Firstly, I adore the trope of melting the Ice Queen and Jillian is Antarctica. She is a stone-cold bitch on wheels whose only enjoyment comes from marking the next thing off her To-Do list. When she meets and is forced to work with the personable Reagan, they annoy the heck out of each other. Reagan finds joy in her work, her friends, and her family. Even in the middle of an immense family tragedy, she maintains her humanity.
Jillian’s family and friends are just what you would expect them to be, cold, petty, and emotionally barren. Reagan on the other hand is surrounded by a loving and supportive community. Her primary motivation is doing her best for others-whether it is literally catering to her clients’ last-minute changes or being wholly present for her parents. While Jillian frets over deadlines, Reagan anguishes over her father’s imminent death. Jillian slowly transitions into Jill, a woman with emotional needs but has no practical experience with getting them met. What she does know is that Reagan is an important piece to figuring that puzzle out.
Jill’s learning to care for someone does not immediately and miraculously transform her into a warm, considerate person and Reagan’s compassion does not make her accept being treated badly by anyone, Jillian included. While Jillian could be a raving bitch, she could be kind, warm, and generous. While Reagan was kind and giving, she could also be a bitch.
These are two well-rounded characters and I liked them both. Apart from my wanting to see a little more interaction and dating before their tentative coupling, the plotting was well-paced. The rest of the story is rounded out by a wonderful array from the QUILTBAG+ spectrum. I have a particular fondness for Jillian’s assistant Ash and I hope to read their story someday.
I highly recommend this excellent story of complex personalities, trying circumstances, and finding that piece of yourself that you didn’t even know you needed.
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