Saturday, November 6, 2021

Kate Clayborn - Beginner's Luck

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart...
Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.
What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless...

Comment: I added this book to my TBR soe years ago not only because it had been well recommended but also because of its premise: three friends win the lottery. I was curious to see how the author would use this in the story but, as it happens, it wasn't such a big deal after all...

In this book we meet heroine Ekaterina "Kit" Averin, a genius lab tech who likes the simplicity of her life, even though big companies keep wanting her to join them since her published work is brilliant. However, Kit likes roots and her group of friends, and her work and her boss... one day, another agent, Ben, approaches her with a proposal and although he is good looking, he doesn't seem to be very familiar with her work, and Kit easily dismisses him. However, he is living nearby, helping with his father who has been ill and they meet again when she visits his family's salvage yard. As they get to know one another, his job isn't something they forget but it's true what makes them spend time together while Kit renovates the house she bought isn't only professional courtesy...

This was a sweet romance. The main characters face some personal issues but globally, the focus is the relationship between them and how much they both want to invest in it. I liked both protagonists, it feels as if the author thought about their personalities a lot and she tried to convey them as unique as possible, and I felt I was spending time with interesting people (as opposed to more of the same in romance novels), which was definitely a plus for me.

The premise, as I've said, is based on a different type of idea. I mean, I bet there are more books with the "winning the lottery" idea but I think it's still seen as uncommon and, for me, it made it sound unique enough. I really imagined the plot would focus more on this, since it's not something one sees happening everyday, but the truth is the focus was more on the characters themselves and their personal emotions, rather than the external impact of what it means to be a millionaire. I mean, perhaps it shouldn't matter, but if it's special enough to change lives....

Kit is a brilliant scientist/expert on metals and her work means big companies want her ideas for their products but she prefers to be in the background. Winning the money only cemented this position for her. Her personal life is one of quietness, she has two best friends and a small group of people she is comfortable with, she has her adventurous older brother and a father she sends money to but with whom she hasn't a steady relationship. I liked her and the fact she seems to be introverted but yes, her past traumas, mostly dut to her family life as a child, really shape her personality.

In comes Ben, someone with a complicated past too, who has been neglected by his mother and that caused him to react as a young boy, now he is a mature adult, has a good bond with his father and the dream to have a company with his best friend but after meeting Kit, falling for her, perhaps these dreams can change. I liked him too, he was complex without being a cliché in how he behave with others and I was rooting for his romance with Kit.

I think that part could have been done better. I liked the overall feel/tone of the story, but despite it being obvious they were attracted and would, at some point, become involved, I also wish that the auto had included more sexual tension scenes or moments where they were pondering their attraction. I knew this was something they shared but it would have been nice to have this in such a way I would have to think "finally!" when they got together but what it felt like was more "oh, the setup is now". It wasn't thrilling nor exciting and I believe the story would have benefited from that.

There's a certain highlight in the secondary relationships the protagonists have with those surrounding them, I liked this aspect. I think there were enough details to make it sound as if these two were creating something which could develop roots, which could help them validate not only their feelings but their position in the community... It felt cute and cozy at the end.

Globally thinking about this book, it had all the necessary elements to make it work for me, yes. I would change a few things but I can't ignore I had a good time reading the book. I see the next installment in the trilogy is about Kit's fellow lottery winner, the blurb seems very intriguing, hopefully the end result will use the premise better than what happened in this one.
Grade: 8/10

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