Cover Image: Secret Crush Seduction

Secret Crush Seduction

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Member Reviews

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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Secret Crush Seduction is the second book in the Heirs of Hansol from Jayci Lee. We get Adelaide Song and Michael Reynolds story in this book which is a friends-to-lovers romance.

Adelaide Song wants to take her place in her family's business, but because of her wild child college years, she feels as if her grandmother doesn't take her seriously. She has an amazing idea to add to their fashion empire and knows she can be successful. Michael Reynolds is her older brother's best friend and trusted family friend...and also the man Adelaide has loved her entire life. Adelaide knows her grandmother will support her latest project for the company if she can get Michael to help her out, and she can show Michael she has grown up as well.

I really adored the chemistry between Adelaide and Michael. Yes, there was major sexual attraction there from the beginning, but their working chemistry was just as strong. Michael is insanely attracted to Adelaide, but because he is her older brother's best friend and a family friend, he fights his attraction to her in the beginning. Adelaide is such a strong woman, but I saw her absolutely blossom and really come into her own as she worked on her fashion show project with all the designers, she handpicked. I felt like she was more willing to go after what she really wanted not only with her work life, but her love life, and Michael is who she always wanted. I really did love them as a couple, even when they were keeping it a secret from Adelaide's grandmother. I didn't love that Michael wasn't being entirely truthful about his reason for not being long term, and honestly that was really the only thing I didn't love about this story. Adelaide deserved better and for all the talk about her not being mature, I felt like Michael not sharing his secret was a disservice to her. 

Secret Crush Seduction was a sexy and emotional read. I really enjoyed this own voice story and can't wait to read the rest of the stories in this series. I somehow skipped book one, but it is awaiting me on my kindle right now. I really enjoy Ms. Lee's voice and look forward to more books from her in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars (B)
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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review

Alright, so let me say that I absolutely ADORED the first book in this series and I really thought I was going to love this one too. I enjoyed the story, but it didn't compare to the first one. I love the brother's best friend trope and I loved their secret relationship, but I just wanted more.

Michael and Adelaide were an interesting couple. I adored Adelaide. She was so determined and strong and I loved how she wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted regardless of what other people thought. I loved the way Michael cared for her and the way their chemistry came off the page. It was obvious from their first interaction that these two would have some intense chemistry. Those scenes together and the way they lead up to their first sexual experience was *chefs kiss*.

However, I just couldn't connect with them. I couldn't get invested enough in them or their relationship to sit through the entire story and care about what was happening next. I felt some of the dialogue felt cheesy and spoon fed, but maybe that is just me not being use to the way category romances are written.

I also had issues with the formatting. I didn't hold this against the book because I know it wasn't in Jacyi Lee's control, but I can't help but think that might have had something to do with me not being able to get invested.

Overall, I would recommend checking this one out if you liked the first one or the brother's best friend trope.
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While I liked this book, I wish I could have loved it. Considering age gap and brother's best friend tropes are two of my absolute favorites, I have to admit that I feel let down by my reaction to this book. While on the surface Adelaide and Michael were likable and had good chemistry, this coupling never really solidified for me. I felt there was a distinct lack of an emotional connection between this pair and for me personally, this made this book a bit of a chore. As for the story, initially I thought things started off promising but in the end came up a bit short to fully satisfy me.
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This one was pretty solid and a nice quick read, and I've enjoyed Lee's categories for Harlequin. I'm never not going to be into the "heroine has had a crush on older brother's best friend" trope, and I think the dynamic between Adelaide and Michael worked really well for me because they felt like they were on equal footing in terms of both competency and maturity. The only thing that was a little disappointing was that the end of my ARC suddenly cut off in the final chapter, so I didn't actually get to read the full ending of the book. It would've been nice to get that official resolution.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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***ARC Provided by the Author***

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was really looking forward to this one.

Unfortunately, the story between Adelaide and Michael fell a little flat for me, and I never really bought into their connection.  I understand the reason that the author had Michael be her childhood crush, but the transition from friends to lovers didn't work for me and I never really believed that either of the characters were totally on board with it either, which made this one a tough read for me.

