Cover Image: Secret Crush Seduction

Secret Crush Seduction

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In the second book of her Heirs of Hansol series, Jayci Lee brings readers an interracial, multi-cultural, friends-to-lovers story filled with sass, sizzle, and a whole lot of heart. 

I so enjoyed Adelaide. Yes, she's rich, beautiful, and privileged but life hasn't been all fun and games. There's heartbreak, and mistakes, in her past but at twenty-six she's grown up and put that behind her. Her soul burns to prove her worth to her grandmother and secure her position in the family company. In order to convince her grandmother to give her a chance she'll need the help of Michael, a PR guru who is also her brother's best friend, an unofficial member of the Song family and, oh yeah, one of those heartbreaks from her past. 

The chemistry between these two is off the charts. I loved how Adelaide owned her passion, not hesitant to demand what she wanted, and needed, sexually from Michael. It was fun to watch her rock his world. But I also enjoyed the emotional growth and relationship building between the two that occurred before things turned physical. I enjoyed watching deepening feelings evolve between two individuals determined to keep their liaison in the 'temporary' zone. I admit that I grew frustrated with Michael at times and his penchant for treating the woman he's having relations with like the child she was when they first met. An honest conversation would have solved everything. It was very satisfying to watch Adelaide take him to task over the actions he took 'for her own good.' Groveling was involved. I would have been happy with more. ;-)

I enjoyed all of the behind-the-scenes peeks into the planning of the charity fashion show Adelaide takes on to prove her worth to her grandmother. It was an interesting vehicle to showcase Adelaide's growth in confidence and skill. It also spotlighted awareness of the dearth of fashionable, sensory-friendly clothing for individuals with Autism. And it expanded the cast of characters with more diversity, including a teen-age Latinx character with Autism, on the verge of a much-dreaded Quinceañera. She, and her father, were two of my favorite secondary characters in the book.

Another aspect of this series that I'm enjoying is the celebration of the Korean-American family at it's center. I'm learning about their heritage and traditions, including some delicious sounding food. Food porn is a thing, and I'm here for it. 

Book three, Off Limits Attraction, is scheduled for release in December, 2020. It stars Adelaide and Garrett's (book one:Temporary Wife Temptation) cousin, Colin and the arranged bride Garrett was supposed to have married. I've already pre-ordered the book and am counting down the days. 

*ARC received for fair and unbiased review
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SECRET CRUSH SEDUCTION by Jayci Lee is book Two in The Heirs of Hansol Series. This is the story of Adelaide Song and Michael Reynolds. Adelaide wants to show her family that she is a grown women who is ready for the responsibility of their family fashion empire business. To do so she gets the help of her brother's best friend and who also is the PR person. Adelaide has always had a crush on him and when they start working closer together their feelings just start to grow. This was a really enjoyable read. I will be looking for more books from this author.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin and Jayci Lee for this ARC.

I was a big fan of "Temporary Wife Temptation' so I was thrilled to read Michael and Adelaide's story.  I was not disappointed.  This book was a great read - Lee has created a vivid family in Songs and I enjoyed back into their world.  I appreciated the way the author wove in real world problems from Michael's infertility to Adelaide's mission to make fashion more accessible and comfortable for people on the spectrum.  

I appreciated the balance between the development of their relationship and the development of Adelaide on her own.  Watching her take charge of her life and work hard to prove her worth and grit to her grandmother was excellent. 

I really enjoyed this title and look forward to the third story in this series.
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The second book in Harlequin Desire's Heirs of Hansol series delivers with characters that break the mold, well-placed conflict, and steamy romantic tension that is only escalated by a few awkward family dinners!
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New relationships come with baggage and conflict. It is just the way things are. But some relationships also come with history. For Adelaide Song and Michael Reynolds to make any attempt at finding love together, they have to jump a lot of hurdles.

Adelaide comes from great stock. As an heiress, she certainly doesn't need a career, but she most definitely wants one, but more importantly, she wants the respect of her family's patriarch, her grandmother. Seeking to be a fashion designer, Adelaide has an opportunity to create a fashion show. If she succeeds, she will get the job of her dreams, and she knows her grandmother would be extremely proud of her.

However, there is a wrench in Adelaide's plans in the form of Michael Reynolds. Not only is he her brother's Garrett's best. Although eight years her senior, Adelaide always had a crush on him. Following the wishes of her grandmother, Adelaide struggles when she soon realizes that she cannot resist the attraction that is brewing between her and Michael.

