Smart Move, an all-new grumpy sunshine sweet romance by Amanda Pennington, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Smart Move by Amanda Pennington
Series: Work For It #7
Published by Smartypants Romance on May 18, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
Ivy Lunden is Team Keep Things Casual…
I am Toby Azumah’s opposite in every way. I’m a pessimist; he’s an optimist. I’m into art; he’s into sports. Still, I’m highly entertained by our flirtationship.
When he finally talks me into a date, everything goes wrong. Chaos descends on my orderly life when my mother falls and needs nearly round-the-clock care. Add in my nosy neighbor, and my peace of mind has been turned inside out.
When Toby, Mr. Best-Case Scenario himself, offers to help, I’m skeptical. A relationship with him would only make things more chaotic, right? Or maybe Toby is the real deal, and giving him a chance is a smart move after all.
Toby Azumah is Team Happily Ever After…
I’ve wanted to take the mysterious, beautiful Ivy Lunden to dinner ever since we met, and I’m confident she just needs a little time to warm up to the idea of us. But nothing goes according to my daydreams.
Despite a no-show date, some flirty texts, and the fierce ways she protects herself and her mom, I see through the chaos and smoke to the real Ivy. The Ivy she rarely shows to the world.
How can I convince her I’m making the smart move and playing for keeps?
‘Smart Move’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #7 in the Work For It series, Educated Romance World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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I glanced over to make sure Clarice, my lazy coworker who was never happier than when she was pointing out others’ mistakes, was on the other side of the room, sitting at her desk and staring at her phone. Then I let myself look at him.
As usual, he stepped close and leaned his elbows on the counter. His forearms edged the boundary of professionalism, the sleeves of his coat landing a few inches short of the middle of the counter. He always gave me just enough space to let me know that I was still the one in control of our flirtationship.
That’s right. I, Ivy Lunden, have a flirtationship with Toby Azumah, the man whose voice draws more colorful images in my head than any other sound ever has.
For the last few semesters, he leaned across the registrar counter, and he flirted with me, and I flirted back, and then we parted ways until the next time the university opened registration for physical therapy CEs.
Toby always came just after noon on opening day. Always.
Not that I kept track. And not that I wore my best red lipstick and sexy heels for the occasion.
This, whatever it was, was all just a game. My favorite kind of game.
More bright splashes. More beautiful colors.
I smiled. “Hey.”
“How are you?”
From anyone else, this was a pat question expecting a pat answer. But not from Toby. This was all part of our routine, and it never bored me.
I pursed my lips and pretended to think, not missing when his eyes flicked to my mouth for a moment. Yep. Still got it. “I’m feeling about a seven right now.” I definitely felt worse than a seven, but our flirtationship was my escape, and I wanted to pretend for a few precious moments.
He nodded like this was the most interesting statement he’d heard all day—and his interest didn’t feel artificial. In a world of fake dating profiles and pretended sincerity, I reveled in his focused attention.
“What’ll it take to get to ten?” A grin teased the right corner of his lips.
My answer was instant. “A box of wine that lasts until I clock out at five.”
He laughed. “A whole box? Your day must be much worse than a seven.”
That kind of openness wasn’t part of my game, so I shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a simple woman.”
“I doubt it,” he whispered, and the sound put a delightful haze in my head.
“What about you?” Now I leaned across the counter, our forearms mere inches apart. “How’s your day?”
He pretended to think about it before saying, “Nine.”
Of course. He never rated his day any lower than an eight.
“Don’t you ever have a bad day?” I picked up the catalog from my desk, turning to the CE page.
“Never when you’re around.”
My eyes widened.
He winced. “That was pretty awful.”
“Maybe your bad day is showing after all.” Smiling, I handed him the catalog.
“I don’t believe in bad days.”
At first this story hit me a little close what with both my parents having been in the hospital only a month ago, and me wondering if I was going to have to do something like have my mom move in with me. But as I love in this type of book, or any book really, the banter between our two main characters was wonderful. I do really love when the female is the grumpy and the guy is the sunshine sometimes, because I feel like I’d probably be the grumpy person in a relationship, so I totally got most of her sarcasm.
I did love how both characters really dealt with things realistically. Other than one part towards the end, there wasn’t really of the over-reacting and pushing the other away that annoys me in stories. And I think honestly that is most realistic. As the story went along I got to feeling better about the mom moving in with her and enjoying just the craziness it brought. Although I totally understood Ivy’s frustration with someone in “her space” and needing her alone time.
Ivy’s art sounded so neat that I wished I could actually see it! Of course I loved seeing her friends Mel and Cam that we met in the first book by this author, Book Smart, and getting their romance kind of in bits and pieces from an outside point of view. I also really liked the fact that she had synesthesia. I have a really good friend with a little bit different form of synesthesia, so I always enjoy reading more about that.
My only negatives were that it seemed a bit long at times for me, and at times Toby’s overly sunshine self was a little bit annoying to me, but I guess as I mentioned above that I would be more of the grumpy person, that probably makes sense. I loved him other than that! Another great story from this author, and I hope to read more from her in the future!
About the Author
Amanda Pennington lives outside Louisville, Kentucky with her husband in their fixer-upper house. When she’s not writing, Amanda loves traveling, running, and reading anything within reach. More information is available at www.amandacpennington.com.
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