I will never understand how anyone who watched The Devil Wears Prada could possibly envision a pairing of Miranda and Andrea. I’m really grateful that pervy little mind decided to write up a fanfic about it and it’s morphed into some of the elements and tropes that have shown up in lesfic – especially the ice queen boss. Yes ma’am. I know a workplace romance between a boss and employee is intrinsically wrong but this type of dynamic lends a delicious amount of angst in a fictional lesfic story. And I love a good dose of angst. So, banish your nagging inner HR voice to an off-site team-building seminar and settle in and enjoy.
I had avoided reading reviews on this one as I knew I wanted to read it based on how much I enjoyed The Lily and the Crown (I’m not sure why, there was so much I shouldn’t have liked about that book, but I actually read it twice and will go back to read it again. It’s like a caramel hot fudge sundae – not necessarily good for you, but oh so very good). Set in an Atlanta law-office, The X Ingredient is very different from her first book but enjoyable nonetheless. By the halfway mark this turned into a sexaplooza and I was a bit taken aback; and, completely hooked. This one is definitely NSFW and, at times, I’m not sure if it was safe for home. I’m pretty sure the dog and cats were judging me – but I don’t care, I enjoyed the hell out of the book.
Laurie Holcombe may not have the experience needed for the position of Executive Assistant to a named partner in a successful law practice, but doesn’t let that her deter her. When she interviews with Diana Parker, ice queen extraordinaire, she’s entirely unsuited to Diana’s high expectations but makes an unmistakable impression with her strong sense of self and confidence in her ability. Diana Parker, reserved and the ultimate professional, has an unsettling amount of inner turmoil and her encounter with Laurie has brought it to the forefront. Against her better judgement, she hires the woman on a trial basis. As Laurie settles in, learning the ropes and managing to respond to Diana’s imperious demands, she proves herself to be an effective and efficient assistant. During that time, the initial unspoken attraction continues to simmer until it hits a full rolling boil.
The book switches between Laurie and Diana’s first person POV which provides a wonderful insight to both women. Laurie’s overt confidence is underscored by her own self-doubt – the recent death of her father and her struggle to complete her degree part time has delayed her plan for law school. Diana is pretty much of a hot mess as she struggles with her burgeoning feelings and desires. Laurie sets off her internal melt down and once the physical relationship starts, Diana is a conflicted, throbbing puddle of angst as she tries to cope with and understand the sudden deluge of libidinous cravings that Laurie engenders. Oh lovely, lovely angst – it fuels the emotional rollercoaster and pretty much drips off the page.
As for the sex. Oh. My. God. Someone get me a cigarette – it was, uhm, stimulating. There’s a build up as the two dance around each other – Laurie is attracted to Diana, but Diana takes a bit longer to put the pieces together. Once they come together, things are pretty much incendiary – and that was just the first kiss. Things rapidly move into fire alarm fire territory and there’s an extremely effective power play between the women with Laurie controlling the pace and that just amps things up ridiculously. Although the both agree that the secret assignations are no more than “an arrangement”, both are overwhelmed by the fact that the irresistible wanton obsession is fueling deeper emotions.
Ms. Sinclair is an excellent storyteller who presents endearing and engaging characters and situations. When she adds a bit of erotica – wow.
(Definitely Recommended if you like a bit of forbidden office romance and a lot of sex.)