Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden is the first book in Brayden’s Soho Loft series. Not only is it my favourite book in the series, it’s my favourite of Brayden’s books (and yes, I’ve read them all).
Brooklyn Campbell loves to drive fast, has her family of choice in her three best friends, and loves working with them at their small but mighty boutique ad agency, Soho Savvy. Kiss the Girl opens on one of her weirder days, when she gets a speeding ticket, receives a call that her birth mother would like to initiate contact with her, and has her car towed when she parks it illegally while running in to a printer to grab some materials. Glass in hand, she’s about to drown her sorrows in a nice white at a trendy wine bar across the street when she remembers her wallet was in her car. Luckily there’s a beautiful woman willing to pay who turns out to be just the right amount of flirty and an excellent kisser.
It’s only when Brooklyn and Mallory show up to pitch for a huge Foster’s Foods campaign the next day when she finds out that the excellent kisser is none other than Jessica Lennox, head of their biggest rival who’s also vying for the same campaign. Brooklyn and Jessica know it’s a bad idea to flirt any further, but the more they run into each other, the less they can help it.
The characters are complex, but easily relatable. I liked the balance between Brooklyn’s friendly, laid back self, and her guarded nature after being raised in foster homes and a group home. The vulnerability in feeling so deeply, yet without the willingness to give herself permission to do so is conveyed well and my heart broke for her when she found out the truth about her birth family.
Jessica is smart and capable, and I like that she leans into the rumours about her cutthroat corporate ways, because it’s a great example of how women sometimes have to do things a little differently to succeed in the workplace. Her kindness and sensitivity with both Brooklyn and Ashton are to her credit, and although there’s less focus on her arc, it’s certainly there and done well.
As important as the relationship between Brooklyn and Jessica is, there’s also a huge emphasis on friendship, because Hunter, Samantha, and Mallory are the most important people in Brooklyn’s life. Almost every interaction between them is fun to read (unless it’s not supposed to be) and is a great example of how the people we surround ourselves with can become the family we’ve always needed.
The Writing Style
Melissa Brayden is at the top of her game, with Kiss the Girl having an easy, breezy style that looks impossibly effortless. The banter is so good, the flirting delicious, and I dare you to find better kissing elsewhere.
Despite all of the lightness, there’s still something deeply moving in scenes like the one that finds Brooklyn and Jessica sitting around the table with Brooklyn’s mother, father, sister, and brother, all of them learning how wrong they were when each imagined the other over the years. The emotional weight makes the happy ending pay off so much more than it would have otherwise.
Oh that kissing. Quick, smart, fun dialogue. Deep feelings. I love everything about this book.
The title gets the stupid song from The Little Mermaid in my head for weeks after each reread.
Also, I wanted to eat chocolate the whole time. This is a series-wide con, not one that is only specific to the book.
This is one of my all time favourite romances and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I’ve read it several times and expect to keep coming back to it for years to come.
Excerpt from Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden
A silence. But the comfortable kind, which was kind of nice. Brooklyn decided to enjoy it and the wine. Already she was feeling infinitely lighter as the stress from the day ran off her. She sat back in her chair and traced the rim of her glass. “So do you live around here?”
“Just around the corner actually.”
“With your very handsome husband?”
Jessica met her eyes. “Negative.”
“Yikes. Not since early college.”
Brooklyn caught the implication and whoa; this shifted things a bit. With this new information, her intrigue level shot up a thousand percent. “This just gets more interesting as it goes.”
“Doesn’t it? What about you? Madly in love with your doorman?”
Brooklyn shook her head and almost had to laugh at the thought of her and Sly. “He’s a nice guy, but no. I haven’t dated anyone since my last girlfriend broke up with me eight months ago. I wasn’t, as she put it, ‘emotionally present in the relationship.’ It’s something I’m working on. ”
Jessica’s lips parted almost imperceptibly when she said the word girlfriend, and now there was this little gleam in her eye. Yeah, they were so on the same page.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626390713
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Melissa Brayden Online
- Melissa Brayden on Facebook
- Melissa Brayden on Twitter
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