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by hmhibbit, April 23, 2015



Fringe Benefits

Ladies Who Lunch book 4

By Sandy James

 ISBN# 9781455533381

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra

*Beware of Spoilers*


When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.


As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn’t have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance–or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won’t be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .

Nate may be fresh out of school, but he’s confident in his teaching skills–and in his feelings for Dani. But while she’s everything he’s ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff–and his age–may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher’s lounge and surrender to what’s meant to be?


As I began to read the fourth book in this series, I was taken aback at the thought…I am with old friends again.  I was comfortable with the characters and the flow of the story was easy.  The Ladies Who Lunch are all about overcoming adversity on their attainment of a happy, loving life, while seeking the friendship and guidance of each of the pack of four.  We begin the story with a first year English teacher (Nate) being thrust upon the new English department head (Dani) with just one day before school starts.  The principal asks that Dani show Nate the ropes, leaving her in a bit of a bind as she is preparing for the first days of school as well.  But as we come to learn, Dani has an enormous heart and is always willing to help.  She is the ultimate team player.  During this first day, while photocopying, Dani and Nate attempt to find some toner for the photocopy machine in the supply closet.  Unbeknownst to Nate, the supply closet locks and if you are in the closet when the door closes, you are stuck.  While waiting for the janitor to begin work (in the evening) attraction between the two heat up and as they lean in for a kiss…the door is opened!  Whew…a close call with respect to kissing the new guy.  Who is also EIGHT years younger than Dani AND lest we forget, Dani is his boss (being the English department head).

By a twist of fate, Dani has a suite in her basement, which is certainly nicer than the “dive” accommodations that Nate is currently keeping in a run-down motel/hotel.   Now I am thinking….this is just asking for trouble…but they do it anyway…Nate rents and moves in downstairs and that is when all the hot and bothered fun begins 🙂 .

Dani and Nate had shown considerable restraint for each other (even though they had only known each other for a very short time).  This was mainly as a result of being interrupted in the supply closet, but when the following occurred….I knew that all hope of maintaining that strictly professional relationship was being thrown out the window.  And thank goodness…Nate is such a hunk!!!  And with the Ladies Who Lunch crowd pushing Dani to get to know Nate…well let us say this seemed like a logical next step:

“Dani knew better. She did. But the plea in Nate’s voice was her undoing.  Instead of shaking her head, getting in the car, and hightailing her ass back to Cloverleaf-away from temptation-she did the stupidest thing she could think of. She put her arms around his waist and pressed her lips to his, knowing she would savor his surprised expression for a good, long while.”

Quite early on, Nate realizes that Dani has trust issues.  As some of the ways he has come up with the get her to trust are quite imaginative….for example -> When Nate prepared dinner for Dani and she had to eat while being blindfolded.  Dani had to put her faith that Nate would feed her in a respectful manner – great imagery:

”Feeding Dani was so damned erotic. Each time she opened her mouth, Nate had to close his own eyes to block the sensual image.”

The sensual imagery aside, Nate is trying to get Dani to trust by taking away one of her senses and having to rely upon him for guidance in eating the entire evening meal.  This, taken with numerous other exercises in trust, showed what an intuitive and caring man Nate is, as well as mature and wise for his age.  Nate was so on the right track until he took advice from a very sick Grandpa Delgado.  That is when Nate’s plans seemed to go off kilter when taken with, what at this point in time, I knew of Dani.  Hopefully, he will again listen to his own inner voice with respect to Dani!

Other characters in the book added their own flare…lest we forget Nate’s ex-fiancé, Kat.  Now she is a piece of work.  The relationship between Kat, her father (who is actually Nate’s step father) and her mother is entertaining to say the least.  I worried about Nate’s mother in the beginning, but she showed another side of herself, which I truly liked.  And of course, there were a few chuckle worthy moments.  Nice to see Nate fitting in with the guys associated with the Ladies Who Lunch.  The comradery and easy friendships was nice to see.  After all, if Nate can’t fit in with the husbands…he would surely be out!

I loved how the Ladies who Lunch were able to support Nate in his quest for Dani.  As well, they provided the necessary nudges to Dani to get her to lighten up and stop controlling every situation.  Will she end up with her happily ever after?  Time will tell (actually, reading the book will tell as well) 🙂 .

I must say though, now that all four books for each of the members of the Ladies Who Lunch are out….where will these characters go?  It has been a sweet journey.  I fully intended to pick up more books by Sandy James as I quite enjoyed her writing style and how she made her characters seems so real.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*


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