Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC: Embrace on 8th February 2021
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The only thing tempering their insta-hate is delicious attraction.
Sunny chocolatier Charlotte Beecher is unemployed, in student debt, and on the verge of hawking her beloved copper pots just to make ends meet. So when a gourmet chocolate factory chooses her as one of five candidates to help re-launch the company in their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired competition, Charlotte begins to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fellow contestant Luke Wells complicates her plans to win by a landslide with his flow charts and marketing projections. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Haughty is all about the bottom line and is as bitter as she is sweet. And when he snubs Charlotte in the first challenge, misunderstanding or not, she transforms from cream puff to jawbreaker. Bring. It. On.
But when these two rivals find themselves distracted by delicious attraction, will they let their passion get in the way of winning the competition?
My confession of the day: I requested this book simply because, well, chocolate. It was seriously on this basis alone that I rushed to grab this read because it revolved around a chocolate factory, romance or not be damned.
But there were things that I couldn’t look away from that made the premise of the story somewhat odd. The premise of how Charlotte’s friend managed to get her signed up to this internship at a chocolate manufacturer by a poorly-filmed video was an unbelievable one, compounded by the fact that even weirder contestants—comic-relief types for parody purposes—were chosen in this reality-show-type series.
Despite the story containing the enemies-to-lovers trope, the initial portrayals of Luke/Charlotte weren’t exactly appealing. If I found Luke too aloof, stoic and quick to jump to conclusions, Charlotte was even harder to like, her actions seemingly driven by her insecurity in needing everyone to like her. Thrown off simply she was used to everyone liking her (and unhappy when Luke didn’t), she devolved to spying on his ideas then accused him of stealing hers, becoming hysterically petulant and flaky in the process while swinging between lust and hate. That she was too ready to always think the worst of Luke—even towards the end—didn’t bode well for a pairing that I wanted to root for.
Consequently, I was cringing at the ‘crackling of electricity’ between them which felt more awkward than steamy. I tried to go on, but Luke/Charlotte together just seemed too contrived, even up to the halfway point when it felt as though these two weren’t even trying to get along but trying to rationalise their own bad behaviours towards one another.
I wish I could have liked the romance here as much as I adore chocolate and while the latter is pretty much an eternal favourite, I’m afraid this book didn’t quite go down as smoothly as the chocolate ganache I normally devour by the ton.