That said, I am looking forward to the 3rd title in the series, as I enjoyed the 1st and am hoping this is a one-off and I will again enjoy the next one.

I am unable to recommend this title.
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As you all know I have really been into Harlequin books these days and ofcourse this book sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up .

I am so happy I read this one because I loved it.  This is a slow burn but the chemistry is just off the charts in this book.

I do recommend this one.
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2.5. This lacks the intense chemistry of its predecessor, and the narrative drive is not very strong. Overall, it’s an okay read, but I found myself much less invested in Adelaide and Michael. Also, while I appreciate the inclusion of autism awareness, it seemed almost like tokenism to include it because it serves only to advance the idea of Adelaide’s business ambitions and her desire to prove herself to her grandmother.
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One of my earliest introduction to romance novels was through Harlequin novels. I have fond memories of borrowing them from the public library and hiding them behind my textbooks at home to read instead of studying. Though I don't read as many of these books as I did in my teen years, I've been gravitating towards Harlequin's Desire Line recently, predominantly because they feature such beautiful and diverse couples on their covers. Earlier this year, I read Jayci Lee's debut, Temporary Wife Temptation, and loved it. As you can imagine, I was eager to pick up Secret Crush Seduction and it was as enjoyable as the first book for me. The Heirs of Hansol series is gearing up to be one of my favorites.

I had a feeling I would like Adelaide as a protagonist in the previous book and my instincts were correct. Jayci did a wonderful job of penning a character who was hopeful, passionate, and vulnerable in Secret Crush Seduction. Adelaide was an intelligent woman who wanted more of a position in her family's company. Before she could do that, however, she needed to prove to her grandmother, the family matriarch, that she was capable of handling the responsibilities that will come with her role. Though Adelaide grew up coddled by her grandmother, she was an independent and driven woman. The fashion show she planned to help raise funds for autism awareness, a cause she cared deeply about, was the perfect occasion to show that she wasn't as foolhardy as everyone thought she was. I really loved Adelaide's character and I think readers will find her journey to realizing her worth a gratifying one.

While working on the fundraiser, Adelaide worked with her brother's best friend, Michael. Growing up, she had what she thought was an unrequited crush on him and their work provided an opportunity to rekindle her feelings. Though I did not love Michael as much as I loved Adelaide, I thought their chemistry was electric. Michael had come off a divorce that was rooted in his struggles with infertility. As a result, he acted a little frosty towards Adelaide, despite his unmistakable attraction towards her. As you probably anticipated, we do eventually see him submit to his feelings with her and it was glorious. The sex scenes in this book were smoking hot and I thought their connection was genuine and heartfelt. I think if you love couples who are supportive of each other and make each other stronger, you'll enjoy Adelaide and Michael's romantic arc.

Secret Crush Seduction was a thoroughly enjoyable romance for me. It had lots of great elements that worked for me. I didn't dive into the terrific secondary characters, such as Grandma Song, who is fantastic but you should know that this book also had great family dynamics. I loved Adelaide and Michael's story and I look forward to reading Colin's book next.

CW: infertility
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Adelaide Song’s dream is to help run the family empire, but first she must gain the respect and approval of her grandmother, Grace Song, the matriarch of the Song family. Adelaide has had a wild past, so when a good friend of the family Michael Reynolds, comes up with an idea on how to win her grandmothers trust, Adelaide cannot wait to get started. Now all she must do is convince Michael to help her, the man she has loves since she was a child.

Michael Reynolds has been a part of the Song family for as long as he can remember. He respects Grace Song as if she were his own mother and would do nothing to bring the family shame. How can he help Adelaide with her fundraiser and keep his feelings for her separate?

When Adelaide and Michael start working together, things start to heat up to where it is getting hard to stay just friends. What would happen if they just had a brief affair? One they would keep quiet.  They could end it when the fundraiser is over. That would not be hard to do, would it?

