Code Red by Amy Noelle
– SUMMARY –
After getting hurt in college by a gorgeous man, Nicole Magette vowed never to risk losing her heart again.
Now she lives a structured and satisfying life. Her work is easy, her friends are her family, and the only consistent men in her life are her two cats, Winchester and Huntington Peabody the Third. She doesn’t date, and she hooks up only with losers—men she has absolutely no risk of falling for. But if she finds herself in danger, she has her old failsafe in place—the Code Red.
In college, she and her four best friends came up with the system as a way to keep away the good-looking bastards that might worm their way past their carefully constructed walls. Seven years later, three of her friends have succumbed to their last Code Reds and are happily married. Now it’s just Nicole and her closest friend, Jen, who are still on their own, and Nic is just fine with that.
That is, until Joshua Daniels is transferred to Nicole’s office from New York and assigned to work with her on a special project. He’s everything she’s avoided and everything she claims she doesn’t want, so why can’t she get him out of her mind? He’s persistent, dangerously handsome, and sexy as sin. In other words, he’s her worst nightmare. She turns to her friends to help her resist Josh’s considerable charms and the inescapable draw she feels every time she gets near him. Can the Code Red save her this time, or will Josh send her perfectly balanced life into chaos?
– REVIEW –
Look out Nicole Magette! She’s falling fast for her new co-worker — so fast she’s sent out a Code Red to her girlfriends in an attempt to rally her troops for moral support lest she succumb to the absolutely charming Josh Daniels. Wait! What is a Code Red, why does Nicole need it and does it really work?
In author Amy Noelle’s debut publication, Code Red, we are introduced to Nicole and her posse — five young female college freshman who’ve bonded over burned relationships with the wrong men. In an attempt to avert any future disastrous relationships, a tequila-fueled plan is developed. All one needs to do is to send out two words: Code Red. Quoting Nicole:
“It’s a support system. Any time one of us encounters a guy who’s dangerous, one who could tempt us and make us forget what jerks they are, we call in the others for reinforcement, who will come running and make sure we don’t give in to temptation.”(p. 20)
But what happens when the right guy comes along? Enter aforementioned hottie, Josh Daniels. Gorgeous, well-mannered and available, Josh is sent from the home office in New York to Nicole’s Chicago division to work specifically with her on a major project. Sharing one office, the sparks fly immediately, but Nicole is wary. Nicole’s philosophy is to “hook up with guys who aren’t very good-looking. They’re grateful for the attention.” (p. 34), and apparently harmless to Nicole’s very wounded heart. Resigned to one-night stands (“no muss — no fuss” p. 140), Nicole has spent the last eight years avoiding any sort of serious relationship, even as she sees members of her support group marry and move on with their lives. Make no mistake – this girl has been hurt.
So, how does our heroine resist Josh Daniels? Author Noelle has written him as an absolutely delectable man, temptation personified. Nicole laments: “He was brought here to tempt me, á la Adam and Eve, and I already had my lips wrapped around the apple” (p. 130). We all swoon with her. But Nicole is determined to hold her course. Early on, Nicole attempts to cut him short, turning down his offer of coffee and citing her preference for the hot-chocolate from a nearby cafe. Josh disappears, only to return with said hot chocolate in hand. Again, swoon-worthy. That Nicole can’t get past her trust issues is problematic, and these lead her into some questionable behaviors and sticky situations that would test the patience of Job. It surely tests the patience of Josh, but, as the saying goes, in the end the patient man must always win. Happily for Nicole and Josh, after a very slow burn, they both win.
Author Amy Noelle has written an enjoyable, romantic novel. It’s a great, light summer read and showcases the author’s talent for writing witty dialogue — the give-and-take between Nicole and Josh sparks with the kind of snappy electricity that is evocative of a Tracy/Hepburn movie. And while the romance between the two major characters is the focus of the novel, it’s the relationship between Nicole and her Code Red friends that delighted this reader. The relationship between the five ladies is well-crafted, and their conversations are replete with witty dialogue that reveals the loving bond between these women. Where Nicole’s character is dynamic and Josh’s is static, it’s the ladies that move this story along. More chick lit than steamy romance, Amy Noelle’s freshman offering is a solid four stars.
* I was gifted a copy of Code Red from TWCS in exchange for an honest review *
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –