I went into this one mostly blind. Didn't know what it was about and when I opened my Kindle App on my phone (yeah, still no e-reader!) I didn't care. I just needed to read and I was curious of Joanna writing Contemporary. I'll sum it by saying Joanna together with Sally (whom I didn't know) collaborated WONDERFULLY with this one. I can't wait for the next ones in the series. I want to say it was a PLEASURE to read, but it would sound a bit untruthful as some parts were VERY difficult for me to read (and for the characters to endure).
Lewis Hunter is the creator and writer of the hit TV show "Leeches". He is brilliant at what he does, but he is also the worst boss and since he needs a PA, they mostly don't last the week leaving Lewis even more frustrated. When he meets Aaron Page for the first time he immediately feels it's a match made in heaven and even though Aaron came originally for just a week he stayed for three years, becoming invaluable to Lewis (and the show). They work great together, Aaron has the best ideas and he made something very special for the show when he bluntly asked Lewis on their first day not to kill off a side character. It impacted the show tremendously but it had more undercurrents than just that.
Aaron has been a fan of the show even before getting the job, he is also an avid Fanfic writer well known in the Fandom. It might just be a PA job but working with Lewis is everything he could have wished for, even if originally just for a week. Getting to know Lewis, seeing the impact he has on him and the show, makes him want to stay even more even if it means putting aside or even considering his future. Also while others had a difficult time working with Lewis, it was somehow quiet easy for Aaron to understand Lewis' POV and his little quirks. His attraction to his boss annoys him but he is determined to ignore it as it's more than obvious they are a great team together!
Lewis values Aaron too much for words. That's why he made everything in his power not just to keep him, but make him comfortable and giving him the best conditions he can. But as he made it clear from day one - there couldn't be anything further so they both keep their relationship focused on work and nothing more. There is very little they know of one another outside of work but somehow it feels like enough for both of them. When Lewis is offered to made the series for the US audience he at first feels a bit uncomfortable to have Aaron together with him (and his boss Toni) at a weekend with Charlie Alexander - the senior executive at the company who intended to be in charge of the US production.
Lewis has enough reasons not wanting Aaron there, firstly because of where Charlie Alexander wants to take the series. He is more than reluctant, and he knows Aaron's reaction won't be any better (probably even worse). Also the guy is a serious douche and his idea of "weekend retreat" is bound to be more torture than fun. But Lewis also recognizes that if there is someone who can help him get through this weekend it's Aaron.
The synopsis calls this one a "rom-com", lucky I didn't pay attention to that when I started reading.. as I really don't understand where was the comedy especially in that certain weekend. Everything that happened there was HORRIBLE and irresponsible and frankly unethical on so many levels but that's the kind of guy Charlie Alexander is. They just needed to survive the weekend and while they did, it also brought to the surface raw feelings and truths Lewis and Aaron weren't in a place to properly dissect - personally and with each other.
So they both took their time and did exactly that. Aaron was more in tuned with himself and what he wanted from Lewis even while he wasn't sure it's something Lewis can actually give but at least he was honest with himself and did what was right for him. I really appreciated that about him. While Lewis could be blatantly honest, it was on the more "superficial" day-to-day things. Understanding his emotions (and what to do them) was a totally different matter.
I really enjoyed Aaron and Lewis' relationship. The friendship, the tension, the way they got each other even if there were quite a lot of things they didn't know about one another. Lewis could be self centered and even mean, but he wasn't this way with Aaron AT ALL. It was obvious with everything he said and did how much he values him. Aaron made Lewis a case study. Lewis hadn't realized until the very end just HOW well Aaron knew and understood him. It's what made him realize even more he couldn't live without him by his side - and not as just his PA.
There's probably more I could say about this book but I think I've said enough. It was emotional and raw in the best possible way and while I wouldn't consider it a comedy it was entertaining and very engaging. I wonder if we'll get Owen's story (Lewis' brother). I feel like there's a lot to explore there as well.
29-30 October 2021