Secret Crush Seduction is a lovely story. I so felt for both Adelaide and Michael. While their connection was palpable, there was so much going on that it seemed like there would be no way to find the love that would make both of them happy. This enjoyable read by Jayci Lee is a wonderful story and was just as enjoyable as the first book in the series, A Sweet Mess. This series continues with Off-Limits Attraction in December.

Many thanks to Harlequin Desire and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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Adelaide Song wants to be taken seriously and given the role in the Hansol Company she thinks she deserves (and like, I mean, I think she does). She determines that the best way to show her grandmother that she's grown up and matured from her wild party woman days is to host a charity fashion show for clothing designed for people on the autism spectrum in mind. (Which is a fantastic idea. Sensory processing disorders and the way we normally make clothes so often don't really work well together.) Anyway, Michael is her brother's best friend and also the PR person for the Hansol Company. So, he's fighting his attraction to Adelaide, who has been into him for forever, and there's a lot of tension between them.

I do think this book is stronger than Temporary Wife Temptation and I enjoyed the reading of this book. every time Adelaide talks about the importance of clothing being made more inclusively, I was so excited. I really like Adelaide. Like, she's an absolutely magnificent character. But, tbh, this side character who is a director appeared in the book for like one scene and I was like, "Ooh, a romance with him would be so fun!" So, as a romance, I can't say I loved this book. The book cetainly used the "betrayal" of the friendship angst and the over protective big brother (delivered by a cousin this time) speech common with this trope. But the biggest issue I had was that Michael thinks that he's broken and damaged because he's infertile and he has a LOT of hang ups over this. He sort of works through that??? And, I know a lot of people may struggle with feeling this way, but I just didn't necessarily feel like it was handled well, in that, there's not really a full, like, resolution of Michael feeling this way outside of the wrap up of the HEA. So. If you're at all sensitive to issues of infertility, I think treading lightly here is fair and maybe looking to see other reviews in case I'm way off base.

Anyway, because I loved Adelaide and learning more about Colin, I absolutely plan to pick up the third book in the series!
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Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee is the second book in her Heirs of Hansol series.  I did not read the first book, but Lee manages to give us a glimpse at the family, so this did read very well as a standalone. 

Adelaide Song, our heroine, is not happy that her grandmother continues to deny her a chance to take a lead role in the company, Hansol (fashion empire) having been deemed as not ready.  Adelaide, is the sister of Garrett (previous book hero), and knows she needs to find a way to prove to her grandmother that she is ready to step in to a larger role.  Adelaide has always excelled in designing her own fashions, and comes up with a plan to run a charity fashion show for Autism, with her own designs that were meant for those that are autistic.  
Michael Reynolds, is the PR for Hansol, and Garret’s best friend; he has always been treated as a member of the Song family. When she was a teenager, Adelaide had a crush on Michael, but because of his closeness to her family, he has considered her off limits.  Adelaide goes to Michael for help with public relations, and to help convince her grandmother to do the Charity event.  When her grandmother gives her approval, Adelaide takes full responsibility, hiring 10 young student fashion designers to help her with designs, and with one winner selected for best design. Michael helps by bringing in famous and wealthy people to attend the Charity event.

As they continue to work closely together, both Adelaide and Michael begin to have strong feelings for each other, with their sizzling chemistry making it difficult to ignore.  Even though Adelaide is willing to act on her feelings, Michael tries to fight off his lust for her, knowing this cannot end well.   He worries that Grandma Grace Song may not approve, nor will Garret, and he could lose everything.  But in a short time, they give in to their feelings, with the knowledge that when this project ends, so will their relationship.  Best laid plans do not always work out.  

What follows is a sweet, fun sexy story, with a couple we loved from the start.  Adelaide was a great heroine, as she was independent, strong, savvy, hard worker and talented in her wonderful designs, as well as her determination to succeed.  I really enjoyed the time spent with her team, and bringing to light many unknown issues for those Autistic, including clothes and accessories.  I did love Adelaide and Michael together, as he was also very supportive of her.  I will say that the ending to me was a bit abrupt, but I for one love having epilogues, which was not used here, leaving us a bit open. 

Secret Crush Seduction was a fun sweet read, and great addition to the Heirs of Hansol series, even if I did not read the first book. If you enjoy pure romances, I suggest you read this series.
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I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Secret Crush Seduction is the second in Jayci Lee’s Heirs of Hansol series, although it can be read as a stand-alone, as is the case with many Harlequin series romance. 

