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All the Swoon Feels: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

A 2020 fave for sure!

by Talia Hibbert
Series: The Brown Sisters #2

Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: 
June 23rd 2020 by Avon
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★★★
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Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral...

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
This is my first novel by Talia and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! It went on my list of fave reads of 2020 and a 5-star! You know how picky I am assigning those two classifications to a book, so yes, this book was that good!

"Oshun, I need a regular source of orgasms."

One of my top three favorite tropes is fake-relationship, and even better when they're already friends! This trope came about when there's a drill happening where Danika works and she ends up being stuck in an elevator. Zaf, the security guard managing this drill notices Dani never made it out. He goes in all macho-man, acting as if this was a real thing. He saves her from being stuck and proceeds to pick her up bridal-style and carry her out of the building. What they don't know is they're being recorded, and soon after, they go viral.

She found herself wanting to kiss the broad curve of his nose. In a purely abstract manner, of course. In reality, Dani would never do something so pointless. Faces were for sitting on, not for kissing.

Dani is dead-set on no relationships. From her experience, she's a robot, incapable of loving, tending and caring for someone else. So this fake-relationship which could possibly come with orgasms is just what she needs. What she didn't count on was how understanding, loving, and accepting Zaf is.

"When you ask me things like that, Danika, it makes me think someone hasn't treated you right."

I adored Zaf so freaking much! He had me swooning throughout the entire novel. I think what helps is that he reads romance novels (I'm such a sucker for men who read them and aren't ashamed of admitting it) because he totally knew what he was doing. Zaf melted my heart. He has such a caring nature. He even has an organization called Tackle It to help young kids. Zaf is also special in my eyes. He shows so much vulnerability throughout the story, sharing his grief and anxiety. Even with his own stuff to deal with, he's still patient with Danika and supports her.

When the video goes viral, Zaf's family sees this as a way to bring attention to his organization. This is where we get introduced to his family, which I also adored! His niece, sister-in-law and friend are so amazing and supportive and motivate him to possibly fake-date Danika, the girl he's been crushing on for a while. I just love how Zaf is such a grumpy to everyone, except Dani. He basically melts at the sight of her.

"I'm the catch of the century on paper, if not in reality, [...] No one's going to believe you've been blessed with my affection if you stand there glaring at everything like the world pissed on your pillow."

The author definitely brought the diversity to this one. We have Danika, a black, bisexual, and curvy PhD student, and we have Zaf, a British Pakistani Muslim, who's a former Rugby player. Not only is it diverse, but I LOVE that Danika loves and accepts herself. She's the kind of confident I wish to be. She totally owns her body and her beautiful.

"For future reference, there's never any need to emphasize my attractiveness. As you say, it's already an established fact."

There's so much more I'd love to say about this novel, but I'll probably spoil it. This book definitely will live in my heart. There's so much to it: the diversity, family, friendship, acceptance, learning to take care of oneself, being open, mental health, etc. It really packs it all and flows so smoothly. Talia Hibbert has made me a convert. I now want to read everything she has ever written!

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