Take a Hint, Dani Brown
by Hibbert, Talia

A young woman agrees to fake-date her friend after a video of him "rescuing" her from their office building goes viral.

*Starred Review* Hibbert continues her wickedly funny romantic comedy series, The Brown Sisters, by following Get a Life, Chloe Brown (2019) with a magical friends-to-lovers tale that brings together a brainy and bewitching PhD student who is afraid of commitment with a gruff and husky security guard who is a hopeless romantic. Despite their obvious chemistry and the fact that they flirt every day at work, they are fundamentally unsuited. Fate intervenes when Zaf gallantly rushes to rescue Dani when she is trapped in an elevator, resulting in a heart-melting viral video of him carrying her out like a knight holding his ladylove. They decide to capitalize on their sudden internet fame by faking a relationship so that Zaf's children's charity can get some much needed funding, but soon their public displays of pretend-affection transform into private moments of intensely hot passion. Dani and Zaf's ability to finally push past the fear of rejection and cope with depression and anxiety, as well as their devilishly good dialogue, make for engaging and authentic diverse characters. Hibbert is a rising star, and this tale will appeal to all contemporary romance fans, including those who enjoy British romantic comedies. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Can a bearded, romance-reading, retired rugby pro convince a Type A grad student to make room for love? Zafir Ansari has been through hell and come out the other side. Seven years ago, his professional rugby career was cut short when he lost his brother and father in a car accident and sank into a clinical depression. Today, he works security at a university while volunteering for a youth rugby team and building his nonprofit, Tackle It, to help destigmatize mental illness and teach coping skills to young athletes. He has a major crush on workaholic, hyperrational Ph.D. student Danika Brown, who teaches in his building, but Zaf is pretty sure she's gay. They become a social media sensation thanks to a viral video of Zaf carrying pink-haired Dani to safety after an elevator mishap. Zafir asks Dani to pretend they're a couple to gain exposure for his charity, and the temporary arrangement is perfect for Dani, who is bi and only does "situationships" anyway. While bantering hilariously and having sex whenever possible, they both catch feelings, but Danika buries hers. As for Zaf, "his feelings for Dani were like sunlight: they'd always find a crack to slip through, a way to light things up." Zafir treads carefully, introducing balance to Danika's life with home-cooked meals and insanely hot sex. Dani's support helps Zaf reclaim his minor celebrity as a Muslim former pro rugby player (a rarity in Britain) and share publicly the personal tragedy that led him to found Tackle It. With Danika, Hibbert playfully subverts expectations, elevating the "too busy for romance" trope by giving her challenging personality traits that won't disappear with a good shag and a few "I love you"s. She also wisely gives Zafir more to do than love Dani unconditionally, as deliciously swoonworthy as that is: He has to embrace his tragic past, as it's part of the man he is today. Funny, deep, and romantic as hell. Will leave you smiling for days. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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