Earlier this year, I enjoyed Sharon C. Cooper‘s novel Business Not As Usual. Now the male protagonists’s sister gets her own love story with In It to Win It, a second chances romance with a little friendly competition over a real estate deal.
Special thanks to the publicists at Penguin Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!
Morgan Redford and Drake Faulkner dated in college, but she broke his heart when she suddenly left without even saying goodbye. Now, a decade later, the two find each other bidding on the same property for their respective businesses. It’s an unorthodox and drawn-out process that involves some competition, but instead of seeing each other as rivals, Morgan and Drake are thinking about rekindling what they once had. Will their relationship work out this time? Or will Morgan disappear on Drake all over again?
As with Business Not As Usual, In It to Win It is a sweet and funny romance with characters who are ambitious, if a bit silly at times. If you read the previous book, you’ll remember Morgan Redford as Karter’s younger sister. She’s dabbled in several careers since dropping out of college, and is now running a charitable organization to help foster kids transition into adulthood. It’s been 10 years since she’s seen her college boyfriend Drake Faulkner. At the time, he’d lost his parents and suddenly became a sort of father figure to his toddler siblings, twins Aiden and Addison. In the past decade, he’s earned his degree and become a successful real estate developer and self-made millionaire.
Morgan and Drake are surprised to reunite at a real estate bidding meeting, of all places. Both want to buy the same property for their businesses, but they’ll have to jump through some hoops before the seller makes a decision. Morgan wants to apologize to Drake for disappearing all those years ago, but he’s still hurt and angry over it. However, the two tentatively rekindle a friendship, and they quickly escalate into wanting a second chance on their relationship.
The book is labeled as a romantic comedy, and the humor style here largely draws from the characters being clumsy or unlucky. In the first chapter, Morgan is doing a TikTok dance (which is never mentioned again) and her pants split open. A few times she falls down somewhere public, or gets her high heels stuck in the mud. Morgan and Drake get caught kissing in a few awkward moments. These rather physical blunders aren’t my preferred style of humor, and they happen enough in this novel to feel overdone. Morgan in particular also comes across as immature early on in the book, but luckily that side of her fades away.
What I liked more in In It to Win It is how Drake and Morgan feel like a realistic and respectful couple. Sure, Drake is resentful early on, but he’s mature enough and kind enough to accept Morgan’s explanation and move forward. They go into their new relationship with caution, better communication, and clearer goals.
The business side of things is another strong point. We get some glimpses into what they each do, especially with Morgan’s new charity. And while both are competing for the same property, I appreciate that neither sees the other as a rival. Drake and Morgan each want to win the property bid, but if they don’t, they genuinely want the other to win instead. They support each other and want to see the other have professional success.
I was worried what the final act conflict would be. A fight over the property? A repeat of Morgan’s previous disappearing act? I was happy to see that it isn’t something overly dramatic or ridiculous. It’s something important that they must contend with, but they both handle it well and are better for it.
In It to Win It also highlights family and friendship. Karter and Dreamy both make appearances here (and move their relationship to the next level!), and we get to see Drake’s brother/guardian relationship with his now teenaged twin siblings. Both Morgan and Drake have close friends who look out for them and advise caution at times and encouragement at others.
Whereas Business Not As Usual had a magical realism element and got into some heavier issues, In It to Win It is much more based in solid reality and is overall lighter. It’s a low-tension love story with a couple that makes sense together.
In It to Win It is a cute, fun romance about second chances, growing up, and wanting your partner to be successful. Morgan and Drake make a sweet couple, and while some parts early on were silly, in the end I really enjoyed their love story. I hope more characters in this world will get their romances, too—maybe Dreamy’s cousin can be next? Either way, I’ll be looking for more from Sharon C. Cooper.
Get the Book
You can buy In It to Win It here – it will be available on December 13th as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
|In It to Win It by Sharon C. Cooper|
|Series||Business Not As Usual (#2)|
|Number of Pages||336|
|Format I Read||ebook (NetGalley)|
|Original Publication Date||December 13, 2022|
Two entrepreneurs compete for a property, but secure the biggest win of all—each other—in this second chance romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper.
Spoiled, fickle, and flighty are only a few adjectives that have been used to describe Morgan Redford. She’s never had to worry about money, but she’s determined to build a career on her own and do something meaningful with her life—by helping children who are aging out of the foster care system. She has her eyes on a property that a family friend is selling, which is perfect for these young adults to live in, but her competition is someone she never expected…
When Los Angeles real estate developer Drake Faulkner learns that his eccentric mentor is selling property that is perfect for his portfolio, he jumps at the chance to buy it. But he soon learns the billionaire has other ideas: buyers must compete in an Iron Man competition of sorts for the property. Drake refuses to play along with this ridiculous demand…until he finds out Morgan, his ex who left him years ago without a word, is one of the potential buyers. No way is he letting her—Little Miss Self-Absorbed—win the property he wants. Bitter? Yes. Petty? Probably. But as the gauntlet of games heats up and forces them to face the past, they are met with a pull that feels all too familiar.
Now, if they could only keep their eyes on the prize and off each other—but who’s to say they can’t do both?
About the Author
Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books, Sharon C. Cooper loves anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of Romance Slam Jam Emma Awards for Author of the Year 2019, Favorite Hero 2019 (INDEBTED), Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES), Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (ALL YOU’LL EVER NEED), and BRAB (Building Relationships Around Books) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon isn’t writing, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net
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