Desert Isle Keeper
Here to Stay
Adriana Herrera takes on workplace romance with her usual sense of verve and style in Here to Stay, a fun take on the rivals-to-lovers trope.
Julia del Mar Ortiz is having a difficult month. Working as a program director for the Sturm Foundation, the charity division of a high-end department store operating under the same brand name, her life is hectic, with her job beginning to shift beneath her feet with budget cuts on the horizon. Worse yet, she and her boyfriend moved to Dallas from New York to make a fresh start, but said boyfriend couldn’t hack the city or the relationship with Julia, and dumped her for his side chick and moved back home.
Julia is now stuck with an oversized apartment that’s too big for a single person to maintain and an expensive lease on a new car. The last person she wants to deal with is her colleague, fellow native New Yorker Rocco Quinn, part of a consulting firm hired to move the store into public ownership. Rocco and Julia get on like oil and water – and Rocco thinks axing the Foundation will help them shore things up financially.
It’s now Julia’s job to convince Rocco that the Foundation is worth keeping alive – which throws the twosome together, for better or for worse. They try to battle their attraction and keep things from getting too personal but well… not much chance of doing that that in a romance novel! Will Julia be able to keep her apartment, her new guy and her job? Or will everything fall apart instead?
Here to Stay is a ball of charm with a sense of screwball humor and a lot of lighthearted romance to go with it.
Both Julia and Rocco are spirited, well-meaning people with caring families and a lot of work stress. Each of them wants to do well and each of them is a little hard-nosed, so when they melt for one another it happens with both reluctance and delight on both of their parts.
The romance that results is sexy and fun, and that sexy fun romance develops a lot of depth and emotion as the story goes along. I just loved it.
I adored Julia’s wonderful mother, loving and a little overbearing, and her sister Paula, just a little nerdy and spirited. The rest of the minor characters are fun too – department store heiresses Mitzy and Muffy, boundary-pressing assistant Vicki, and Julia’s no-damns-to-give best friend, Alba, among them. Even Rocco’s cat, the spoiled Pulga, has a sense of personality that’s enviable.
Everything about the prose works, from Julia’s wonderful voice to Rocco’s passionate drive. These are people you’ll love to get to know and aren’t likely to forget any time soon. Here to Stay is a beautiful delight that anyone who’s had to move far from the familiar will find a wonderful comfort.