Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
Fringe Benefits by Sandy James, the fourth book in The Ladies who Lunch series, is an enjoyable Contemporary Romance about an older heroine who falls for a younger man (a true prince of a guy). But there are some annoying tropes the authors falls back on, such as the hero’s horrible ex-girlfriend trying to get him back, plus the too fast “insta-love” that happens in under 4 months with the main couple. But since Dani and Nate were great to read, I think most readers can get beyond that and enjoy the ride.
Dani is a thirty-one year old high school teacher who enjoys her job and her independence. She’s stuck mentoring the new teacher, some twenty something kid she thinks will be too needy and annoying. She’s in for a surprise when she meets Nate, a twenty-four year old who is very charming, and handsome to boot. Nate is very sweet and kind, so much so that Dani loves being around him. But there is a slight problem. They both realize they are attracted to one another, which almost comes to a head on the first day when they are locked in a closet together. They almost kiss. Dani thinks it’s a really bad idea because she’s essentially his boss, and the age difference is a big elephant in the room. Nate backs off but has an ulterior motive. He really likes Dani, especially the almost eight year age difference because girls his age are too immature. He’s still burned from his high school girlfriend, turned step-sister (sounds WTF but when it’s explained, it’s not so icky). Dani is a mature woman he has connected with and wants to build upon that.
Nate needs a place to live, and Dani offers her basement apartment in her house. She thinks they can be just friends. But the attraction is still there and it continues to grow until they can’t deny it. Soon they’re in a relationship- aka boyfriend and girlfriend, but Dani still has so many issues, especially when Nate’s mother puts in her two cents, and his ex-girlfriend tries everything she can to get Nate back.
Fringe Benefits is a solid romance, mainly because the portrayal of Dani and Nate, including the other characters from the first three books in this series. These are all people you root for. Dani is very cautious while Nate is more willing to take chances. Watching them come to an agreement about their wants and needs leads to a fun read.
The only downside is that the insta-love trope is heavy here and there isn’t much drama to speak of other than the roadblocks Dani believes will ruin her relationship with Nate.
For an easy type of read with a nice main couple, Fringe Benefits hits the spot.