Cover Image: Secret Crush Seduction

Secret Crush Seduction

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Secret Crush Seduction is more than your average crush on your brother's best friend and long time family friend. With Adelaide Song and Michael Reynolds, it's hot, fiery passion come alive that burns as they work together. Not only is Secret Crush Seduction under the brother's best friend trope, friends to lovers trop, but also an office romance trope — in some ways. 

I gave Secret Crush Seduction four stars, loving the passion behind the love of Adelaide and Michael. The aspect of friends to lovers romance between Michael and Adelaide appealed to me and I really enjoyed the support behind Michael in Adelaide's career and how he helped her throughout her trying to prove herself that she is finally mature and responsible enough for the Hansol company and that she's not just the heiress to Hansol.

Secret Crush Seduction was absolutely enjoyable and I loved the aspect of fashion alongside how Adelaide was so passionate about fashion design as well as bringing forth the aspect of charity and helping out. She was so sweet and caring but at the same time she had such a strong passion for the things she wanted in life. She was determined and really set her mind to the things she wanted.

I had such a fantastic time reading about Adelaide and Michael's romance in Secret Crush Seduction. They were simply cute and the fire and heat between them was undeniable!

Thank you again to NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I read the first installment of the Heirs to Hansol series but it is not necessary to have read book 1 to enjoy book 2.

Secret Crush Seduction is enjoyable many of the same reasons I loved in Book 1. Competent MCs, and a steamy, emotional journey that is, at its core, a story of two people giving in to their long-time attraction. 

The story starts with Adelaide Song, who wants to take on more of leadership role in her family empire. But her grandmother can’t see past her party girl past (The Hansol Empire’s matriarch made her appearance in book 1 and she is not to be trifled with). Adelaide is no longer that wild teenager and she sets out to prove this to her grandmother. 

Part of her plan involves her brother’s best friend, Michael Reynolds, who handles the company’s PR and who she has pined for since she was young. She doesn’t realize that he has long been attracted to her as well, an attraction he tries to crush. Lucky for us romance readers, he fails and eventually gives in, their connection growing until they can barely manage it. Of course, this puts Adelaide’s entire plan to prove herself to her grandmother in danger, while Michael also faces his own risks as an executive becoming emotionally involved with one of the heirs of the empire. Whatever will they do?

Lee delivers on another fun, steamy, engaging read that keeps you glued to each page. And the covers so far have been exquisite. Looking forward to the next installment!

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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FULL REVIEW ON FRESH FICTION
Jayci Lee’s second book in the Heirs of Hansol series, SECRET CRUSH SEDUCTION, is a sexy, glitzy, and fun contemporary romance! The “best friend’s younger sister” trope is used well in this novel--Adelaide is set on proving she is a grown-up instead of always being treated as the family baby. She wants to prove that she can be as successful and powerful as the family matriarch and be taken seriously by her colleagues. Michael tries to resist Adelaide’s charms, but when he finally lets his guard down, their chemistry is off the charts. There’s a late-game reveal as to why Michael really feels he and Adelaide shouldn’t be together that came out of left field, but aside from that, the journey to their happy-ever-after is well earned and enjoyable to read. The backdrop of a charity fashion show is glamorous and sheds a light on an interesting part of the fashion industry. Jayci Lee continues to make a name for herself among Harlequin Desire’s most promising authors.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: https://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=10843
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Secret Crush Seduction (The Heirs of Hansol #3). By Jayci Lee. 2020. Harlequin Desire (ARC eBook).

Adelaide Song, Hansol heiress and aspiring fashion designer, is ready to prove to her grandmother and brother that she is ready to step up at their family’s fashion company. Specifically, she wants to run her own division. In her bid, she’s decided on pulling off a charity fashion show. Needing expert help, she enlists PR executive Michael Reynolds—her brother’s best friend and her crush. Michael is loyal to the Song family and will do everything he can to make sure Adelaide’s venture is a success. But her newfound drive and determination has him seeing his friend’s little sister for the beautiful woman she has grown into. As they spend more time working together, the chemistry between them becomes undeniable. But are they sure they was to risk their reputations and business stakes for a relationship?