One of the consistent positives going into this one that carries over from the previous book is the great representation. I like the family dynamics in particular, especially Adelaide’s relationship with her grandmother. And the way Michael is made to feel like part of the family is heartwarming. 

I also liked Adelaide’s involvement with a charity show for autism awareness, working to develop a sensory friendly upscale fashion line. 

I had mixed feelings about the execution of the relationship between Adelaide and Michael, however. I liked them in theory, but wasn’t that moved to care whether they would end up together…the chemistry wasn’t really there. 

There are also some pretty weighty issues discussed, like infertility, which aren’t fully addressed, yet treated as barriers to them being together. I’d have liked to see this fleshed out more in a longer book. 

This one wasn’t as good as the first one for me (and even that one was a bit flawed), however, the positives still make it worth it for me. If you love interracial romance, then definitely pick this one up.
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From their first interactions in Temporary Wife Temptation, I was excited to get Adelaide and Michael’s story. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long for Secret Crush Seduction. Adelaide is the younger sister of Garrett, the male lead of Temporary Wife Temptation while Michael is his best friend. Best Friend's Sibling as a trope is usually a mix bag for me, sometimes it works really well other times I’m not for it. With Adelaide and Michael, the chemistry and pining was definitely there,, but it still felt like it was lacking something. I just did not care for them as compared to Natalie and Garrett. That being said, the subplot of Adelaide trying to prove herself to her grandmother was definitely interesting and I liked how she didn’t just do a regular fashion show, instead choosing to create clothes that would be fashionable and comfortable for Autistic people. Having read Temporary Wife Temptation first, I loved that we get to see the more kind-hearted and softer side to the Song matriarch. Overall, this book was a short, light and steamy read. I also appreciate how we continue to get diverse characters from this book is a part of The Heirs of Hansol Series. I’ll continue with this series, as the next book focus on Colin, who is Adelaide and Garrett’s cousin and is out this December!
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Adelaide Song has had a crush on her brother's best friend, Michael, as long as she can remember. When he got married, it broke her heart and turned her into a bad girl. Now, Michael is divorced and Adelaide is focused on getting into the family business by getting in the good graces of her grandmother. When she comes up with an idea for a fashion show featuring sensory sensitive clothing, she will need Michael's help to pull it off. With the two of them working so quickly, business can quickly turn to pleasure, but is it worth it to lose Michael's friendship over?

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

This is the second book in The Heirs of Hansol series. The first title is Temporary Wife Temptation. This was a quick read for me. I was invested in the story from the very beginning and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen with Adelaide and Michael. In these types of stories, you already know what is going to happen at the end, but it's the story leading up to it that is the best part.

Jayci Lee is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance authors. Her stories are sweet romances that you can fall in love with. She writes characters you want to be friends with. This is the third title of hers that I've read this year. I thank you to Harlequin for introducing me to this author.
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I enjoyed the first installment of this series and was really looking forward to finding out more about Adelaide, the wild child turned driven businesswoman. In this book, Adelaide is trying to prove to her grandmother, the matriarch of the Song family, that she can handle the responsibility of organizing a fashion show fundraiser and represent the company well. She is forced to work with Michael, her older brother’s best friend and the man she’s been in love with ever since she was a little girl. Michael was a promising hero and I liked the idea of him being a divorcee, and how that would impact his budding relationship with Adelaide. I also liked that we got to see more of Adelaide and her grandma’s relationship and the respect and love they have for one another in this book.

Unfortunately, I really struggled to get through this. Adelaide and Michael were definitely sexy and they were a bit of fun. However, their romance felt rushed and I felt like there was never enough time given to either character’s individual struggles and storylines. Adelaide would say she was scared of falling for Michael and getting her heart broken again and Michael didn’t want to disappoint Adelaide and cause her pain. However, there’s a difference between a character having surface-level fears, and the reader actually being invested in and sharing those fears. And I never really felt invested.

Also, the final confession scene only happened in the last fiveish pages, which was pretty disappointing. All this build-up and tension and then everything gets resolved at the very last minute, on the very last page. Overall, I think this book just really wasn’t for me.
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I could not finish this one. 

