On what was supposed to be her wedding day, Amy Morrison is seeking refuge at her empty office on the 49th Floor of a swanky office building in downtown Toronto. Everyone she knows is at her wedding, but there won't be a wedding because her fiance and boyfriend of seven years, Mason has just told her he doesn't love her anymore. Amy is embarrassed, shocked and disappointed. She is then mortified when she is discovered sobbing by her office enemy Dax Harris. Dax is the CEO of the software/app development firm that shares the floor with the real-estate development company where she is vice-president. He isn't at her wedding because she didn't invite the jerk. But Dax doesn't act like a jerk. He takes her out for drinks, listens to her vent, keeps her from going home drunk with the bar vultures and helps her avoid the family and friends till she is ready to face them. In the midst of it all Dax and Amy start seeing each other in a new light, and start realizing that underneath their long-standing irritation and annoyance with each other, they are very attracted to each other.
I really enjoyed following Dax and Amy as the moved from annoyance & denial to lust & friendship and finally to love. I loved that Holiday didn't rush the journey, allowing hesitations and second thoughts. Amy and Dax can't seem to stop kissing, but they take the time to become friends before they finally have sex.
I love that Amy can realize she is grieving the loss of the future she had planned to have with Mason, not Mason himself, re-evaluates all of her life, not just her love life and still come out liking herself & not feeling like she needs to have a personality transplant. She starts investing in making her own friends (beyond Dax), exploring new hobbies and changing livelong hurtful patterns of relating with her family while never abandoning who she really is.
"Keeping it casual" and "enemies to lovers" are some of my favorite tropes and I really liked how Holiday executed a story blending the two. While Amy and Dax had serious misgiving about each other, and have been truly antagonistic in the past, they are never hateful to each other. Both Amy and Dax struggle with the boundaries they have set, often crossing them emotionally and physically but their caution & wariness feels natural and not contrived. I loved that when Amy develops an interest in Tinder and she goes on dates with other men, even though it makes Dax feel confused and jealous, Amy is never made to feel bad about it. Dax's frustration and confusion are his to deal with, not Amy's responsibility.
I thought the ways their friends and family meddled or didn't in their love life was perfect. Their friends tease & nudge but in the way friends would. They express concern in the aftermath of Amy's break-up, and give advice and encouragement when they see Amy is ready to date again. I especially loved how Holiday used Dax's English/Chinese-Canadian family in the story. They clearly have lives that extend beyond Dax and Amy. I loved how they immediately like and want to latch on to Amy but are well aware of Dax's commitment issues, so they don't try to overtly match-make even as they encourage him to pursue Amy as something more than a friend. When Amy and Dax's conspire to persuade Dax's mother Lin to consider moving to a condo with less upkeep and better amenities, by convincing her to help Amy do market research for a potential real-estate project, it is clear that Mrs. Harris knows how much Dax likes Amy and is playing them as much as they are playing her.
Jenny Holiday is the author behind the often hilarious @TropeHeroine twitter account, where she lovingly satirizing some of the more ridiculous premises romance heroines endure. This twitter account introduced me to Holiday's sense of humor, which is funny without being mean or condescending, and inspired me to request a review copy of this novel. I was delighted to see that same of sense of humor in her novels. I will be going back to find the first book in this series, and look forward to reading many more books from Ms. Holiday.
A review copy of this book was provided by Entangled Publishing: Indulgence via NetGalley.