Office Romance 101 by Grace Burrowes
Americans work long hours by the standards of any developed nation, women are present in our workforce in great (and growing) numbers, and the workplace allows us to interact with members of the opposite gender for long periods of time and under significant pressure. Maybe dating relationships are bound to arise under such circumstances?
My characters in A Single Kiss work at a family-owned, relatively small law firm, and by the end of the book, they’ll do more than date. Trent Knightley is Hannah Stark’s temporary boss, and one of the firm’s three partners. He’s also the first and only guy to whom Hannah can consider giving her heart. While Trent and Hannah have reservations about a workplace relationship, and they keep it (mostly) professional during business hours, they are by no means the first couple to fish off the company dock.
One survey found that 84 percent of the millennial generation expects to or has dated a co-worker. In older population cohorts, that percentage drops, but it never becomes insignificant. I’ve dated coworkers, and to my surprise, the Fortunate 100 company I worked for at the time had a very relaxed policy on workplace romance.
As one HR professional explained to me, as long as people behave professionally in the workplace, and don’t turn around and sue each other or the company for sexual harassment, an office romance should be no big deal.
Trent and Hannah do have a direct report relationship, albeit a temporary one, and the company does have a policy, though it relates to married couples rather than dating. Trent in particular, as the boss, is lectured at length by his brothers about the perils of a sexual harassment lawsuit, though from James, the family Don Juan, the lectures are ridiculous.
More than any corporate policy, Trent and Hannah are guided by the natural caution of single parents, common sense, and professionalism. Then too, Trent has seen relationships go sour in quantity as a family law attorney, and has been through his own messy divorce.
That Hannah can catch Trent’s eye at all, much less in the office, and with his brothers appointing themselves the Dating Police, surprises Trent as much as it pleases him. Hannah certainly wasn’t looking for love either, but the same qualities that make Trent a good boss—he’s passionate about his work, fair minded, a good problem-solver, and doesn’t take himself too seriously—also make him attractive in other ways.
In the end, both the law firm and the characters gain a lot as a result of a willingness to consider the heart before the Human Resources manual, but in real life, an office romance can’t always end that well…
My own didn’t, but if the right person came along, and we weren’t violating any corporate policies… maybe?
What do you think of office romances? Ever been tempted? Ever been burned?
Book: A Single Kiss
Author: Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hannah Stark has set her sights on corporate law to assure her a career of paperwork, predictability, and conservative suits. Contracts, finance, and the art of the deal sing to her, while the mess and misery of the courtroom do not. But her daughter needs to eat, so when Hannah is offered a temporary position in a small town firm’s domestic relations department, she reluctantly accepts.
Trent Knightley is mightily drawn to his newest associate, though Hannah is as protective of her privacy as she is competent. When their friendship and attraction heat up, Hannah’s secrets put her heart and Trent’s hopes in double jeopardy.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
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