The One You Need
Grade : B+

The first books by Emma Barry that I read were her Fly Me to the Moon modern historical romances (co-written with author Genevieve Turner) set in the era of the American space race. They were all favorably received here at AAR. But prior to this series, the author had written and published a political romance series with Carina Press called The Easy Part.  She got the rights back to that series and has self-published them with new titles and covers and some light editing (mostly updating things like phone styles and musical artists, etc.). I hadn’t read the original series, but decided to pick up the new version of what was first titled Private Politics (2014) but is now called The One You Need.

Liam Nussbaum is an independent journalist who runs a politics blog. He’s had his eye on socialite fundraiser Alyse Philips for some time and they do have some mutual friends but she’s never really noticed him, at least not in the way he’d like.

Alyse enjoys her job at the non-profit Young Women Read Inc., and she’s good at what she does. In the course of preparing for the annual audit she uncovers some shady donor businesses and money going into the pocket of a man who happens to be dating her boss. Suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a potential money laundering scandal. Going to her best friends with her concerns, they call in none other than Liam, hoping he and the investigative journalists on his staff will be able to help figure out what is going on.

Teaming up together could be just the chance Liam needs to show Alyse that sometimes nice, quiet guys can be the hero. But the stakes are high. Both their reputations are on the line, and going public without covering all their bases could be a disaster. In fact, going public at all could spell the end of Alyse’s non-profit work ,even though it would boost Liam’s readership. Will their competing ambitions ruin their chance at love?

As a Canadian, the ins and outs of political maneuvering in Washington D.C. have always been a bit of mystery to me (though less so in the last decade as I’ve had more of an interest in what our neighbour to the South is up to).  Money and politics certainly go hand in hand, and Ms. Barry, whose background includes work as a former political staffer, does a very good job of explaining this world to the reader. I’d say this story is ‘politics adjacent’, as the characters aren’t elected officials but work in the political sphere. Even if politics isn’t your thing, the romance and the intrigue make for an entertaining read in Ms. Barry’s capable hands.

Liam is fairly transparent about his crush on Alyse – and she is aware of it. But Liam is also very aware of when Alyse is being open with him and when she is treating him with the practiced ease of someone used to coaxing money out of pockets with fake smiles and insincere touches. He knows she’s smart underneath the façade and when she reveals her true self to him, including her insecurities, he doesn’t treat her like a vapid pretty face but with real concern and affection.  Watching Alyse come to realize what she’s been missing by overlooking Liam as a potential romantic partner is a treat. Eventually they get on the same page and share some very sensual love scenes. Liam may have that nice guy, unassuming charm about him, but in the bedroom he’s not afraid to show Alyse how much he wants her.

As Alyse and Liam grow closer, the suspense angle also ratchets up, such that every time Alyse goes into work knowing what she knows, the reader is waiting for what will happen next.  I wouldn’t define this as a romantic suspense story, but there are definitely some pretty tense scenes. What to do with the things they find out is where complications ensue for Alyse and Liam as a couple, but all the mysteries get resolved and their happy ending is all the more meaningful for what they’ve been through together.  Whether writing about politics or space, or whatever else is on her plate, Ms. Barry can be counted on to write an engaging and thought-provoking romance.

Buy it at: Amazon

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Reviewed by Maria Rose

Grade: B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 31, 2022

Publication Date: 01/2022

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Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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