Title: Even Odds
Author: Elia Winters
My Rating: A-
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Slices of PI #1
Main Characters: Isabel and Caleb
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Pocket Star
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
As a design manager at PI Games, Isabel Suarez is no stranger to the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. But when her team attends a gaming convention on the other side of the country, she figures there’s no harm in putting aside her professional demeanor for one weekend to participate in a risqué scavenger hunt. Why shouldn’t she let loose and have a little fun?
A careless romp soon turns into more, however, when Isabel ends up having a fling with Caleb Portland, an artist and animator, without knowing he has just been hired to partner with her at her company—and Caleb can’t bring himself to tell her. When they end up coworkers a few weeks later, they need to find a way to work together and keep things strictly professional. Caleb doesn’t want to take on a relationship and risk failure. Isabel doesn’t want to risk ruining the professional reputation she’s worked so hard to develop. But when faced with the undeniable sizzling chemistry between them, will either of them be able to resist temptation?
A sexy and witty tale of romance and modern workplace politics,Even Odds is the latest winning entry in Elia Winters’ unique and well-loved erotic novels
This book is unlike 95% of the books on the market right now and I really liked that about it. This is about a girl who's making it in the male-dominated gaming industry, but that success hasn't come without costs. She's found to make it, she can't be seen as a sexual being, so she works really hard just to be one of the guys...something that comes back to bite her after a week-long Dice Con.
I liked Isabel. My only quibble with her was that I hated she played the scavenger hunt game at the Con. I realized that mentally the game gave her permission to do something she normally wouldn't do, and I think that could have worked if Lloyd hadn't been on the trip. But I just couldn't see her playing that game with someone like Lloyd who she didn't trust in the first place. She had to know that would come back to bite her. He was just that kind of jerk.
But otherwise everything about this book worked for me. It's a huge coincidence that Caleb and Isabel end up working together even though he's from Chicago and she's from Florida, but I imagine the gaming industry is a pretty small group overall when it comes to jobs within the various companies.
I also really liked that Caleb's work history isn't all sunshine and roses. It's not often that you find a hero that's failed at his job like Caleb did with his start-up company. That's been a blow to his ego, too, and it made him feel more real especially when his feelings for Isabel developed so quickly. I loved that he was thinking long-term fast, but he was still so completely commitment shy when Isabel would challenge him. Despite his emotions his default was no-commitment which I think helped the little bit of insta-love/lust that the story had feel more right.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I loved the geeky setting. The gaming scenes were fun and I liked that Caleb and Isabel had so much fun beyond the bedroom too. (Although, whew, I did enjoy their sexy times, too.) The IKEA scenes had me giggling. Overall I thought it was a great start to the series and I'm looking forward to more books in it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.