This second novel in “The Heirs of Hansol “ series and I just loved the story as much as the first one. The author Jayci Lee did an excellent job of filling in the families back story, so you could definitely read this as a stand a lone novel as well. The characters, the banter, the sexual tension, it had me turning pages as quickly as I could. An absolute great read! Thank you so much to the author Jayci Lee,  Harlequin and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book to review. It was fabulous!
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Title: Secret Crush Seduction
Author: Jayci Lee    
Genre: Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Aspiring fashion designer Adelaide Song wants to prove she’s more than just a pampered heiress. All she needs is a little courage—and the help of deliciously sexy Michael Reynolds, her childhood crush and her brother’s best friend. But when her secret crush turns into an illicit liaison, Adelaide realizes mixing business with pleasure spells trouble for all her plans…

Actually, Adelaide comes across as 100% pampered heiress, so there’s that…I feel like this book focused on the superficial layers and never got into anything “real.” The secret Michael was hiding was, I’m sure, painful, but the idea that he didn’t think Adelaide would stay with him because of it portrays her as superficial, too.

Solid writing, but everything seemed so over-emphasized:  the fear of the paparazzi (then don’t make a fool of yourself in public), worry her grandmother thinks she’s incapable (then don’t act like you are), etc. I think maybe I just didn’t like the characters much.

Jayci Lee lives in California. Secret Crush Seduction is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)
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Heat Factor: Pretty steamy.
Character Chemistry: Since it started in childhood it’s had a long time to build.
Plot: Adelaide is desperate to regain her family’s respect, in no small part because she’s driven to work for the family company. To regain their respect, she ropes her brother’s best friend, Michael, into helping her pull off an event that will put her back on the map. But then...stuff happens.
Overall: This was a steamy, fun read but I definitely think it needs to be read as a series.

Ok, so this one was a tough one to review because I do suspect some of the gaps I found would have made a lot more sense if I had read the first book! So I’ll just go by pros and cons to make sure it’s a fair evaluation.

Pros! The family is interesting and fun. I like that it’s a multigenerational family, and I love the strong matriarch. I found the chemistry between Adelaide and Michael to be well-developed, and I LOVED the development of the event they ran together. It was really nicely done and I could see it very clearly in my mind. 

Cons! Again, it’s hard to tell which aspects would have been more developed had I read Book 1. I did feel that it was a slow start for me--it took a long time for me to figure out who Adelaide and Michael really were. I also felt like the big relationship plot arc put Adelaide back in a position where she kind of fell apart and her family treated her like she was weak, and that wasn’t really resolved for me. It just seemed like after fighting so hard to be taken seriously I would have liked to see her family believe she was capable of handling her relationship stress, maybe? But it also tied back to characters I think were featured in the first book, so it’s possible that dynamic would have made more sense had I started with that background, and just a little more time with this family.

It was absolutely an entertaining read, and I felt like things really took off when Adelaide really started developing her work. Just start with the first book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.
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There's something about seeing the Harlequin logo that has me one-clicking, ready to indulge in a great romance. And this author definitely brought me that. Jaycee Lee is becoming one of my favorites.
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Adelaide Song wants to work in her families Business but her grandmother keeps telling her no. She thinks it is because of her wild days while in college. So she asks for the help of her brother's best friend, and who she had a crush on for years, Michael Reynolds.\
While they start working together they mix business with pleasure and that turns out to hurt both of them. Even though they both want to be with each other there seems to be something that Michael is keeping from Adelaide and the reason he pushes her away.
I love these 2 characters and I wish that Adelaide's grandmother had told Adelaide why she wasn't hiring her and things might have been less complicated.
I received this from Harlequin and NetGalley for review.
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When Adelaide and Michal interacted in Temporary Wife Temptation, I suspected something was between them, and Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee totally delivered. Plus, look at that gorgeous cover.

Adelaide Song has pined for Michael Reynolds since they were children. He’s her brother’s best friend and has always seen her as a kid. It doesn’t help that Adelaide has a reputation of being care-free, but now that her brother is in New York, it’s her chance to show her grandmother she’s ready for a leadership spot at Hansol, the family company.

Adelaide ropes Michael, Hansol’s public relations specialist, into helping her execute a fashion charity show to raise money for Autism awareness. The will-they, won’t-they aspect was frustrating but so good once Michael stops denying how he feels and gives in. Their chemistry was hott!

