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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Review and Giveaways: Fringe Benefits (The Ladies Who Lunch) by Sandy James

This is fine writing and a good romance but certain aspects don’t suit my tastes.
Fringe Benefits (The Ladies Who Lunch)
by Sandy James

  • File Size: 1246 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Forever Yours (April 21, 2015)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • ASIN: B00RTY0X7K
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Small Town
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0 (see review for specifics on rating)

Book Description
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.
As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn't have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance-or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won't be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .
Nate may be fresh out of school, but he's confident in his teaching skills-and in his feelings for Dani. But while she's everything he's ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff-and his age-may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher's lounge and surrender to what's meant to be?
"Sweet, endearing and delightful...Sometimes you just need that heartfelt, hometown romance and Fringe Benefits hit the spot." ~ Beth, Tome Tender, 5 stars

Danielle is the last of the Ladies Who Lunch to settle down with Mr. Right. She is a 32 year old school teacher who has achieved the head of the English Department through dedication and planning. Dani has a tendency towards control and she had her last day before school started all planned out until the new teacher arrived. Her principal calls her to the office, introduces her to the gorgeous hunk, Nate, and turns him over for Dani to prepare him for the next day.

Nate is excited to land his first teaching position and although he is confident in his skills he is flustered at having only one day to get his room and lessons prepared. He is very pleased that Dani is able to help him as he is smitten at first sight and glad to spend time getting to know her. Nate may be younger but he has his first love, broken-heart behind him and is ready to go for what he wants – which is Dani. He just has to figure out how to convince her to get over the age and ‘boss’ issues and gain her trust so she can loosen up her controls. Moving into her basement apartment gives him opportunities to woe her to his side.

Unfortunately Dani has other major concerns that will have to be addressed sooner or later. And
Nate’s ex-girlfriend makes an unexpected play to rekindle their relationship which adds one more obstacle to his relationship with Dani.

I liked the naturalness of the primary characters, Dani and Nate. The chemistry is hot and the issues are real to life. Dani’s friends, the Ladies Who Lunch, and their husbands make a nice support system and Nate’s mother, stepfather and grandpa add some interference as good secondary characters. I enjoy Ms. James writing style which makes for smooth, easy and quick reading.

My disappointment with this book was two fold. The book, especially the beginning, is liberally peppered with unnecessary words that I consider swear words. I know they have grown increasingly acceptable but I don’t like them and it effects my reading pleasure. The other issue is that the sex scenes are fairly graphic. They are done in a loving situation but by the fourth or fifth one I just skipped those pages as I wasn’t interested in the details of their bed sport.

I have enjoyed several of Ms. James’ books in the past and I looked at my review of Sealing the Deal which did not note these concerns although I did say the encounters were "bold". If the author and her editors have decided that her books need more spice through swear words and graphic sex then I guess I will have to take her off my reading list which is too bad. I am sure many readers won’t be bothered by these issues and will really enjoy the otherwise warm (I wouldn't term this as "sweet") and well-written romance. The story and romance deserve a 4.0 or better but the 3.75 rating reflects my reaction of the language and detailed sex.

I received this title from Hachette/Forever for an honest review as part of blog tour blitz . This qualifies for NetGalley Challenge.

Buy Links:
About the author:

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband. She's a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.

Social Media Links:
     This will be a great story to tell the kids one day.     Why that ridiculous thought kept tumbling through Nate’s head was beyond him. But it did.
     Your mom and I got locked in a supply closet together. That’s when we decided to start dating.
     There was a stack of papers they’d used to play what seemed like a million games of tic-tac-toe, which had been followed by hangman. Over an hour had passed, and there was no sign of the custodian.
     Funny, but he no longer minded losing all that time to get things ready for the first day of school. Instead, he found himself drawn to his pretty, witty boss.
     He recognized her perfume. Angel. Once, he’d gone to the trouble of picking a perfume he thought was the perfect scent and bought his fiancée what the salesman called a “recruitment set.” The bundle of Angel products had everything from the perfume in a star-shaped bottle to body lotion.
     Kat had hated it.
     Obviously Dani liked it as much as he did. Everything about her appealed to him and—Jesus have mercy. She was his boss. So why did he keep forgetting that?
     “My legs are getting stiff.” She struggled to stand, groping for one of the shelves. A hiss fell from her lips. “S---.”
     The pain on her face hit Nate hard, and he grabbed her arm to help steady her. “What’s wrong?”
     “Cramp. Leg cramp.” She leaned heavily on him as she got to her feet and immediately stuck out her right leg, pointing and flexing her foot. “Damn, that smarts.”
     “Where?” He didn’t want to start pawing her leg, but he wanted to help.
     “Calf.” Dani’s face tightened into a grimace again.
     Nate eased down on one knee and started rubbing her leg.
     “Nice knot you’ve got there.”
     “I think I’m dehydrated.” As he kept working on the knot, she flexed and extended her foot. “Left my water in my room.”
     “Yeah, well, neither of us expected to be here so long.” The muscle relaxed under his kneading fingers. “Getting better?”
     So why couldn’t he stop touching her? When it dawned on him that he wanted to trail his fingers up her leg, to her slender thigh and beyond, he slowly stood. Her eyes were locked with his, and tension rose between them as he gently put his hands on her waist, easing her forward.
     Her head cocked just enough to show that she would allow him to kiss her. With a smile, he lowered his face to hers. With a loud rattle of the lock, the door suddenly swung open, and the sixty-something custodian stared at them wide-eyed.
     “What in the hell are you two doing?”

THE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #1)
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . . 

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED by Sandy James (July 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #2)
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Buy Links:

SEALING THE DEAL by Sandy James (November 4, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #3)
After losing her sister, Bethany Rogers needs a shoulder to lean on more than ever-though she never expects that shoulder to belong to her new boss . . . 
Buy Links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to the Rafflecopter giveaway I get to give One Winner at this blog
an ecopy of Fringe Benefits 
from the publisher through NetGalley.

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries comment on this review, OR
visit THE AUTHOR'S Website and tell me something you like/learned there.

* This contest is open Worldwide - whoever can receive ebook through NetGalley.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) May 2, 2015.
Winners are asked to respond, within 72 hours, by the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. the author owns a small racing stable

  2. Sandy and her husband own a small racing stable of Standardbred Harness horses.


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