When Scarlet Cooper takes a new job as a nanny, she assumes she’s going to work for the rich couple who hired her. But instead of pulling up to their million-dollar estate, she finds herself on the front porch of a humble farmhouse, looking into the eyes of dark and brooding single dad, Weston Dawson.
It’s bad enough that Weston doesn’t have a fortune to charm out of him, but he’s also a cop. After marrying his high school sweetheart only to have her up and leave weeks after their baby was born, Weston has sworn off women for life. All that matters now is taking care of his son, Jackson.
If anyone can break down the tough exterior of the former soldier, it’s Scarlet. But just when she’s close to getting exactly what she wants, she’s faced with a whole new challenge, which just might be the biggest con she’s ever pulled: pretending she doesn’t love him.
Side Hustle is a standalone single dad romance and is the third book in the Dawson Family series.
Romance |New Adult | Contemporary
***Received an Advanced Readers Copy from Emily Goodwin in exchange for an honest review***
Insert screaming face here – seriously, wam-bam thank you ma’am, please give me some more! Emily, you did again, just spectacular. Take all the damn stars and give me more!
Right off the bat, something I wasn’t expecting was to actually enjoy reading a nanny-single dad romance trope. I have read them before, they are cute, but nothing ever strikes me as a WOW factor in these types of dynamics, but Emily just shattered this utterly and completely. Honestly I think the biggest issues I have with my more least favorite tropes is that the characters have to have a built in dynamic that as a reader, easy to relate for starters and secondly, the build of the romance has to be believable, if I can’t see the characters in my mind, then there is no connection. I am more prone to liking these types of tropes because I have a fetish of that boss-employee authority figure romances; there is this forbidden, tension filled and always delicious chemistry, this is what I need! So when I say Emily took the cake, this woman flipping baked it, wrapped it up nicely and fed it to me in the most scrumptious of ways, Side Hustle is untouchable in so many aspects as it delivered.
And speaking of characters, oh my lanta, I loved Wes. As I read Side Hustle I could actually imagine him sitting in my circle of friends, he was that believable. He had this understanding type of personality with a stern presence. It is hard to describe without some spoilage, but honestly when it came to his family and son, no question about it, Wes was a momma bear with the biggest heart. He encompasses all delicious things that wet dreams are made of – simple as that. And Scarlet, just wow. I really enjoyed her personality, and I honestly was not expecting to, I know, insane right? But she truly grows on you, as a reader you cannot help but show a level of sympathy towards her, but she was just so strong willed, something I personally enjoy most about contemporary romance females. She doesn’t allow herself to be weak nor inferior, instead she is incredibly empowering. No, she isn’t the most legal of means in situations, but she doesn’t let things bring her down, she is calm, collective and downright passionate.
Because their personalities had such a straight and narrow mindset, they just meshed, I felt they were so similar. Both had this protective bubble for their worlds, they were guarded yet had this softness about them while building a sort of respect between them as nanny verses employer. I liked how it was slow, yet tension filled between them. They grew to laugh and enjoy their company which really made their chemistry real. As the romance developed into the direction we all know is happening, the chemistry was so hot, it was steaming up my room. Their scenes together were either cute, adorable or beyond panty-dropping sexy. And can we just take a moment to say WHEW, let me fan my lower region for a smidge because those sex scenes were downright hot… yeah I am still fanning myself. Even after the drama unfolded, the web of lies Scarlet was harboring really surprised me, after admitting her faults, the lies, her situation, Wes honestly thought of her as the same Scarlet who undoubtedly stole his heart, beautiful and very much his family.
Jackson, Wes’s son, was also an interesting treat. He was definitely a secondary character that was very believable. Yet another aspect that surprised me, I don’t even know if I could consider him secondary because he was so built into Scarlet and Wes that he was basically a main character. I suppose Jackson almost acted like a medium between Wes and Scarlet’s romance, giving a little break between the tension chemistry and helped focus on the factor that this is a nanny-single dad romance.
Overall, wow. I said it before and I will say it over and over, Emily Goodwin has created a stalker. Cannot get enough of her writing style, she absolutely blows me away! From her heartwarming romantic entanglements, to the deliciously heated couples, right down to the twist of believable situations that either brings tears to my eyes or a smile to my lips. Just perfection. Side Hustle was absolutely phenomenal, Emily has given me hope that there are actually amazing nanny-single dad romances. This romance made my heart swoon, I felt so much of a connection towards both Wes and Scarlet that I had nothing but happy thoughts, one that left such a cheesy feel good smile plastered on my face even after hours of finishing.
Now, who is ready for Logan? I have a feeling it is a ‘Best Friends to Lovers’, and I am dying to see if Emily can continue to make me a believer, we all know that is my absolute least favorite trope and I am gushing at the anticipation.