Must Like Kids
When I read the setup for Must Like Kids I figured I knew exactly what was going to happen. Single mother hired to help CEO of a baby products company out of public relations fiasco? This had to mean the heroine is a sweet, perfect, small town, stay-at-home mom who shows the CEO how wonderful babies are, right? No, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, the heroine is a single mother, but she’s a working mom who’s far from perfect, and who lives in Chicago. This is the first book I’ve read by the author but I intend to keep an eye out for her books in the future. This was a lot of fun!
Alec McAvoy is the CEO of a large corporation headquartered in Chicago that specializes in all things baby. When Alec makes an ill thought comment to a reporter about kids having a place anywhere he’s not, it goes viral. Suddenly this up-and-coming CEO is in big trouble with the corporation’s board of directors as the company’s stock tumbles. The board decides to do a bit of damage control and hires an image consultant for Alec.
Julia’s Stillwell’s husband died four years earlier leaving her with two young children and not much money. Julia struggles to balance her home life raising her young son and daughter and her work life as the owner of an image consulting company. The balance isn’t easy to keep and she’s not impressed when Alec shows up late for their first appointment; timing is everything in Julia’s busy life. Despite taking a quick dislike to Alex, Julia’s a professional and needs the money so develops a clever strategy to get Alex some positive news coverage.
I really enjoyed this book. It feels both real and current to me, and Alex and Julia are easy to understand and like. Alex is the child of wealthy parents who left his care to boarding schools and nannies; it’s not surprising he has no interest in marriage or a family. But underneath it all he’s a nice man. Sure, Alec is another wealthy hero. But what I like is not only does he work hard at his job, he’s actually in danger of losing it. I also like that he isn’t running his own company but that he works for another group of people.
Julia’s smart and really knows what she’s doing in her job as a “spin master.” She isn’t a perfect mom. She ups her caffeine to try and squeeze in as much as possible and works late at night. The kids are a priority but she’s a professional in her job. And the kids? They’re not perfect either. Her young son likes Alec almost immediately, but not as a potential husband for Julia, just someone to play games with. In contrast, her daughter wants nothing to do with Alec and wants him as far away as possible from her mom.
There are some nice touches in the book. I’ve lived in a building like Julia’s in Chicago and it felt real to me. The author adds small touches of Chicago without being overwhelming. I also like how the author deals with the passage of time; while this is a short book, it occurs over a number of months.
If you like hot sex in your romances this definitely isn’t for you as the sex is completely off the page and only referred to in passing. However, Julia and Alex do share a number of hot kisses.
I really enjoyed this. Both Alex and Julia grow and change over the course of the book. They’re definitely ready for their relationship and I completely believe in their happy ending.