“The Love Connection” (Airport Novellas #1) by Denise Williams (ARC Review)

Williams, Denise. The Love Connection. New York: Jove, 2022.

ISBN-13: 978-0593441107 | $1.99 USD | 128 pages | Contemporary Romance 

Blurb

An airport pet groomer meets her frequent flier crush in this captivating romance novella from the acclaimed author of How to Fail at Flirting

Ollie Wright loves the thrill of taking chances, like opening a pet grooming salon in an airport where every day is a little unpredictable. The one thing she won’t risk is her heart, so catching glimpses of a cute stranger from afar is enough romantic entanglement for her.

Bennett Baker is a professional risk assessor by day while writing popular romance novels at night, except he finds himself facing writer’s block. His life of carefully planned stability comes crashing down when he rescues a slippery pup in the airport and returns it to the enchanting pet groomer whose laugh inspires him to start writing again.

Their chance encounter and instant chemistry thrusts them into a whirlwind of airport dates at pretzel kiosks, stolen glances at empty gates, and late-night texts that leave them swooning. If the risk-adverse Bennett can take a chance on uncertainty and adventurous Ollie will break her own rule, their relationship might stop taxiing and actually take off.

Review 

4 stars 

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

Denise Williams is one of those authors I’ve wanted to try for a while, but wasn’t too sure about, so starting off with a novella like The Love Connection was a great way to get a feel for her writing. The concept is incredibly cute, and totally delivers. 

One of the things that drew me to the book right away was the main characters and their jobs. I’m a sucker for a dog lover or someone who works with dogs, and the fact that Ollie is a pet groomer fits the bill perfectly. And the fact that her vocation is a bit unusual, in being a pet grooming salon in an airport, adds to the charm.

Given there’s been constant discourse around whether men belong in the romance community, it’s quite affirming to see Bennett as the romance author of the story, as in most of the stories I’ve read previously,  the fictional authors have almost exclusively been cis women. He’s still working in his “safe” career as a professional risk assessor, and his arc sees him work toward making writing romance his full time thing. 

Ollie and Bennett complement each other very well, being a risk-taker (with a single caveat) and risk-averse, respectively. They also play off each other very well, and I love how their frequent, distinct airport encounters build up to them pursuing a relationship. The main conflict being internal, regarding whether Ollie will decide a relationship with Bennett is worth risking her heart for and whether Bennett can take the risk and follow his own heart, is assisted by the short length in mitigating the level of angst that might ensue if this had been a longer book, while still maintaining enough buildup to keep the reader engaged. 

This book is super cute, and I’m excited to read more from Denise Williams in the near future. If you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted contemporary romance read, I recommend picking this one up. 

Author Bio

Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD in education, going on to work in higher education. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.

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