From the publisher:
#1 LibraryReads Pick
Indie Next Pick
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.
When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.
Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.
Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.
Naya (rhymes with papaya!) is an inspirational heroine. She’s a math professor (!) and has escaped from an abusive relationship. Three years have gone by and she has avoided dating and men altogether. But her best friends know she needs a little push, and they help her put together a short list of things she needs to try to get her out of hiding. The list includes having a stranger buy her a drink and having a one night stand.
They arrange to meet one night at a bar, but while she’s waiting they call to say they can’t make it. The man sitting next to her starts talking to her, and the next thing you know, Jake is taking her home. Except she drank too much and pretty much vomits her way out of the one night stand. But Jake, smart man that he is, gets her phone number.
Meanwhile, her university is looking to make some cuts and her department is definitely on the chopping block. The university has hired a consulting firm to help with the cuts, and of course Naya knows the man who holds her future in his hands – it’s Jake. To make matters worse, the university has recently hired her abusive ex, so now she has to deal with him, too.
Naya is freaking out about all of it but starts dating Jake anyway. Their attraction is strong enough to override the possible impropriety/conflict of interest and as their relationship deepens, it doesn’t seem to lighten Naya’s anxiety about work and her ex.
There is a lot of angst and drama here, and frankly, I couldn’t put this book down. I was rooting so hard for her! I love books like this, that take the rom-com and manage to turn it into something of substance while not losing the laughter or the love. Please add this to your to-be-read list!
1/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING by Denise Williams. Berkley (December 1, 2020). ISBN 978-0593101902. 352 pages.