Thursday Afternoons by Tracey Richardson is a captivating romance that is full of so many great things. There’s sexiness, mystery, friends-to-lovers, and enemies-to-lovers type scenarios. With so much delicious goodness at our fingertips, it’s only fitting you have more than one reviewer give their praise.
Amy Spencer is a surgeon at a hospital in a small Canadian town. She’s extremely talented, and her career and community are the most important things to her. She’s suffered a broken heart, and she still hasn’t fully recovered from it. She can’t ignore her physical needs that aren’t being met, but one-night stands aren’t really her thing. Instead she is willing to meet with a woman she met online for some no-strings-attached sex. It’s the perfect solution for a busy surgeon like Amy.
Ellis Hall doesn’t have time for love and if her past has proved anything it’s that she’s not relationship material. She’s good at one thing, auditing hospitals to see what services and departments can be cut to make them profitable. Her days are spent making decisions that affect hundreds of people. She longs for an escape where she can set all that aside, but, like Amy, she’s not interested in one-night stands. When she decides to meet Amy for an afternoon in a hotel, the sex is more amazing than she expected. If there’s one thing Ellis knows, it’s don’t let go of a good thing. And she plans to hang on to Amy, even if it’s for only a couple of hours a week.
Thursday afternoons become the highlight of both Amy and Ellis’ week, and the arrangement works perfectly. But as feelings start playing into the mix, their two realities begin to collide. What had been the promise of a real relationship is put on ice once Amy and Ellis find themselves on opposite sides of the table.
Will their carefully constructed Thursday afternoons come to a screeching halt? Or will their relationship turn into something neither one of them thought they were looking for?
Victoria: Good Goddess, to say that Amy and Ellis have great chemistry is a huge understatement. It’s clear from the very beginning that the sexual element is there, and it’s enchanting to see their purely physical relationship slowly turn into something very nurturing. When they find themselves dropped into adversarial roles, readers get to watch them start over from scratch.
Amy is so good natured and caring. She’s excellent at what she does and she’s practically the heart of the hospital. She’s confident and cool, so it’s fun to watch Ellis completely disarm her. Amy is like a pendulum throughout the story. One minute she’s mad as hell at what Ellis represents, and the next she’s pining away for the woman who’s stolen her heart. The best part is that Amy completely recognizes what’s going on, yet she seems to be powerless over the pull Ellis has on her.
Ellis is my type of leading lady. She’s smart, beautiful, sexy, and delightfully flawed. (And there are power suits.) She’s used to living a very uncomplicated life. She has a career she excels at, a fat bank account, and no romantic relationships to screw up. But she’s got a lovely, tender side and an earnestness to do the right thing that just melted my heart. The most interesting thing for me was watching Ellis consciously do the internal work necessary to bring about positive change in her life.
Anna: Victoria, your observation is spot-on. Both women are so wrapped up in their jobs, and the time they have together is really the only time they let their guards down. It’s no wonder when Amy discovered Ellis’ true identity she is totally confused on her feelings. On the one hand, she’s angry. On the other, she wants to give into the passion she was beginning to discover with Ellis. And the same goes for Ellis in her feelings for Amy. It’s what both women will wrestle with and need to come to terms with if they have any chance at a possible future.
The Writing Style
Victoria: There’s so much to like about Thursday Afternoons. I thought writing in third person present tense was a bold decision. It’s more intimate than third person past tense, but more objective than writing in first person. It made me feel like I was getting an unbiased telling of what was going on inside Ellis and Amy’s heads, and there’s so much rich backstory to inform each of them. They’re also deeply conflicted women. They’ve got to reconcile what their hearts are telling them while staying true to their professional responsibilities. That leads to a high level of angst and drama which is exactly what I look for in a romance.
Anna: I normally have issues with present tense, but like you, Victoria, I felt it was important to use this style. Not only do you get the real time happenings of both women, but you get their true feelings on the entire relationship as it develops. You get a good sense of the feelings they are experiencing and the passion they have for their careers, their family, and each other.
