm just not sure why you're so thankful. From what I could tell before you closed the door, Tina was reaming your ass. In the nicest possible way, but still. Are you simply thrilled to have continued gainful employment?"
"Not that gainful," Angie muttered.
"True enough. But you didn't answer my question."
"I'm very happy she didn't fire me. Trust me on that," Angie said. "But on this particular occasion, I was giving thanks that Tina came and left through the workroom. She didn't see the public spaces at all."
"Why wouldn't you want her to see the rest of the building? The library always looks great. You make sure of that."
Angie raised her head and looked at Penny.
Penny gave a little start. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "Oh, shit. Yeah, that would've been ugly."
Angie stood up, and Penny's arm slid off her shoulder. The two women walked into the main library and gazed wordlessly at the signs Angie had plastered over every available surface a week or so ago.
Each poster featured Cupid, but not the baby version. No, this particular Cupid was all man. He stood bare chested, wearing only a tiny white loincloth. Muscles rippled down his tight abs, strong arms, and long legs. A quiver of arrows lay on his back. He'd removed a single arrow and was holding it in one hand while gripping his bow in the other. His blond curls clustered in carefully created disarray around his chiseled features. He gleamed, as befitted a god. Or, alternatively, as befitted a male model who'd slathered baby oil all over himself.
The image: enticing. The professional judgment involved in displaying it: questionable. A firing offense? Given what Angie had heard today ... maybe.
Below the image of Studly Cupid, she'd written, Attention, All Battlefield Library Patrons! Are You Inspired by Valentine's Day? If so, write the hottest, most well-written sex scene you can (up to 2000 words), print it out, and turn it in to the library by February 13. The author of the best one — as judged by our staff — will receive a gift certificate for a couples' massage at Mountain Valley Massage!
The contest: very popular among her patrons. The professional judgment involved in creating it: very questionable. A firing offense? Given what she'd heard today ... probably.
Both the image and the contest itself could potentially lead to Angie's imminent unemployment. But she had an even bigger problem: the text above Cupid. The text she'd giggled over and typed with such glee.
Think you have what it takes to stiffen Cupid's arrow? The library challenges you: Make his quiver ... quiver.
The tagline: hilarious. At least to Angie and the patrons who'd commented on it. The professional judgment involved in using it: dismal. A firing offense? Given what she'd heard today ... abso-fuckin'lutely.
Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.
"If you cancel the contest, patrons will complain and you'll get fired," Penny whispered. "If you don't cancel the contest and the administration finds out, they'll fire you anyway."
Angie pursed her lips. There was no need to respond. Penny had pinpointed the problem with her customary precision.
"You're fucked," Penny added, as if Angie didn't already know that.
"Without a doubt," Angie said. "Without a doubt."CHAPTER 2
One more complaint and we'll fire you. We won't want to, but we will.
No matter how intently Angie tried to concentrate on the narrow country road ahead of her, no matter how loudly the Beastie Boys howled about sabotage on her car's stereo, the warning from Tina replayed in her traitorous brain.
There's an announcement tomorrow that will affect you.
God knew what Tina had meant. So now Angie needed to survive a good twelve hours of uncertainty and dread before she discovered her fate. Her plans for the rest of the evening: Home. Bra removal. Beer. Bitching on the phone to her besties. More beer. Buying as many filthy e-books as her Kindle could handle. Finally, reading said e-books alongside various personal appliances until she fell asleep in a blaze of horny glory.
Unfortunately, all these plans required the dude driving the little hybrid in front of her to locate his accelerator soon. If he didn't, she could kiss the prospect of reading Long Train Coming — the anthology of railway-themed erotica she'd coveted for weeks — good-bye. Instead, she'd spend her evening following him at the speed of an arthritic sloth. For entertainment, she could look at the piles of boxes visible through his car's rear windows and contemplate the suitcases strapped to his roof as she made her way home.
