Jess, a columnist for Sapphisticate (great name!), an online mag for lesbians, writes about lifestyle stuff when her boss says she should write about cuffing. I may very well be in the minority that I know what this is and that it has nothing to do with BDSM or role-playing in the bedroom, but then again, my head is full of all sorts of things like this that make people not want to play Trivial Pursuit with me.
Cuffing just means hopping into a short term, winter relationship, with or without sex, to get through the season, with the two parties going their separate ways by spring. A way to pass those months and all the festivities that go with them with a temporary partner since a ton of things for the season are usually for couples.
Case in point (kinda) is Cody, super butch mom of one, and a professor seeking tenure. She’s told by a couple of people that it probably would be a good idea to get an in with the female president of the university, who is married to a woman. Can’t hurt, right? Cody reads the article Jess writes, and leaves her a voice mail (awkward and cute) about being her cuffing partner for the season.
It doesn’t hurt that they meet at a fall fare where Jess is dressed up as a giant pineapple and is great with all the kids who come by to take a shot at knocking stuff down.
They agree to be each other’s plus one, lay out some ground rules (no pressure for sex, but if it comes up later, they can talk about it), and we’re in business. Cody has a date to go to school functions with someone, and Jess gets content for her column. It is, to coin a phrase, a convenient arrangement.
Of course, they’re both hot, and there’s some smoldering going on. They continue on, Cody making inroads with her ultimate boss because Jess and the president’s wife get along like a house on fire. Jess adores Cody’s son Ben, and he her. There are some Moments when it looks like they will hook up only to be interrupted by Ben, or something else. Readers who are not fans of kids or interruptus will be unlikely to be happy.
Cody and Ben wind up going with Jess to her family Thanksgiving, an everyone has a blast. Jess’ family love both of them, and they are quite taken by the mob of people.
But then, oh no! People in their 30s who can’t communicate! Cody gets a call from Anastasia, her ex-wife who has shown zero interest in Cody, and the other mom wants Ben to come out at stay for two weeks. Jess agrees to go – they look forward to being in a hotel room without a kid – but Jess gets a special request to interview a politician in DC and then an interview with an outfit in Philly, where she submitted a resume. Jess doesn’t tell Cody about the Philly connection, which by this point is a no-no: I couldn’t figure out what was to be gained by Jess not telling Cody, since by now they’re in love with one another.
We all know that there is a HEA at the end, because that’s the genre and not a spoiler.
No major complaints about any of it, and Ben really steals the show. Again, if you’re not okay with a kid being one of the most important things in someone’s life, this is no the book for you. There are no drawn out, steamy sexytimes here – most are fade to black. It’s an easy read and everyone is normal.
Three and a half stars out of five, rounded up to four.
Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.