published: 30th June 2020
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Galley provided by publisher
Last year, I read and adored Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and since then I have been eagerly and impatiently waiting for Take a Hint, Dani Brown. And it really, really does not disappoint. (Although, now I’m in the situation of really desperately wanting to read Eve’s book right away. March 2021 cannot come soon enough.)
The book follows Dani and Zafir, who start fake dating following a viral video showing him carrying her out of a building, which prompts interest in his youth sports charity. Dani is a focused and driven worker, studying for her PhD, while Zafir is an ex-rugby player who works security. They are, nominally, friendly with one another, although Zafir has a massive crush on Dani.
First things first: Zafir Ansari is the only man with rights, ever. He is such a lovely character and the type of male love interest that actually makes me enjoy reading m/f adult romances (I mean, given my options for anything not m/f in that bracket currently…). He is still, unfortunately, somewhat of an anomaly though, but that just makes me love him all the more.
And Dani! I love Talia Hibbert’s heroines a whole lot, they are always sympathetic and complex, and you know that meme with the woman carrying Kevin Hart? Well that’s how you’ll feel about Dani. I don’t really know how to put into words just how much I loved her, but she was by far and away the best part of the book (even if I did get frustrated with her “love no one, never get hurt” schtick. But there was a reason behind it, and that’s just a trope I personally dislike).
If there was a teeny-tiny thing I didn’t like as much, it was that I don’t always feel like the angst in Talia Hibbert’s books makes total sense when it comes to the character arcs (certainly, I felt that about Get a Life, Chloe Brown). Here, it did mostly make sense for me at least for how the characters had been established, however, regardless of how much I would have preferred them to talk things out. But at least it wasn’t based on a stupid misunderstanding.
All of which to say, this is a series you definitely want to get on to.