Title: Out of the Office
Author: Louisa Masters
LGBTQ+ Category: MM/Gay
About The Book
Whoever thought achieving career goals could be boring? Not Duncan Witten, but here he is at forty-one, in his dream job… and hating it. Throw it all away for a challenge? Yes, please!
If only Dunc had known his challenging new job came with Paul Hanks, a man who redefines “stubborn.” They need to work together to meet targets, but thanks to Dunc’s idiot predecessor, Paul won’t take his calls or reply to emails.
There’s only one solution: travel across the country and confront Paul face-to-face. It’s time to take things out of the office.
This is an 18,000 word stand-alone novella with a HFN ending.
Before picking up this book, I wasn’t familiar with writer Louisa Masters, but since I like other Australian authors, I was eager to discover a new Aussie writer. Fortunately, Masters didn’t disappoint. In fact, I’ll be on the lookout for her coming books.
Office politics and a wily manager combine to weave a winning net to capture love in Out of the Office. Narrator Duncan Witten gets talked into signing a two year contract as resource manager for a multimillion dollar project to straighten out a disastrous mess left by incompetent predecessors.
He inherits a job rife with obstacles not the least of which is Paul Hanks, whom he describes as a “straight-down-the-line blokey bloke.” While he disdains upper management, Paul is loved by everyone who works for him. Duncan’s headaches begin when Paul refuses to meet with him, ducking out of the office whenever Duncan calls.
Duncan is nothing if not tenacious. When Paul’s assistant reports that he’s out in the field and won’t be back for quite a while, Duncan takes off for the outback.
The romance here is between two well-meaning guys just trying to do their jobs. When they both recognize that, the sparks fly.
If there is a flaw to this novella, it’s that the story, like its two protagonists, is fast and brisk without a long, drawn out courtship and pages of introspection. Personally, that’s my preferred type of romance.
Also, some readers might find fault with the amount of time the writer spends explaining the office setup and the background to getting Australia’s rural areas online. However, I saw those as a plus because it fleshed out the two protagonists in a fresh, new way.
Duncan and Paul are regular, down-to-earth guys whose lives aren’t ruled by singles clubs and dating but by doing the best they can at their everyday jobs. They are both dedicated, respected, and worthy of finding partners who can appreciate and love them for something other than their good looks and ability to party.
Although the blurb says that this story has a happy for now ending, it’s perfectly believable that Duncan and Paul have found true love. There might not be flowers, candy, and birds singing in their lives, but readers will be able to tell they have a solid core on which to build a peaceful and fulfilling future. As I said at the beginning of this review, author Witten is now on my radar, and I can’t wait to read her next book.
Pat is a writer and reviewer of MM romance who currently lives in Sacramento, California