Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
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?
The student union’s coffee shop was like a bad pop song: painfully repetitive and unnaturally upbeat.
Talia Hibbert has quickly become one of my favourite authors, and The Brown Sister series is a romance series that I have been recommending to everyone. I loved the first book, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, so much that I was convinced that there was no way that the second book could live up to it. I was so surprised to find that I may have enjoyed Take a Hint, Dani Brown even more.
The chemistry between Dani and Zaf leapt off the page and this book was super steamy. Something that I really appreciated was that I felt a connection to Dani and Zaf as individuals separate from their relationship. It is not often that I read a romance where I am so drawn to the love interest. They both had strong voices and their own passions and outlooks on life. Dani and Zaf are very different, but it works and they end up complementing one another so well.
Also, this book has one of my favourite tropes- fake dating! It never gets old, and it is done in a unique way in this case. I love the tension that fake dating adds to a romance. It allows for there to be a slower burn and it is more satisfying when the characters finally get together.
Another aspect of Take a Hint, Dani Brown that makes the book stand out is the anxiety representation. This is something that Talia Hibbert is skilled at and it is apparent that she is very intentional when writing about mental health in both of her books. Zaf experiences panic attacks and those moments felt very authentic. We need more books that talk about mental health struggles in everyday life!
Of course, it was fun to get cameos of Chloe and Red, who were the main characters from the first book. They are just as adorable in this and it made me want to reread Get a Life, Chloe Brown, which is unheard of for me. The third book in the series, Act Your Age, Eve Brown, is supposed to be released in March of 2021, and I cannot wait!