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Delicate by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Gosh! What a beautiful romance! Sports romance with the most gorgeous MCs. Valentina González was a promising tennis playe...

Reaping the Benefits by E.J. Noyes


⭐⭐⭐
 
After the intense Ask,Tell; the singular Alone and the character driven romantic Gold, E. J. Noyes shakes it all up (including our expectations) with this paranormal romcom.

Morgan Ashworth owns a very successful data storage and security company and Jane Smith heads the technology side of the business. Both the women have been silently lusting after each other for years but stick to safe boss-employee zone convinced that the other cannot be similarly interested. Well, at least that is Jane's feeling. For Morgan it is a little more complicated. She is Death's Head Minion which means she is in charge of all other Minions and of late, she also has to tak care of the Americas since the Minion in charge of that geography has left (yes, the Minions have a choice).

The job of th Minions is to administer afterlife packages which are essentially a long list of questions so that each person is assigned an afterlife as per their personality. Receiving an afterlife package to fill doesn't mean that the human's days are numbered, though. They could have days, weeks, months or even years ahead of them. 

Morgan is assigned to administer an afterlife package to Jane. Getting this one done would mean that Morgan would still be eligible for the Minion of the Year award -- an award she's won consistently over years and just may lose this year. Except that Jane cottons on to how important it is to Morgan that Jane completes her package and bargains for fulfilment of her bucket list before signing that package.

Cici (Death), Morgan's boss encourages Morgan to not only accept Jane's terms but also accompany Jane around the world as the bucket list items get ticked off. 

The circumstances and the context of the story are fabulously implausible and Noyes balances that implausibility superbly with very empathiseable characters. As soon as #12 of the bucket list (Sleep with the boss) appears, both women are quite open about their attraction to each other. 

However, as their feelings deepen, Morgan started getting on our nerves with her feinting, blowing hot blowing cold, flirt and flight, and the most unforgivable of all -- complete lack of communication about her feelings for Jane or sharing of her fears. By around the 75% mark we couldn't stand Morgan anymore. Her behaviour of running away but making certain gestures and just giving enough to keep Jane hooked to her is a kind or psychological problem (we think it's a kind of dysfunctional behaviour displayed by narcissistic personalities). 

By the time we reached the point where Cici offers to 'save' Jane (i.e. give Jane many more years of life -- which seemed like at least 50 to 60 additional years) or make Jane the Minion for Americas thus granting the couple (Morgan and Jane) an eternity together -- and Morgan rejects both possibilities unilaterally, we were completely done with her and her self pity and self-preservation. We lost what little understanding we had held on for her up to this point.

Cici and Jane are lovely, very lovely, ladies, though.

While our extreme frustration with Morgan doesn't allow us to give this one an unmixed, ringing endorsement and recommendation, it is still well written plus it is a paranormal fantasy romcom by Noyes, so maybe worth a shot.

⭐⭐⭐



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