Secret Crush Seduction is an entertaining and emotional journey for Adelaide and Michael. The two are good for each other: Michael’s quieter nature and life experience grounds Adelaide while still helping her shine. And she is able to cure his private loneliness and suffering by showing him unconditional love. I look forward to the next Hansol heir, Colin Song’s, story.
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Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee is amazing. We are following the story of  Adelaide and she wants to prove she’s more than just a pampered heiress. All she needs is a little boost and the help from Michael,  her childhood crush and her brother’s best friend.
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Jayci Lee's  Heirs of Hansol series about a family of Korean American billionaires is everything I could want from a Harlequin category romance. Secret Crush Seduction had so many elements I loved - mutual pining, brother's best friend, and even a sensory-friendly fashion show. My only complaint is that I wish these books weren't so short because everything moves too fast, especially in regards to sensitive topics like fertility.

Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for my copy to review.
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4 Stars / 3 Steam Fans

I loved all of the inclusion contained within this story. Brother's best friend and secret crush are done in a fun, sweet, and sexy way. I also enjoyed the family aspect that runs throughout the story.

Video review available in Week 43: Oct 18 – Oct 24 weekly book reviews and the Week of Netgalley Vlog, Episode 6 (coming soon).

For other video book reviews, check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
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The first book in the series was a bit paint-by-numbers but it was tropes I enjoyed, and I had a good time with it. This one has all the same weaknesses, but it's also tropes I like less, so it was a miss for me.

<i>Secret Crush Seduction</i> is a brother's best friend, lightly forbidden romance with a double mega-dose of pining. I pretty much always dislike romances with mutual pining, because the barrier between them being together rarely makes sense to me, and it's also hard for me to believe that both of them were unaware of the other's interest. These things were both issues for me in <i>Secret Crush Seduction</i>. I also had some concerns about their age gap, given that they grew up together, and she was in love with him in high school, when he, eight years older was getting married. There's something vaguely squicky about that, though not irredeemably so.

Like with the first book, there's not really chemistry between the two aside from attraction. There's not enough character development to sell a real, deep emotional connection. I'm not sure if that's standard for Harlequin Desire, but possibly is given the short length of the books. If they're your tropes, I do think it would be entertaining enough to get the job done. 

Aside from the romance, <i>Secret Crush Seduction</i> attempts some good things, but I wasn't really thrilled about the execution of them. Adelaide puts together a fashion show of sensory-friendly business and party-wear for individuals with Autism. It's a great idea in theory, and I appreciate what the author was trying to do, but the portrayal felt to me heavy-handed and very much an outside view of the autistic experience with only one actual autistic character who is barely in the book. 

Then there's Michael's tragic secret that convinces him he can't be with Adelaide: <spoiler>he's infertile</spoiler>. While I can appreciate the rep in theory, assume it doesn't get walked back in a later book in the series, I don't love it as a traumatic back story in a book with no development. There's nothing shameful about it, so it was just shitty to me to treat it that way, even though I know some people would feel that way. I also loathed that he didn't let Adelaide make her own choice and that she immediately forgave him and <spoiler>got engaged to him immediately</spoiler>. That was seriously fucked up. Make him prove himself!

The audio performances, as I mentioned in my review for book one, are okay. Some of Kanazawa's voices are still terrible, and I feel like both could read more emotion into it, which might have helped the book some. That said, I don't think the performances were a detractor either.

This very much fell into the not for me/just okay bucket. I like some of the things Lee attempted, but there wasn't enough development to support any of the big ideas, so it all fell flat.


I received this book for free from Harlequin on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, though I actually ended up listening to the audiobook on Hoopla. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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I have a love/hate relationship with these books. They start strong but the ending feels rushed. I feel like we need an extra 50 pages to develop the ending.

I did feature my reaction to this book and 9 other Harlequin titles in the following podcast episode.
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Secret Crush Seduction was so much fun! I was immediately drawn to this book by the amazing Harlequin Desire cover and found the story to be unputdownable. This book utilizes the brother’s best friend and unrequited childhood crush tropes really well. The heroine Adelaide Song is an heiress to a fashion empire, but she needs to prove to her grandmother that she’s no longer a wild party girl. She enlists the help of Michael Reynolds, a family friend and the company’s go-to for PR, and while working together sparks ignite. There is great tension from the feeling that their relationship would be forbidden by their families and because of their age gap. Michael is also dealing with a secret that he feels would make him unworthy of Adelaide. I really loved seeing all of the Korean-American culture in the story, especially reflected in the food scenes. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and hopefully get a glimpse at these two being happy together.
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Adelaide was raised in an affluent lifestyle and although she has made mistakes in her past she is no longer that person.    She believes that she is ready to assume control of the family business and now she just has to convince them.   She has come up with the perfect plan which is a charity show to not only raise funds but to raise the profile of autism.