Victoria: Richardson really brings the heat in this story and I loved it. The story starts out with Amy and Ellis in a purely sexual relationship so that’s to be expected. Once that ends and they find themselves at odds due to Ellis’s work, the slow burn that replaces their Thursday afternoon trysts is just as compelling as the actual sex. The effect they have on each other is heady and Richardson plays it to perfection.
Anna: I agree, Victoria, that was a smart move on Richardson’s part. Starting a relationship in reverse can cause issues, whether it’s happening in reality or in a book. I feel that having them on opposite sides of the table when reality strikes allows them to slow down, explore these developing feelings, and have the love and caring come from a place of honesty, not a place of lust.
Victoria: When I’ve read stories about hospitals at risk of having services cut or being shut down, it’s always been from the point of view of the doctors and hospital staff. It was interesting to see how the companies who audit the hospitals and make recommendations might act if they have the best interests of the communities at heart rather than just the bottom line. Public healthcare is a volatile subject. I liked how Richardson personalized the process by making Ellis the face of fiscal responsibility. I’d like to believe the manner in which Ellis does her job could become the norm rather than the exception.
Anna: It was a nice change to see the business side of hospital staffing. It really made for a great dynamic between Amy and Ellis when that was revealed. I also have to give Richardson mad props for keeping the transition between Amy and Ellis’ alias, and their true identities, organized in such a way that it didn’t feel confusing. I don’t even want to know what kind of brain melt Richardson endured trying to keep all the names and aliases straight, but I’m happy she did to help out her audience.
Victoria: Nothing from me.
Anna: Like every good book I read, I was sad this one had to end.
Victoria: I loved Thursday Afternoons. It’s got so many great things going for it. Amy and Ellis are a dynamic couple. They’re passionate in and out of the bedroom. With passion comes amazing highs and devastating lows. I adored watching them flirt and I adored watching them fight. Richardson’s writing style naturally drew me in and kept me completely engrossed in the plot. There’s no manufactured conflict here that can be resolved with a frank discussion over a cup of coffee. Ellis and Amy’s careers have them at odds and they both have so much at stake. The side characters gave me even more reasons to become invested in the book and their plotlines are seamlessly woven together. I was 100% invested in this story and I couldn’t get enough of its emotional charge. I wish I could remove the story from my memory so I could reread it and experience the rush it gave me all over again.
Anna: Good stories always make you want to go back to the beginning and start again, and this is definitely one of those. It has everything from steamy, lust-filled sex, to dramatic tension and a great slow burn romance between two amazing, beautiful women inside and out. If you’re looking for a book that gives you everything you’re craving at once, then this is positively the book for you.
Excerpt from Thursday Afternoons by Tracey Richardson
“Hi,” the woman says in a low voice that somehow manages to sound sultry and sexy while also shy. “I’m Ellen.” She elegantly offers her hand and Amy shakes it like they’re conducting a business transaction. Which they kind of are, minus the exchange of money.
“A…ah…I’m Abby. Nice to meet you.”
Ellen sheds her bright spring vest and makes a beeline for the minibar. “Mind if I fix a drink?” Her nervousness is a good sign, because in their email exchange, she too claimed never to have done this before.
“Please do.” Amy watches Ellen take tiny sips by the minibar, shakes her head no when Ellen asks her if she’d like one too. “Should we, um, talk first or something?”
Lips that have been painted with a soft and slightly glossy pink lipstick curl slowly into a smile that seems equal parts flirtatious and bashful (how does she do that?). The woman tosses back the rest of her drink in two swallows, peels off her glasses, which land with a soft thus on the coffee table. A clear signal, Amy supposes, that pretense and small talk are over.
“Come here,” Ellen says.
A low rumble begins in Amy’s stomach as she stands before her soon-to-be-lover…
“Kiss me?” Ellen phrases it as a question, and Amy almost declines because who said any of this was about kissing?
“All right.” She’s wrestled patients from the jaws of death, but saying no to a beautiful woman standing in front of her, asking to be kissed? She doesn’t stand a chance.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781642470550
Publisher: Bella Books
Tracey Richardson Online
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