I was starting to think I’d never find a contemporary F/F romance that would make me swoon in the same way my beloved Lady’s Guide did. The stack of DNF recommendations was starting to embarrass me, because I like sticking with books, but found myself abandoning a dozen after a chapter or two. The ones I did finish struck me more by how annoyed I was after I read the last chapter than anything else. Then I came across A Proper Cuppa of Tea and enjoyed it so much I picked this one up. I don’t know what put Cathryn and Stacie over the top for me in terms of F/F couples I loved, but I can at least make a few guesses.
I liked that their conflict was genuine, not something contrived by their inability to communicate or a terrible love triangle. I liked that they started this out with conflicting principles and worldviews, and tried not to let that get in the way of their temporary, casual fling but got too untangled with each other and the protectiveness and affection got too strong. I bought it but I also genuinely worried they wouldn’t make it, which made me invested.
Bridging their differences of opinion would not be easy. I’m mostly on board with Stacie’s politics, but I also know what is like to be with someone who thinks turning their back on their privilege means it doesn’t exist, and who then proceeds to explain how your every belief is stupid. So I had my moments of fully siding with Cathryn against Stacie’s annoying whitesplaining. In the end, though, I liked them both, and I was nervous for them both given the danger around them and the conspiracy obviously taking place under Cathryn’s nose.
I’m just glad any violence was minimal and not very graphic on the page, and that there was no sexual violence whatsoever, because from the moment we met Karl Depew, I was worried about Cathryn. I was a bit annoyed at the ending (I do not think Cathryn needs any giveaways, despite her fears about changing industries. She’s badass and should have gotten a new job on her own merits. Running an organization where everyone except your wife thinks you’re a lying corporate shill certainly is gonna be as hard as having to explain to potential employers you’re changing to a new field because you turned in your boss for conspiracy to commit murder), but otherwise I found it easy to root for this enemies-to-lovers pair, and I was always on board when they were together and when they made decisions that would inevitably blow up in the other’s face. I believed in their care for each other, and I believed they cared enough about their jobs to go the extra mile, even if it meant the other would be in a tough spot. I also appreciated that while Cathryn started out with more at risk, she was quick to assess when it was prudent to give Stacie information or worry more about her.
Most importantly, the sex in this book was amazing. I have such a hard-time believing in a couple when they are grown-ups angsting about stuff before they even kiss, so I love KG MacGregor’s catalog. She isn’t afraid of showing women being intimate before they know their relationship is a keeper and she makes her sex scenes memorable. When her characters do stupid things for lust, I believe it, because I might do the same stupid things for a connection this intense.
This one is highly recommended.