Afternoon Delight: Take Me As I Am by Charmaine Ross

Afternoon Delight: Take Me As I Am by Charmaine RossTake Me As I Am by Charmaine Ross

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Escape on February 25, 2016
Pages: 148
Format: eARC
Buy: Amazon
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A workplace romance between boss lady and landscape contractor in small town Australia engaging and heartwarming in an easy-read pace.  My first time with the author and I liked the setup of her story and characters.

The story opens with billionaire cut-throat businessman’s daughter, Kate Moore working on her first independent project overseeing the renovation of an old Victorian place and opening of a new elegant hotel.  It’s her chance to gain respect and a ‘well done’ from her cold and calculating father for the first time.  She knows her family isn’t normal.  Her parents are ambitious for power and wealth and lacking in any tender feeling or compassion even toward her.  The Moores didn’t make friends they made acquaintances they could use and anyone in their way is bulldozed to the side.  Kate knows this is what drove her sister to runaway three years ago.  It pains her that she doesn’t have love from her father, but she will work herself into the ground trying and push those who work for her to impressive him.  But then she encounters the one landscaper who impressed her with his previous work and makes the ice she has surrounded herself with melt.

David Wright needs this job for the Moores.  He’s caring for his folks now that his dad’s cancer has driven up the medical bills and his brother is trying to get through college.  David gave up his dreams to come back and work at something he has a real talent for as well.  His encounter with the demanding and unreasonable ice queen Kate leaves him irritated, but determined to impress her with his work.  But he also sees right through those walls she has erected around her to the lonely, broken woman who desperately chases after something that will never be and is losing her own soul in the effort.  David is attracted as is she, but the job comes first.  That is until he gives in to the attraction and discovers they have chemistry and they understand each other.

However, David is not what Moore has in mind for his daughter and Kate is suspicious David is a gold digger.  David grows tired of trying to get through to Kate.  Kate has to decide once and for all if she will strive for her father’s approval and take a chance on her happiness.

When I began the story, I was pretty sure that I would be setting it aside.  I did not like Kate.  At all.  She was a jerk and I saw no reason for her attitude and rudeness.  It was like she had to live up to some icy cut throat persona to impress her bigger jerk of a father.  I get the need to work for a parent’s approbation and I get the need to be hard as steel in a workplace to earn respect, but many times she was just rude.  But then I got curious about the missing sister with the little mystery there and I was eager to see David landscape that garden.

Once I got a third of the way in, all my early reluctance was gone.  I was vested.  This is the story of an adult woman who had grown up with emotional neglect and psychological abuse on top of the struggles of being an adopted child seeking acceptance and love.  It became Kate the survivor’s story and I liked how the author showed her struggles to connect with people in healthy families and relationships.  I think that is important when it comes to people reared in unhealthy situations.  They really don’t know how to behave.

And David… just wow.  He creates breath-taking gardens, he’s caring for his folks, he’s got a good relationship with his brother, and he sings, plays, and writes music.  He also looks below the surface to see the real person and is willing to keep trying when he’s given little encouragement or incentive from Kate.  Le sigh…

All in all, this was a good outing with the author’s work.  I have one more of her books and look forward to it as well.  I would point this one toward those who appreciate contemporary romances with a damaged yet strong heroine and a hero who can help her heal.

My thanks to Escape Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #39 CR
Literary Pickers #38 Outdoor decoration
Mt. TBR #18
Blogger Shame #5
COYER #62

About Charmaine Ross

Charmaine’s first foray into romance was as a fourteen year old where she fell hopelessly and eternally in love with her hero as only a teenager can. Instead of watching movies and staying up late, she would go to bed at eight thirty and continue her very romantic, very safe, love affair.

Since then, she has fallen in love with many heroes, some less safe than what her teenage brain could possibly imagine. After earning a Fine Art’s Degree, a Diploma of Secondary Education and a Diploma of Marketing, she worked as a Graphic Designer in various advertising agencies and as well as in-house marketing roles and is currently involved with digital marketing and everything web in her current position. But she always returns to writing.

Although she has travelled, she always returns to her home town of Melbourne and lives with her husband, two children and two cats in the ferny-greens of the Dandenongs. If she’s not working on her latest romance and falling in love with yet another hero, you’ll find her reading, watching and basically indulging in her addiction to any story on any media type she can get her fingers on.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I am not always a fan of workplace romances but this one sounds like it has a lot of promise. Great review!

    • I don’t read many so I don’t think I’m fond of them either. I was curious about his landscaping and that it’s written by an Australian and set in an Australian city suburb.

      Thanks, Carole!

  • Wow, David sounds like my dream guy hehe. Great review Sophia Rose 🙂

  • Debbie Haupt

    Looks good Sophia Rose

  • I like when an author peels back a characters layers and makes me understand them.

    • Yes! I was put off by her ice queen thing at first and then the author revealed all the other parts of her and then it was so different from what I imagined. Good stuff!

  • Parts of this sound really good, and if there’s enough character development, I could enjoy it. I just get frustrated when an author mistakes meanness and haughtiness for strength.

    Great review! I’m glad you stuck this one and ended up enjoying it. 🙂

    • Yes, it was shaky for me at first b/c I do not appreciate meanness no matter the reason, but then I gave it time and at least started to understand what was going on and the big thing- she changed and started acting better.

      Thanks, Angie!

  • It sucks when do not like the hero/heroine early on. Glad you stuck with it and ended up still enjoying it.

    • Yep, it does. It’s a gamble whether to stick with it and see if a twist or something new happens to change ones mind or not. I was glad it paid off in the end. 🙂

  • Ah Kate sounded complicated there… I didn’t know about it but Australia? What a nice setting!

    • Yes, she certainly had some interesting parts to her.

      I love picking up books from this publisher because they are the Harlequin line in Australia so I get books written by Australians and usually set in Australia. Fun change for me.

  • Whew boy! I probably would have been tempted to put it down, too! That’s great it was able to hook you and you could get to side with the heroine in the end 🙂

    • So hard to make the call of when to unplug and move on. And books like this are the reason. I would have missed one I ended up liking, but the early moments were not easy. 🙂