Michael works for her family’s business and he is not only  responsible for marketing, but he is also her brother’s best friend.    Working together on this show forces them to finally acknowledge the attraction between them but between his secret and her family is there any other way for this to end other than in heartbreak?

Although it was a journey Adelaide and Michael finally realized that what they had together was worth fighting for and everything else that was standing between them was secondary.
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Brother's best friend isn't really a favorite trope of mine but Secret Crush Seduction has no shortage of romance tropes so that one is just one of many. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I liked this one well enough - not as much as Temporary Wife Temptation, but it's close and this one is an entertaining read. One thing I really liked about this book is the diversity with a couple of different ethnic groups as well as a character with autism, which is always near and dear to me. I suppose what it boils down to is I'm not in love with this one, but it's certainly a strong like, and in a time when you can't scroll through the options without finding a load of brother's best friend romances, that's pretty good in my opinion. The characters are likable and the story is entertaining and fast-paced, so it's a pretty quick read, and I'll be looking forward to whatever is next for the series. And while I'm at it, I have to add that the covers for this series are fabulous, absolutely fabulous, so whoever is designing them needs a round of applause. I love that the covers suit the romances so well.
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After enjoying Temporary Wife and adoring spunky Adelaide, younger sister to the hero, I was thrilled that the next book in the series was hers.  Korean American tradition, fashion world business, and a best friend’s little sister romance made for an engaging premise.
Review

Secret Crush Seduction is the standalone second book in the Heirs of Hansol series.  I enjoyed catching up with Garrett and Natalie and their growing family, but Addy and Michael’s story could standalone easily.

Adelaide is tired of being treated like the immature, carefree woman who went a bit wild through most of her college years.  She cleaned up her act and got serious about her life and career goals, but six years later, she’s still kicking her heels and waiting for her chance with her grandmother, her family’s company, and for sure with her childhood crush, her brother’s best friend, Michael.  What she doesn’t know is Michael has suddenly awakened to the fact that she’s a woman and one he is sorely attracted to.  He sets out the help her prove her worth through a grand charity fashion show showcasing sensory-friendly garments for those on the Autism spectrum.  It grows harder for them both to keep their minds on the project and they start wondering if a more private partnership should be made permanent.

Secret Crush Seduction read quickly and easily.  It was light and fun with very little romance conflict.  I was in like rather in love when all was said and done.  Adelaide had some feisty moments which is what I was anticipating, but the story though never boring, just didn’t pull me all the way in.

This pair were both likeable and took their time, but mostly because they spent a lot of time holding back on their thoughts and feelings.  I liked seeing them working on the project together and figuring out if and how they might make something work.  They were fun at times.

I was actually more fascinated with the byplay between Adelaide and her formidable grandmother. Addy thinks she has to prove herself and is frustrated and thinks her grandmother is holding her back.   The Korean family traditions and oh yum, the food mentions were splendid.

The charity show was an interesting focus particularly since Adelaide chose to go a different route with her designs.  I love that it drew attention to inclusion for those on the spectrum, but wish it had gone one step further by having a person with autism help in the designs.  Her event partner was a parent of child with autism so that was good.

I’m glad that cousin Colin gets his book next.  I plan on grabbing it and continuing with the Song family and their romances.  Those who want something quickly read and moderately low angst in a world of wealth and business, I can recommend this book/series.

My thanks to Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed the first Heirs of Hansol book so much and couldn't wait to get my hands on this brother's best friend romance that was hinted at towards the end of TWT. Though I didn't love this sequel quite as much, I still had fun reading Michael and Adelaide's story. She's had a crush on him since forever, and now that she's all grown up and knows what she wants, she goes right for Michael, who tries so hard to stay away but can't. They have some great chemistry together right from the start of the book, which only amps up when they start working together for a charity fashion show.

If you loved book 1, I would still highly recommend you give this sequel a try. It is tropetastic in the way category Harlequins are, and a quick, hot read!
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4.5 Stars

Secret Crush Seduction is the second thrilling instalment of Jayci Lee’s electrifying, sensuous and captivating series, The Heirs of Hansol.