I was not a fan of the writing and with romance if I do not like the writing I rarely start liking a book later on.
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Adelaide and Michael’s friends to lovers story in Sweet Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee, book two in the Heirs of Hansol series, is a story of personal growth and seeing beyond the covering. Adelaide Song is tired of being treated like a kid as well as only being remembered for the wild child she became in college. She wants to take her place in the family business, using her fashion designer and business degrees. Creating a charity fashion show featuring formal and business wear for people on the Autism spectrum will give her the right platform to demonstrate her skills and talents. Not being able to do this all by herself she involves Michael Reynolds, her childhood crush and brother’s best friend, to assist her. Working together Michael realizes that not only has Adelaide grown up but there’s a magnetism arcing between them. When they are together, their electricity sets off sparks and their chemistry sizzles. As the time draws closer to the night of the Fashion Show, Adelaide discovers that mixing business with pleasure could derail her plans for a forever together with Michael. 

Ms. Lee wrote as emotional and searing story that should not be missed. She provided a tale rich with sizzling chemistry, personal growth, and supportive characters giving Adelaide and Michael a chance at a forever love. I highly recommend Sweet Crush Seduction to other readers and look forward to the next book in this series. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
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This is my first read by Jayci Lee.  
Did I  enjoy it?  Yes
Will, I read more novels by Jayci?   Yes
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read yet another enjoyable author.   Adelaide, has it all, but does she have the things she wants?  Is she happy?  Michael has always been the best friend who treats her like his little sister.   The Autism storyline touched my heart. I look forward to the next book in the Hansol Heirs series.

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I’ve been excited about Adelaide’s book since I read Temporary Wife Temptation, and it did not disappoint! Secret Crush Seduction was a delightfully steamy and quick read, I so enjoy this Harlequin Desire series from Jayci Lee. 

Brother’s best friend isn’t a trope I grab for all the time, but the few I’ve read I really enjoyed and now I can add this one to my list. Adelaide wants to prove she’s more than a spoiled heiress to her grandmother, and gain a position in the family business. I really enjoyed the opening scene a lot, it’s clear there’s a ton of tension between Adelaide and her life long crush, Michael. The forced proximity in this story was so great. Having Michael be treated like an adoptive member of the family and summoned constantly by her grandmother to events was delightful. I really liked how Adelaide’s idea for the fashion show was to create clothing for people on the autism spectrum. 

I will say there was one aspect of Michael’s character that wasn’t introduced until 50% in (or if it was mentioned in the beginning I missed it) and I didn’t care for that addition to the story? Considering how much it impacted his life and decision making, I would have liked it mentioned earlier at the very least, but it also could have been cut completely in my opinion. 

Overall Secret Crush Seduction was a 3.75-4 star read for me! I recommend if you’re looking for a short and steamy “brother’s best friend” romance!
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The Secret Crush Seduction is the second book in the Heirs of Hansol series by Jayci Lee. Adelaide Song, or Addy, has been in love with her brother's best friend for most of her life. Michael, said brother's friend, works in PR and is functionally family, is also in love with Addy. Addy desperately wants to work in the family business and is comes up with an inventive idea to host a fashion show with clothes specifically designed for people with Autism. Along the way, she and Michael finally give in to their attraction and sleep together.

I really enjoyed a number of things about this book. Addy is a character that felt so real to me; her struggles dealing with grief and responsibility felt very true to life. I thought a focus on making clothes that looked good for people with sensory issues was great! I even liked slightly taboo nature of her relationship with Michael. 

Unfortunately, Michael fell really flat for me. He doesn't seem to have much of a character outside of being in love with Addy. His obsession with his lack of fertility seemed incredibly off-putting, as did his determination that he couldn't provide a family. We live in a world of sperm donors, adoption, and fostering among other options. I recognize that it was his major hang-up, but it really felt that it was all his character was.

This book felt like it should have been two chapters longer. For the amount of hurt that Michael put Addy through, the immediate forgiveness felt rushed. 

This was a fun book with a cool concept that could have used a slightly more fleshed out lover interest and another two chapters before conclusion.
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Jayci Lee is a new author to me, and I wasn't really sure what to expect from her. I was not disappointed. The story was believable and moved along at a reasonable pace. I think it helped the believability that the two lovebirds knew each other for years.

If you enjoy believable romances with spice, this is a great choice!
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I’ve procrastinated writing this review of Secret Crush Seduction to the last possible minute for my blog tour posting, because I loved Jayci Lee‘s first book, Temporary Bride Temptation, so very very much, and have been really disappointed how much I haven’t loved Secret Crush Seduction. So much so that even with several months to read the book, I still haven’t managed to finish it. It’s not that I hate it; I just don’t care about it, about Adelaide and Michael, and motivating myself to read more of their story has been a struggle. I honestly don’t know how much of this is due to my ongoing struggle to read anything during this year of our pandemic 2020 vs. being due to the writing itself, so I am going to try to focus on what is good about the book and let the reader draw your own conclusion.

