Published by Smartypants Romance on April 14, 2020
Series: Cipher Office #3
Genres: Romantic Comedy, contemporary, Romance
Source: eARC from Publisher
Also in this series: Weight Expectations, Sticking to the Script
Living with her mother seemed like a good idea at the time. But Elliott Donovan’s living arrangements are not working for her anymore. Desperate to get back on her financial feet after a divorce and out from under her mother’s thumb, Elliott takes a job in the child care center at Weight Expectations, a local gym.
It has everything she needs – family friendly hours, more pay than she expected, and a super cute trainer who just happens to have part of his house for rent.
Abel DiSoto was living the good life until his wife walked out taking half of the family income with her. The blow to his ego was bad enough, but after a fire at the gym scattered Abel’s clients, and consequently his commissions, he’s stuck figuring out how to make ends meet, too. Renting out the master suite of his house to his new co-worker seems like an easy solution. They’re both mature adults, they both have eight-year-old daughters, and their work schedules coordinate so they can lend each other a helping hand to ease the burden of single parenthood.
The only downside? Living like a blended family when you’re not actually a family can present some challenges.
Welcome back to Weight Expectations, where the unexpected is likely to happen.
Cutie and the Beast is the third book in the Cipher Office series by M.E. Carter. Cutie and the Beast is a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy series, published by Smartypants Romance. If you are new to Smartypants Romance, here is the quick breakdown of how this publishing company works. Smartypants Romance is the publishing company started by Penny Reid, which as most of you know, is one of my all time favorite romance authors. Smartypants romance brings on new authors to write their own series or stories, and the cool feature is that all of their stories will be set in the Penny Reid universe! I love this idea so, so much. It is perfect for new fans and old fans because we get all new story lines and characters, but we get to see plenty of character crossover. The Cipher Office series is set in Chicago in Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series.
Cutie and the Beast follows Elliot and Abel. Both Elliot and Abel work at the gym Weight Expectations. Abel is a trainer and Elliot works in the daycare. Both of them are single parents, which I am going to be completely honest, is not my favorite trope to read about. But I really enjoyed M.E. Carters last book, so I wanted to give this one a try as well. And I am glad I did, because Elliot and Abel’s romance was funny and super cute. I really enjoyed Cutie and the Beast.
If you will recall from Weight Expectations, there was a fire in the gym. Cutie and the Beast takes place after that fire, and the consequences of that fire. Yes, the gym gets repaired, but that takes time, and not all clients are willing to wait it out. And when trainers work on commissions based on the number of clients they have, Abel’s paycheck takes a big hit. Which leaves him struggling to make ends meet for him and his daughter. Enter a roommate to help with expenses. (hint: the roommate is Elliot!) The blended family aspect of this story was an unexpected surprise for me. I ended up really liking it, though the main stars were Elliot and Abel for me. If you are a fan of single parent romances with plenty of humor and heart, and you like the roommates to more trope (which I do!) then Cutie and the Beast may be a cute book for you to check out. You do not need to read the other books in this series first, but reading them in order has added something extra to my enjoyment.
My Reviews of the Cipher Office Series:
Book one: Weight Expectations
Book Two: Sticking to the Script
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge 2020