Adelaide Song is sick and tired of being treated like a child by her family. She is fed up of her grandmother not allowing her to take her place at the table of their multi-billion dollar corporation and has had it with being constantly dismissed and told that she can join the family enterprise sometime in the future when she is ready, willing and able to show everybody what she is made of right now. If her indomitable grandmother is not bringing up her childhood when she had been very sick, she mentions her wild exploits in college when Adelaide had done a lot of drinking, partying and dating and not nearly enough studying – until she knuckled down in her final year and got stellar results. A talented fashion designer who is just itching to be given a chance, Adelaide is not a pampered heiress, but somebody with a lot of talent, so why is her family so reluctant to give her the opportunity to prove herself?

Michael Reynolds has been a long-time friend of the Song family and when Adelaide’s grandmother had called him worried sick about her, he had dropped everything instantly and gone out to find her. Michael knew that Adelaide would be at a particular nightclub and watching her as the rhythm took over her body stirred something deep inside him that made him realise that his feelings towards Adelaide were anything but platonic. But to Adelaide, Michael has always been just her brother’s best friend…or has he? As they find themselves thrust into close proximity together, Adelaide and Michael quickly give into temptation and succumb to the desire sizzling between the two of them.

But when their illicit attraction gives way to a love that simply cannot be denied, will these two old friends find the courage to admit the truth about their feelings for one another? Or will they let their fears get in the way of their happy ending?

A red-hot contemporary romance that sizzles with drama, emotion, sensuality and heart, Jayci Lee’s Secret Crush Seduction is a superbly written tale that sparkles with witty banter, explosive chemistry, searing intensity and scorching passion. Adelaide and Michael are two strong, flawed and charismatic characters readers cannot help but fall for. 

Fast-rising star Jayci Lee has written another winner with Secret Crush Seduction and I am already counting down the days until her next book!
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SECRET CRUSH SEDUCTION is book two in Jayci Lee’s Heirs of Hansol series.

Adelaide Song is trying to prove to her family – especially her grandmother, the formidable family matriarch – that she has changed her wild child ways and is worthy of a place in the family business.

To help her, Adelaide entangles Michael Reynolds, head of publicity for Hansol Corporation into her plans to design a clothing collection for people with autism experiencing sensory issues. Within the constraints of this genre romance, for the most part, the author competently addresses this challenge. 

Adelaide and Michael explore their feelings for each other as they work together to make the fashion show a success.  Michael was Adelaide’s first, albeit unrequited, love. Michael finds himself attracted to Adelaide buy he is wary of tangling with Adelaide because he greatly esteems the Hansols and he would hate to lose their respect.

Lee manages to infuse plenty of tension between Adelaide and Michael; the chemistry between them is obvious even though there’s a reluctance to acknowledge it. Frustratingly, this book doesn’t quite work for me it relies heavily on miscommunication to drive the story. 

Lee definitely gets a thumbs up for her continued inclusion of diverse characters. It’s never gratuitous and I appreciate her efforts.

While this book didn’t quite hit the spot, I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

2.5 stars
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3.5 stars

The Good: I love Jayci Lee's writing style and I've truly enjoyed the first book in this series, Temporary Wife Temptation. I've a real soft spot for this particular trope of falling for best friend's sibling, so I looked forward to this, and I do think there's good chemistry between Adelaide and Michael. Adelaide's personal journey to gain the respect of her family was well done.  However...

The Bad: The central conflict and the reason Michael resists a relationship with Adelaide is one of my personal triggers dealing with infertility. Nothing irritates me more than a character's value being tied to their ability to procreate, male or female. So in saying this I had to rate it lower because my personal frustration with the way Michael was handling things was very, very high.