The extreme slowness of the driver surprised her. She'd caught a glimpse of him when they'd rounded a sharp curve, and he looked young. In her experience, people this averse to acceleration whacked passersby with their canes and called people below the age of sixty whippersnappers.
There was no good place to pass the hybrid, though. Despite the fact that she hadn't seen another car traveling in either direction for a few miles, the twisting road made it dangerous to go around him. Unless he turned onto a side street, she was stuck until she reached her neighborhood. She might as well relax and resign herself to a long, boring ride home.
Excerpted from My Reckless Valentine by Olivia Dade. Copyright © 2016 Olivia Dade. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very quick read but enough for me to love Angie and Grant. Ready for the next in the series ?
I could not get past chapter 3! It felt childish
My Reckless Valentine is #2 in the Lovestruck Librarian series by Olivia Dade. In this story, Library manager, Angie Burrowes, has been having too much fun at work and one more complaint will get her fired. Angie was responsible for the couples New Year’s Eve match making in Book#1 and this time her branch is sponsoring an erotica writing contest for Valentine’s Day. While Angie knows how to play hard, she also works hard. Her library statistics are better than any other branch, so Angie’s boss leaves it to the newly hired Director of Branch Services to keep an eye on Angie. Grant, the new Director of Branch Services, arrives in town and almost crashes his car into Angie’s releasing a cloud of clothes and condoms all over the road. Angie and Grant click together like two puzzle pieces and she grabs on to their new relationship with two sticky hands. It isn’t until the day (and night) after they meet they both discover their work makes their love forbidden. Dade does an excellent job writing an excellent goal, motivation, and conflict (GMC) for each character. Angie is honest about what she wants and is a sympathetic character with her desire to keep her job. Grant is also this handsome, bashful (BETA HERO!) guy who wants to prove himself at his new job while trying to help his parents. I was surprised how well Dade also gave Grant some hidden depths and revealed his inner conflict and character growth. Thinking back on it, Grant did seem too straight-laced, too in control of his emotions until Angie came along and showed him his wild side. “My Reckless Valentine” was an excellent example of GMC for each character, their internal and external goals wrapped up with witty dialogue, sexy banter, and sympathetic characters.
Loved it. The trust building parts were a bit unbelievable, but overall very fun and sexy.
I think that my biggest issue with this book is the characters. While I find each of them interesting in an analytical/fluid sort of way, I just couldn't connect with either Angie OR Grant. I think that the author wanted the reader to see Grant as endearing with all of his idiosyncrasies and perfection issues but I didn't. I just found him irritating and completely inauthentic. The words I was reading about his character in particular didn't mesh with the vibes that he was putting off. I don't even know if that makes sense ... his character seemed like one dude but then he would turn out to be completely different. I don't know if this type of confusion was what the author was shooting for or if it was an unfortunate byproduct of a character that wasn't fully fleshed out but it kind of ruined the book for me because I couldn't picture this guy as a real, in the flesh dude. Angie, on the other hand, was interesting. I thought that her character was perfect and I really enjoyed how she would get into trouble, take the smack on the hand and then do it again. It was cute and while I enjoyed her, I just couldn't connect with her on any level. I thought that the idea behind this book was so interesting. To be honest, I was completely sucked into the novel when it first started and I was itching to find out what was going to happen next. But that quickly wore off when the characters started in with their weird passive-aggressive-dom-prude thing going on. I just couldn't get immersed after about 20 percent into the book. Nothing had hooked me, even my enjoyment of Angie, and in the end, I just wanted it to be done. No, that's not true ... I wanted it to get better. Up until the last page of this one, I was hoping for more but it just never arrived. I even had to put this one down for a bit and then try again but it didn't work the second time either. It all comes down to the characters. The story can be amazing but if the characters aren't up to par for me, it just kills the entire book. Sad way to see this one end, I really liked it in the beginning. * I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *
Olivia Dade took my view of libraries and librarians in a whole new direction. Staid and regimented Grant and free thinking but goodhearted Angie set the books on fire in My Reckless Valentine. What I liked about this story is that there were personality differences, job stipulations and life struggles that weighed heavily on these peoples lives. Yet despite it all they find freedom when together. This story stirs up a great many feelings but is largely about learning accept a person flaws and all. Falling in love breaks all the rules but pays off in the end. I received an ARC of My Reckless Valentine in exchange for an honest review.
