At a corporate retreat in Colorado, two co-workers compete for a cash prize, but they secretly hope to win each other’s hearts in this novel.
Raye Soto is one of 25 employees chosen for a week of team-building exercises in the great outdoors—and the chance to collect a $50,000 bonus. Her ex-husband’s substance abuse problem has left her to raise her son, Andy, by herself, and she needs money for his college tuition. She is paired with military veteran Desmond “Des” Emmett, who was recently transferred to the Denver office and needs money for his ailing little sister, Claudia. This conflict of interest is their most compelling trait—neither one of them is willing to sacrifice a loved one for the other, but to what extent will money come between them? Raye is Mexican-American, and Des has Irish ancestry. As they bond over scavenger hunts, karaoke, and stories of past heartbreak, they lament their dilemma even more when frantic phone calls from home bring more bad news. Des and Raye are heading up the mountainside to fix a hiking trail when a flash flood threatens to turn a friendly competition into a true race for survival. And their quick thinking could save the day for the entire company, making their cooperation more urgent—and ultimately more fun—than their rivalry. More sweet than steamy, McCune’s (Falling Like a Rock, 2014, etc.) love story unfolds at a realistically cautious pace while offering intriguing lead characters. Office politics frequently change the temperature from chilly to heated and back to neutral. Although Des spars with Raye over discrimination in the workplace, he champions her as his teammate. He even stands up for executive assistant Julia Flora after Raye tells him she has been overlooked for professional development. Raye, meanwhile, can fend for herself. Aside from a few minor errors (“Yeah Tell me about the staff room”; “Desnoted”; “Nothing to ityet”), the novel is a swift and satisfying read.
The fresh air helps turn this office romance into a truly romantic adventure.