A Perfect Balance by Laura Ambrose

Publisher – Penglass Publishing

Price - £2.37 kindle ebook

Published – out now

Emma does not want, or need, a relationship and everything that comes with one. She has her career as a science fiction editor in London keeping her busy, and she needs to overcome her own writer’s block. Every few weeks, she meets the mysterious S and has no-strings-attached dalliances. It’s the nest way to satisfy her needs and wants without all the extra bells and whistles.

Sage has never had a relationship. She’s always been the love-them-and-leave them type. At least until one of the editors walks into the board room on Sage’s first day at her new job – and it’s the anonymous girl she meets in hotel rooms.

They break off their arrangement. Emma used to take Sage’s orders, but now she’s giving them. That Emma doesn’t mind but she’s getting to know the woman behind the mask. Emma is in danger of developing real feelings for Sage, but the other girl has made it clear she’s not girlfriend material.

With the marketing campaign for the biggest debut of the year heating up, there are far too many late nights or trips away that could upset the perfect balance. Is it worth it?

I really enjoyed Laura Ambrose (aka Laura Lam) first entry in her new f/f romance series (reviewed  here) where two SF writers rekindled their relationship at a convention.  This time we have a relationship that is not yet fully realised where two people who we find are clearly made for each other are trying to resist temptation.

Initially we find the two characters are only known to each other as S and Lucky have met over the last five months and settled into a very steamy no strings arrangement.  No sharing of life stories and an emotional detachment which on the face of it is what both these two want. But we soon find S is Sage who has just made an escape from the ambitions of her father and traded a high power well paid financial job for marketing and is now tentatively exploring a life in SF publishing. Trickily we the find Lucky is actually Emma who Sage is assigned to work for to aid the publishing of a brilliant new debut.

So suddenly the carefully crafted walls shift and the two find themselves feeling incredibly vulnerable and exposed in the workplace. They initially decide to just be workplace colleagues, but they find they get on and it turns out they both share a love of science fiction. This allows them both to start to open up to each other and see there is more than a physical connection. But at the same time there are several obstacles in the way. Sage’s father wants her back in the financial world he rules while Emma is fearful of what a relationship in the workplace would mean and, she herself is finding herself at a standstill in where her life goes next being both an editor and writer.

As its set during a publishing campaign the two find themselves constantly around each other, talking and texting and a memorable section in a lovely evocative Edinburgh. The walls start to fall but how far will each other go to be committed. It also gives the reader an insight into book campaigns publishing and has a look at sexism too (both in Sage’s horrible father and a very creepy work colleague).

I really thought this was a lovely read.  Sage and Emma really come across as two lovely humans and watching them bond over more than their physical attraction leads them to something deeper.  Ultimately suggesting what they need really need in each other’s lives to move forward is each other.  Really charming romance and I’m intrigued how the third book will wrap this series up.