The Lovestruck Librarian series started off with the fun romance between Penny and Jack, and featured the creative Angie as source of the new found popularity at the Battlefield Branch of the Nice County Public Library. In the first book she was warned that if any more of her displays/events featured a racy/erotic content, she will lose her job. She concedes but learns that the library has hired director of branch services to help keep her in line and analyze data to promote services. On her way home from the library, she has an accident with a tall stranger which leads to a hot hook up. They both hope it will be the beginning of a new relationship but unfortunately the next day she learns that Grant is her boss. He is unwilling to jeopardize his job by sleeping with Angie, even though their chemistry is off the charts. Will Angie be able to save her job? Will Grant find a way to see Angie without costing him his new start? Olivia Dade penned another romantic comedy that features a lot of steamy scenes and funny dialogue. Angie is one of my favorite leading ladies and I am a huge fan of this series. I was given a free copy by netgalley.com for an honest review.
This is the second book in the Lovestruck Librarian series, each standalone with a complete story arc and a happy ending for the couple. Angie was introduced as a secondary character in Broken Resolutions as Penny's boss. As the heroine of this story, she's a fun, exciting and rather daring woman who loves her job as a library manager. She's the source of the, well, rather X-rated materials at the library, with her love of erotica sometimes overtaking her common sense. In fact, it's gotten her into more trouble lately, with the result that she's under probation, and under the eyes of the newly hired director of branch services, Grant. Only problem? They had a one night stand as luststruck strangers that was meaningful for them both, the night before they found out that they were to have a working relationship. Now they are boss and employee and should be strictly hands off. But with Valentine's day approaching, cupid has his sights set on them and working together could be the start of something wonderful or ruin for them both. I really enjoyed this story! I knew from the first story in the series that I liked this writer's style, combining laugh out loud moments with sexy scenes and sweet and likable characters. That was definitely true for this one as Angie is a firecracker. She makes up for her lack of a real life relationship by being daring in her work life, setting up exhibits and contests that bring a lot of attention to her library branch - the good kind from the patrons but the not so good kind from her bosses. She sometimes lacks the filter she needs to balance what's fun with what's smart, and her enthusiasm for erotica is not something everyone understands. In comes Grant, a solid, dependable, nice guy. I mean, he's a librarian! He's not an alpha male, he's just a decent man, doing the best he can to help support his family and this job means a lot to him as it will keep him close to his aging parents. The fact that he had the best sex of his life with a sexy stranger who turns out to be his subordinate? Well, he's just got to put it behind him. But he can't, and his conflict is felt equally by Angie as they struggle with their feelings and intense sexual attraction to each other. There are an abundance of sexy scenes that prove that while Grant might seem somewhat reserved, he's got the goods in the bedroom and they are definitely compatible. Angie's got some secrets though, and not being completely honest with Grant from the start sets them up for trouble later on. Happily, everything gets resolved nicely and I loved the compromise that works to let Angie get to express herself at her job in a way that makes everyone happy. Plus, we get a sweet happy ending for the couple. There are some nice cameo scenes from couples met in the first book in the series, and I'm excited to see who will get a story next! 4 stars for this fun and sexy story.
A fun witty read that was completely entertaining. Great characters and story but I did find the pace of the book a little slow. Angie, the erotica loving library branch manger, allows herself to indulge in one night of lust with the incredibly handsome Grant. Grant, normally straight laced and serious, can't believe the amazing night he had just spent with Angie. Since he woke up alone however, reality is back and his focus has to be on his new job as Director of Branch services for the Nice County Library system. Yep! He's basically Angie's boss! A fun read that I would definitely recommend.