Lease on Love

Falon Ballard. Putnam, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-41991-5

Debut author Ballard shines in this quirky, heartwarming contemporary romance. After financial analyst Sadie Green gets passed over for a well-deserved promotion, her profane outburst earns her a pink slip. While drunkenly commiserating with her best friends, she mistakes a roommate-finding app for a dating app and ends up matched with the reclusive Jack Thomas. They clear up the miscommunication fairly quickly and, after seeing Jack’s expansive Brooklyn brownstone—and learning how little in rent he’s asking—Sadie moves in and decides to chase her longtime dream of becoming a florist. At first, she sees Jack as just her kind but nerdy roommate, but when their chemistry sparks, it’s explosive. Then Sadie discovers that Jack has been keeping a (relatively mild) secret about his past, and their future seems anything but assured. Ballard’s snappy prose and unconventional couple charm, and she gets some good chuckles out of skewering the New York City real estate market. Meanwhile, stellar supporting characters (especially Sadie’s besties Gemma, Nick, and Harley) provide a solid underpinning to this enjoyable tale. This is a treat. Agent: Kimberly Whalen, the Whalen Agency. (Feb.)
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