One thing that is good in Secret Crush Seduction is the diversity represented. The main relationship is an interracial relationship between an Korean-American woman and a white man. One of Adelaide’s collaborators on her fundraising project is Latinx, and his daughter is autistic. The fundraising fashion show central to the plot is specifically focused on fashionable but sensory-friendly clothing for neurodiverse people, so autism gets discussed a lot. This isn’t an #ownvoices depiction of autism, as far as I know, and I am unfortunately not knowledgeable enough on the topic to notice if the discussion of autism in this book is totally unproblematic, but what I read seemed respectful and eager to show support for the community’s needs. (Even if having an entire team of seemingly neurotypical designers creating sensory friendly clothing without significant input from their target demographic seems risky.) I think it would have been better for Adelaide to seek out some autistic designers to work with the team, if possible. But maybe that was beyond the purview of this book. At least the depictions of Korean-American culture, with inclusions of language and food and family dynamics and the imperious “hal-mu-nee”/ matriarch of the Song family, are delightful and a welcome element of realistic diversity in a romance novel.

There’s of course little to no economic diversity. That makes sense. This entire Harlequin imprint is devoted to depictions of rich and powerful men and women, so I wasn’t surprised by the lack of socioeconomic diversity. But it’s still not my favorite kind of story. At least in Temporary Bride Temptation, Natalie had some struggles related to money and power. Adelaide has everything she could possibly want, except feeling respected and holding responsibilities in the family business empire. While I understand her quest for self-actualization and agency, and respect her desire to not be a decorative but useless family member, I found Adelaide’s struggle much less relatable than Natalie’s, probably because of her privilege.

I’m not always good at remembering to include content warnings, but one thing I noticed in this book that I think readers should be aware of is that that a plot element involves discussion of infertility while wanting biological children. Garrett and Natalie are expecting a child of their own, and that has repercussions in Michael and Adelaide’s story. If, like me, you are uncomfortable reading novels with this as a plot element, be forewarned.

As for why I didn’t love this, aside from previously mentioned reasons? I just didn’t connect to the story. Maybe it was Adelaide’s great privilege. Maybe it was my 2020 reading blues. Maybe it was that Michael and Adelaide’s chemistry never felt believable for me. The entire story felt forced, like it followed the plot because that’s the way it was written, not because the characters came alive in the story. It’s honestly not a terrible book. It just wasn’t for me. I feel bad that I haven’t been able to finish the book yet, and hope to come back to it later to give it another try, perhaps once I’ve gotten my reading groove back. I also saw that there will be a third book in the series centered around Song cousin Colin, and I am sure I will give that a try when it comes out. I haven’t give up. I’m just out of time.

For now, I’d say that if you enjoy depictions of the rich and powerful, plot lines that involve high dollar charitable fundraisers and the fashion industry and obscenely wealthy family business dynasties, you may enjoy Secret Crush Seduction. If you enjoy forbidden romance between kid sister and friend of older brother/ older man with younger woman, you may enjoy this. If you’re looking for #ownvoices depictions of Korean-American characters in a romance novel and/or a little austism representation in the genre, this may also be for you. I hope that you will enjoy Secret Crush Seduction more than I have.

Thank you to Harlequin and #NetGalley for a free digital advanced copy of #SecretCrushSeduction as part of a promotional blog tour. This is my honest opinion.
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I had read the previous book in this series and loved the glimpse of Adelaide, so I was really excited to get to this one. 

I loved Adelaide and Michael. They have a history and chemistry galore and I really enjoyed reading the push and pull between them. Oh, and the longing filled secret glances were perfection. 

Plot wise, it was good. There’s a good amount of conversation and I truly loved seeing Adelaide come into her own to prove she can do whatever she sets out to accomplish. Of course I could have done with 100 more pages of these two, but the pacing was satisfying. 

Overall, it was another quick and fun read from Jayci and I’m really hoping Colin is the next book. 

**Huge thanks to Harlequin for providing the arc free of charge**
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This world of the Hansol corportation has my full attention.  This was the perfect follow up to Temporary Wife Temptation.  It started a little slow for me, but as I got into the excitement of Adelaide's charity event and the details and inspiration behind it as well as Michael's personal struggles, I just needed to keep reading.  Thank you, Harlequin for letting me read and review!
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