The Bottom Line: Other than what I've described above, there's alot of little things about this story that I liked, but infertility issues in a book just aren't my cuppa. However, if you love Ms. Lee's writing and are eager to continue with this
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I don’t read a lot of Harlequin Desire books anymore because I tend to want longer stories. But I do have a few authors that I enjoy and whose books I will search out. And Jayci Lee is one of those authors. I read the previous book in this series and I was excited for Adelaide’s story. I love a good brother’s best friend story and Secret Crush Seduction is that. Adelaide has had a crush on Michael for so long and when they start working together, they both decide to give in to that attraction. But their love story is only part of the story. Adelaide is trying to redeem her image as a party girl in the eyes of her grandmother and the world. She has started a big charity project at her family’s company and this is a chance for her to prove herself. Finally exploring her attraction to Michael couldn’t come at a worse time. I especially liked that Adelaide’s charity project is sensory-friendly clothes and the ideas for it are a great addition. I understood Adelaide’s hesitance to making their relationship known but Michael’s was one that could have been solved with an open conversation. That being said, this was a great story and I did really enjoy both Adelaide and Michael’s characters.
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I really enjoyed the first book of Jayci Lee's Heirs of Hansol series when I read it earlier this year, so I've been looking forward to getting my hands on the follow-up, "Secret Crush Seduction," ever since. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I had hoped, but even so, I liked main characters Adelaide and Michael and it was easy for me to cheer them on to their HEA.
 
When the story began, Adelaide was determined to overcome the party girl reputation of her past so that she could find a place for herself within her family's fashion empire, Hansol. In an effort to prove to her formidable grandmother that she had changed, she came up with the idea of hosting a charity event focused on autism awareness. She quickly realized that she would need help coordinating the event, particularly on the PR side. Her brother's best friend and Adelaide's childhood crush, Michael, was the perfect candidate for the job. It was immediately apparent that Michael and Adelaide were attracted to each other, but for various reasons, each was determined not to let the other know. However, as they worked together on the charity event, their feelings for each other grew, and they soon began an affair. They agreed that the affair would end as soon as the charity event was over, but would they really be able to stop?

I felt bad for Michael because he had clearly suffered when his parents divorced and again when his wife left him a few years before the story began. His reasons for being scared to start a relationship with Adelaide were completely understandable. That said, it really irritated me that Michael refused to share those reasons with Adelaide and instead made decisions about her future without even discussing them with her. Rather than acting like her partner, he often treated Adelaide like a child who was incapable of making decisions for herself. I think if he had been honest with Adelaide and worked together with her to find a solution to their problems, I would have liked this book a lot better than I did.

At any rate, even though I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one in the series, I would still recommend it for fans of contemporary slow burn romance. I look forward to the next book in the series, which will feature Adelaide's cousin Colin.
 
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Adelaide Song wants to be a fashion designer, and not seen as a pampered heiress. Michael Reynolds is her brother's best friend, and she had a crush on him for years. She needs his help and is drawn into a liaison with him. Doing that just might ruin her plans, however.

Secret Crush Seduction is the second book in the Heirs of Hansol series, after The Temporary Wife Temptation (read my review). We get a nice glimpse of our hero and heroine there, to see that their happily ever after is still going strong. Here Adelaide feels sidelined and belittled, treated as the young girl whose mother just died. Her father and grandfather don't give her praise for awards won and aren't demonstrative when proud; we only hear about awards from the design students who are in awe of her work at the school, not the party girl persona when she started college. Adelaide knows that she should remain professional at all times, but her childhood crush is just as enamored of her and the proximity is too much to ignore.

I like that Adelaide's dreams involve creating a line of sensory clothing for people with autism, so that they're not stuck with the one or two things that might be acceptable for their sensory issues, but aren't acceptable for business or party situations. It's an area often ignored out in the real world, and few places acknowledge that autistic kids grow up to be autistic adults. Adelaide has real enthusiasm and drive for this project, and really cares how people on the spectrum think and feel. She has such passion for her clothing line, and it's the same drive she has to join the family business. She also loves with the same kind of intensity, and that is never looked down upon in the text.

I'm going to spoil Michael's big secret because it might be an issue for some readers. He's infertile and knows that Asian families are focused on generations, legacy, and tradition. He automatically assumes that Adelaide and her family won't accept him as a permanent love interest, and breaks things off. This internalized guilt might set off readers that have issues with infertility; Adelaide and her grandmother amazingly enough take it in stride, so it's clearly Michael's issue and not something that the author believes at all.

This wouldn't be a romance without a happily ever after, but I won't spoil that part. I'm sure that Michael and Adelaide have a lot of discussion in their future together, though it's not the sexytimes that are the fun of watching people fall in love and become a couple. As long as they actually communicate, I'm sure we'll see how they work it out in future novels within this series.
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