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    Sexy, thoughtful, timely - great read!

    If you like snarky banter, strong heroines and thought provoking stories, then you need to add Ainslie Paton to your reading list. In The Love Experiment, she’s taken a psychological study meant to enhance intimacy and paired two opposites in a sexy, unique romance. 36 Questions. 4 minutes of sustained eye contact. 1 love match? That’s what rookie reporter Derelie Honeywell is out to discover when she’s assigned the task of participating in a ‘love experiment’ as part of her lifestyle section in The Courier. With layoffs looming, she needs a dynamite story or she’ll be out on the street. But she’s already wondering if she should pack her bags and head back to her small town home when she’s paired up with mega star investigative reporter Jackson Haley, a very unwilling participant. Jack doesn’t think much of ‘Clickbait’, the types of articles the online part of The Courier posts, and by extension his initial nickname for Derelie. His hard hitting journalism uncovers scandals and misdeeds but comes with high legal costs, and he knows that his latest fraud investigation could go belly up. The last thing he wants to do is spend time delving into his psyche with a fresh-faced country girl. When he needs to work out his problems, he has them beaten out of him at an underground boxing ring, replete with an ex-priest to absolve him of his sins. But Derelie’s sincere optimism and dogged determination have him second guessing his initial rude and arrogant reactions to her task. In short order, the sharing of memories and dreams (and fears and failures) lead to the kind of intimacy predicted by the experiment and some sizzling sexual encounters. But when the harsh realities of the world of real journalism threaten their fledgling relationship, will it all end in a cynical, bittersweet goodbye? I loved this story! The concept is fresh and interesting and the questions range from innocuous (Would you like to be famous?) to funny (When did you last sing to yourself?) to intense (What is your most terrible memory?). The blending of how Derelie and Jack answer the questions with how they go from adversaries to friends to lovers makes for a really fun read. Plus, the sex scenes are are pretty steamy once Jackson is sure that the attraction between them is not solely because of the situation they are in. Jack definitely has more demons to contend with than Derelie and I found the fight scenes really powerful and framed quite differently than I'd expected. The timeliness of the plot is also worth noting. Thoughtful, detailed journalism has been taking a hit lately in the real world and less people are inclined to risk their livelihood for a story. Jack is that rare breed of investigative reporter who is fighting for the little guy, but knows that his stories must be solidly researched and backed up with proof. His kind of stories cost money to produce, money that newspapers are seeing less of as their print subscribers switch to digital formats. The secondary plot that runs parallel to Jack and Derelie's romance had some surprises, and affects them directly. Though they have their ups and downs, the ending has a sweet gesture ( a totally 'awww' moment) and a lovely scene to cement their relationship. The Love Experiment is a sexy, funny, thoughtful romance with a couple who get the best possible outcome.
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