When Hadley Foster gets a call from a coworker asking him to temporarily take her job, he agrees because she is so sick . But Hadley doesn’t know much about the job, only that he’s to be a personal assistant for a CEO of a company. Helping a pregnant woman who fainted is not the start to the day that he expected, and Sebastian LeClerc, though helpful in that moment, turns out to be grumpy and rude. Hadley doesn’t imagine working for the man will go well.
The more Hadley gets into the job, the more he realizes what a mess the company is. The secretary is unhelpful and clearly has something against Sebastian, and it’s only after Hadley does some digging and puts pieces together does he realize that Sebastian clearly doesn’t know what to do with a PA or what a PA can do for him. Fortunately, Hadley is not one to take crap from anybody, and he tactfully inserts himself into the day-to-day business to make things run smoother.
Sebastian is CEO of the company his father started, and the level of stress he encounters is overwhelming. LeClerc Robotics grew by leaps and bounds, and he’s floundering. Hadley, with his smiles, sunshine, and sass, is a godsend. And though they start off on the wrong foot, it’s clear that Hadley is indispensable. Of course, the fact that Sebastian is attracted to Hadley is both a blessing and a curse. Neither man is willing to mix business with pleasure. But the more they work together, the more Sebastian wants Hadley. And the more confused Hadley gets about his feelings, as he sees the man behind Sebastian’s outward attitude.
When Sebastian experiences a health scare, Hadley steps up to take care of him, and their attraction to one another explodes. Beginning a friends with benefits type relationship probably isn’t smart, but both men keep it out of the workplace. With Hadley’s help, Sebastian comes to realize he’s not happy with his life and that changes need to be made. And that’s just the first step. Included in that is Sebastian’s need to make Hadley happy, as well. With each passing day, feelings are growing between them. Both men went into this with no strings attached. Neither man wanted to fall in love. But there’s no denying their chemistry, and certainly no denying their feelings. Not if they want forever.
Hired: Hadley is the second book in Nora Phoenix’s Foster Brothers series, though it can be read as a standalone. Though Jaren and Reid, from the first book, make an appearance, as well as the other two men who make up Hadley’s family, it’s not necessary to have read the first book for this one to make sense. That being said, it’s nice to have the continuation, as each character is introduced in Jilted: Jaren and their personalities are growing as the stories continue.
This book had some of my favorite tropes, most especially “the grumpy one is soft for the sunshiney one.” Hadley’s patience is beautiful, and his sunny disposition is a balm to Sebastian. Sebastian also has valid reasons for his grumpiness, some of which are intrinsic to his personality and some which are due to his circumstance. The author really plays up the opposites attract here too, in more than just the MCs’ personalities. Sebastian is very rich, though his family doesn’t come from old money, whereas Hadley is barely scraping by. Sebastian comes from a loving and supportive family who mean the world to him; Hadley was raised in foster care after being removed from parents who couldn’t even be bother to remember to feed him, let alone remember that he existed. So there are a lot of differences between the two, but Phoenix does a good job of bridging the gaps and having them find a middle ground of understanding.
One thing both men have in common is trust issues, though it stems from very different places. Here was a bit of sticking point for me, because even though it’s mentioned, it’s not shown particularly well. From my vantage point as a reader, Hadley and Sebastian had very little problem trusting each other, though it was brought up a couple of times. The blips were small and resolved with a single conversation and, though I love to see good communication, I was a little disappointed that this seemed like it was supposed to be a bigger issue for them, but it wasn’t in the narrative that way.
But the chemistry between these two? It’s off the charts hot and sparked and sizzled right from the start. It started as purely physical, and then morphed into emotional as well. I loved they way they fit together, and the way they balanced each other out. Though Hadley and Sebastian both stated they were keeping things only to a friendship, it was clear it was so much more, and each scene between the only solidified that more. I loved watching their relationship progress, as it feel natural for these two characters. They were sexy as all heck together and pushed all the right buttons. They communicated well and were honest and open with one another. Their romance was well done and really nice to see.
All in all, this one is another winner for me. The narrative style is easy to get lost in, the pacing was spot on, and other than a small issue with that one plot point for me, I really loved watching Hadley and Sebastian fall in love and find their forever with each other. And I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.