Author: Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Ione Butler
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 2 minutes
Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Take A Hint, Dani Brown is the second novel in the Brown Sisters trilogy that follows the middle sister, 27-year-old Danika (Dani). She is highly ambitious and working to obtain her PhD. After a few failed relationships, she has decided they may not be for her and friends with benefits might be the best solution. The reasonings behind this decision do make a lot of sense and I like how Dani’s story fit her character where it did not seem forced. As a bisexual black woman who was sure in who she is, Dani was a compelling main character.
Zafir (Zaf) Ansari, a security guard in Dani’s building and her work friend, loves everything about Dani where she is perfect to him. As a former pro rugby player, he also runs a non-profit organization that teaches young boys about mental health and toxic masculinity in sports. After the loss of his father and brother, he is still dealing with the grief and PTSD in his everyday life. During a fire drill gone wrong, Zaf ends up rescuing Dani and the internet labels them as #DrRugbae.
Compared to some other novels out there, this one portrays Zaf in the more romantic role and Dani in the more cynical one. This is not the only one out there as I have read quite a few in recent years, but the writing worked well for these characters in each role. The rise of Dani and Zaf’s hashtag gives Zaf the idea that this could be good publicity for his non-profit. As Dani is not interested in a relationship, but is interested in a sexual one, the two of them come up with the fake-dating plan.
This story follows a similar pattern of the first novel where the sister is introduced, the love interest interacts with them, an event brings them together, there is something that breaks them apart, and then the HEA. While this is a simplistic representation of the outline, I am a fan of the romance novel formula. My own issue with this one was the part where they break apart felt a little forced, especially compared to the first novel. Up until this point, I did enjoy the two of them getting to know each other and how they did not force each other to change. They grew a lot as characters without completing becoming other people, which I greatly enjoyed.
Overall, this story was interesting. While the general concept is not completely probable, it is a fun romance novel theme. Dani and Zaf made a cute couple, although I would have loved to know more about Zaf originally falling for Dani and see this part of the story. As with the first novel, Chloe, Dani, and Eve are together in this novel and the reader can follow their relationships as sisters. While they seem to have individual personalities in their own stories, there are a few moments where the two who are secondary do not get to shine as much. Considering this is the second novel, it did not completely align with the first novel. I will have to see how the third novel plays out as I cannot wait to read Eve’s story!
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