I loved Adelaide’s character. She’s been underestimated and in her brother’s shadow, but she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable to get it. It was great to see her fight for what she deserves and solidify her place among her Korean family. I’m looking forward to the third book of the series in December!
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I recently read the first book in this series and was happy to get the ARC of this book. Adelaide is the sister of Garrett and Michael is his best friend.

Adelaide wants to work for the family fashion business but her grandmother (and owner of the company) keeps telling her no. She decides to hold a fashion charity event for autism awareness to prove that she has what it takes. She ropes Michael, a PR guy, into helping her out.

The most interesting thing about this book was the fashion designs for people with autism. I really appreciated the representation and thought into what kind of clothes would be better for someone with sensory sensitivity. The least interesting thing about this book was Adelaide and Michael's relationship. It fell flat and honestly I was kind of bored.
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Harlequin Desire is hitting it out of the park lately with these gorgeous covers! I loved the previous super-tropey book in this series and this one is no different. It’s got the best friend’s little sister trope with a bit of age gap (the hero is eight years older than the heroine) and all of the wonderful banter and humor.

Adelaide is convinced that the reason her grandmother won’t give her a place in Hansol, the family fashion company, is because of her party animal image from college. So, she comes up with the idea to run a charity competition to design sensory-friendly formalwear to “rehabilitate” her image – and to prove to her grandmother that she’s capable of handling the responsibility. But she knows she needs some help, so she decides to enlist Michael, head of the PR company that Hansol works with. Problem is, he’s also the man she’s had a crush on for years – and her brother’s best friend. Ever since his divorce, Michael’s been pining after Adelaide as well, but surely they can rekindle their friendship and work together for two months on the fashion show. Right?

“Adelaide, your work is so important to you—”
“Let me set some ground rules for this relationship. I get to have you whenever I want, wherever I want, and I want to have you right here tonight. Got it?”


Adelaide was so much fun. She knows she’s a talented designer, and she also knows that she grew up quite privileged, so she feels it’s her responsibility to help others get a voice in the fashion industry. Adelaide’s had a crush on Michael since she was a kid and she’s always known it’s unrequited. While she tried to ignore it, especially after his marriage, she can’t help but feel like there’s some serious chemistry between them. She’s used to being treated like the baby of the family and as she works with Michael to plan the event, the slow realization that he does see her as a competent woman and not just the little girl he used to tease is captivating.

“The man had told her he loved her last night, and now he was pretending nothing happened. Her grandmother was important. Her dreams were important. But so was love. Love was very important.”


I had a bit of a harder time with Michael. He has – in his mind – good reasons for not giving in to the attraction he feels for Adelaide, but his ways of putting distance between them mean reinforcing the “kid sister” relationship that’s hurtful to her. Sure, he’s practically a part of the family, owing to his close relationship with her older brother Garrett, and he is eight years older than her. Michael repeatedly tells her they don’t have a future – without telling her why – though they both believe they have to keep their relationship a secret in order to avoid tanking her reputation and prospects with the company. I didn’t buy Michael’s reasons for not telling Adelaide his secret, and honestly, this is definitely one of those situations where a simple conversation would’ve saved so much heartache for both characters. But the pining, angst and eventual steaminess in this book is absolutely stellar and worked for me.

The side characters are lovely, especially Grandma. I loved the family dinners and how important Adelaide’s family was to her, and it was nice to see Garrett and Natalie again. The specific charity Adelaide is raising money for is an autism charity, so various characters mention friends or relatives on the spectrum, and there’s one small bit with an actually autistic character. I’m not on the spectrum myself, but I thought it was respectfully done, and I was fascinated by the discussions of the various alterations Adelaide and her fellow designers made to make the clothing sensory-friendly. The only critique I can make about it, and it’s a minor and very personal one, is that the charity they’re supporting is an autism awareness charity called LearnAutism, which reminds me a bit too much of the highly controversial Autism Speaks. In terms of actual cons, the ending was much too quick for me – there’s the reconciliation, a proposal, and then, bam!, the book is over. I know part of it’s a constraint of being a category romance, but I really would’ve liked to see more of Adelaide and Michael afterwards in an epilogue.

Overall, while I didn’t love this as much as the first book, this was still a great romance, and Jayci Lee is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me!

I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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