Amanda’s Review – Fired (Worked Up #1) by Cora Brent

A well written story with heat and heart. ~ Amanda, Guilty Pleasures 

In this fiery series debut from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Brent, a workplace romance might prove too hot to handle.

Still reeling from a nasty divorce, Melanie Cruz’s pride takes another beating when she loses her enviable job at an upscale resort. After a flurry of unsuccessful interviews, she finally—desperately—accepts a job managing a small chain of family-owned pizzerias in a quaint downtown Phoenix neighborhood. The job also comes with Dominic Esposito, her overbearing but ridiculously handsome boss. Falling for him might be the last thing she expects, but maybe it’s the one thing she needs.

As hard as they try to resist, Melanie and Dominic embark on a romance as hot as a brick oven, and Melanie has every reason to believe that maybe, this time, she’s finally found “the one.”

But Dominic has a secret—one even his family doesn’t know. And the scandal could threaten everything he and Melanie have worked for…in business and in love.

Fired is the first book in a new series by Cora Brent and I would say it was an excellent start. The story was emotional and heartfelt. Who says getting fired from your dream job is a bad thing? Melanie Cruz had the dream job at a posh resort but she’s fired and can’t find another job in her field. With the help of a friend she takes a managerial position for a family restaurant which is opening up at a new location. What Melanie didn’t realize is that the job may not be in her chosen field but might be the right job for all different reasons. Dominic Esposito is all about the job and opening up a new location is all he can think about day and night. Work takes precedence over his personal life because once he let it get the better of him. His brother may have hired her but she sure is making it hard to stay focus when she’s around him.

Both Melanie and Dominic were realistic characters with both good and bad flaws and I definitely could empathize with them. Melanie’s first marriage was based on all the wrong reasons and wondered if she was ever going to find someone to love and make her happy again. The death of her parents still has an effect on her even after years, and it shows how vulnerable she is when someone close to Dominic passes away. With a little introspection she realizes that her present situation is a good thing and that if she wants things to work out for her and Dominic she is going to have to be proactive and not reactive. I love when she talked to her cats and they had such adorable names as well.

Dominic is a man with a big secret and the guilt makes him have tunnel vision about work. Trying to reestablish the Esposito name here in Arizona is his top priority and he is not going to let his family down. The one thing he can’t let happen is to let his attraction to Melanie make him lose focus on what is right and not what he wants. When he thinks he can handle both work and Melanie things get a little muddle for Dominic and things are left unsaid between them. It took a close relative’s death to make him see what is important and how he needs to clear the air finally and unburden himself of this secret he’s been keeping. I’m glad that he made attempts to keep Melanie in touch even if it was through other means rather than talking directly to her. Family is important to Dominic and I’m glad he made things right and the ending was a perfect way to show it.

Overall I enjoyed the story very much. It was well written and it had both heat and heart. There was the slow build attraction between Dominic and Melanie, which felt a little too long for me, but definitely worth the wait. Both Dominic and Melanie learned that you can have it all if you set your mind to it and achieve a balance of work and play. Letting go of the past isn’t easy but it sure makes moving forward a whole lot easier when you are carrying less baggage. This was my first story by Cora Brent and I look forward to more stories in the Worked Up series.


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