When I read a book written by Jae, there are certain elements I expect to see in the novel. I know the tale will be well written. The plot line will draw me into the story to the point that I ignore what is happening around me. The characters will be well-developed and will seem real to me. And of course the romance will be a slow-burn that will make me go “aww” at least once before the end. I can happily tell you everything mentioned above is present in The Roommate Arrangement.
This is the story of Stephanie (Steph) Renshaw, a comedian for the last ten years, who is trying to reach the big time in Los Angeles. She hasn’t made it yet, but she feels she needs to soon or it will be too late. She needs a place to live in L.A. while she works on her career. A chance encounter on the road leads her to an apartment that is very close to a venue she wants to perform at, but the landlord of the apartment only rents to couples in steady relationships. This is where the reader meets Rae Coleman, a former police officer working as security for the comedy club. Rae needs a place to live close by because of an injury that causes her to have trouble driving at night. The two meet at the club and despite a rocky start, agree to pretend to be in a relationship and rent the apartment together. Of course you know this arrangement is going to lead to a lot more than these two expect or plan.
Steph is not a brand new character. She appeared briefly in another book by Jae called Just for Show. Steph is the sister of Claire in that book. She is described as the “black sheep” of the family since both Claire and their parents are psychologists. The family considers being a comedian to be a less than desirable career choice. This story element carries into this tale also, and Claire, her fiancée Lana, and Steph’s parents are secondary characters in this book.
This is a lovely slow-burn, opposites attract romance. I especially connected with Rae. Seeing how her past has affected her and watching her grow past her injuries and learn to open herself to others again is very moving. Some characters touch me more than others. Rae is one of those.
The Roommate Arrangement is a stand-alone novel even though it is connected to the book, Just for Show. You don’t have to read them both to enjoy them. I will tell you that both books are very good, and reading them in order would not be a hardship at all. In fact, I think it would be an excellent idea.
I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.