Title: House Rules
Author: Ruby Lang
Series: Uptown, #3 *easily read as a standalone
Length: approx.. 47,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Romantic Comedy
Imprint: Carina Press
On sale: February 10, 2020
Format & Price: ebook $3.99
Book Description: ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.
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Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.
A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.
Three months. With strict boundaries.
Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.
Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.
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< < < Author Bio > > >
Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
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She kissed him as they traveled uptown, under the too-bright lights of the rattling, rumbling 2 train, her hands stealing up past the thick collar of this coat, to his warm neck, to his hair.
“We’re disgracing ourselves,” Simon murmured, even as he nipped her earlobe and his fingers found the zip of her jacket and pulled it down. “Making out on the train, like teenagers.”
He watched the progress of the zipper avidly, as if it would reveal more than her scarf, her sweater, more layers and layers of clothing, as if he could see down to her skin. Then he tipped his tongue up to catch her again in a lush kiss.
She pushed her breast, or the area of her clothing that covered it, shamelessly into his hand, and he gave a muffled gasp that only made her wilder. The train seat felt too smooth and unsatisfying against her restless thighs.
Every stop on the walk home was marked by where they paused to kiss, where Simon pushed her up against a wall, and she ground her hips against his. A car slowed once and honked while they were pressed on the brick beside a beauty salon. Its headlights illuminated their desperate bodies, causing Lana to bury her head in the front of Simon’s coat. Simon laughed softly, an edge of incredulity in the sound.
“We should get back.”
They hurried now, swinging around the corner and down the block, through the gate and up, up the stairs, the thumping of their footsteps loud and urgent. Lana couldn’t help blushing at how impatient their running sounded. She and Simon burst in the door and into their dark hallway. Before the door fully closed, they’d fallen on each other, tripping in their haste to kick off shoes and unzip and unbutton each other, to unwind. It was as if they expected someone would stop them, someone wise and mature who’d tell them to think this through. But of course, they were the adults here, they were the ones in charge.
The fact that this was a bad idea only made Lana want it more.
Copyright © 2020 by Mindy Hung
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House Rules is an adorable and sweet story about two exes who decide to room together out of necessity.
Lana and Simon divorced long ago. At that time, both were young and each had individual dreams that saw them going in opposite directions. They lost touch but miracles of crazy miracles, they somehow end up looking at the same apartment for rent. The unexpected reunion is awkward, it's familiar, it's ... a fortuitous coincidence? Since both of them need to find a place - she has a new job at a restaurant and she can't afford a place on her own, and he needs to leave his place that's being converted into condos - Lana suggests that they rent together. It makes sense on paper: they're not strangers and their work will have them keeping different hours so they won't get in each other's way. It's almost perfect. Well, they're not quite prepared for the onslaught of memories and warm feelings that resurface. They fall into an easy pattern and behave as if they're still together, so naturally things start to get interesting and complicated between them.
It struck me towards the end that I didn't know how much I wanted a story featuring a couple in their forties. There's a certain wisdom that comes with experience and perspective that takes away the angst of the younger years. It was lovely seeing them get reacquainted while they also had honest and heartfelt discussions about the breakdown of their marriage. Aside from their relationship they're also figuring out what the next step is in their careers. Lana is doing exactly what she's always wanted to do which is working at a trendy restaurant but when she actually takes stock of her career, or what she had dreamed of, and sets it against what she's doing in reality, she realizes that she doesn't have the energy anymore. Maybe that's an incorrect way of putting it. It's more like she's admitting to herself that she has changed and her dreams have shifted, and she wants to use her time and energy differently and in a way that feels more rewarding. That so resonated with me and that's what I absolutely loved about House Rules - whatever future they had initially envisioned for themselves they eventually found the courage to adapt those dreams to match who they had become.
This was my first Ruby Lang book and I found it to be a pleasant read. There was no drama for the sake of drama which was nice. Instead it was simply two adults coming together after some significant time apart, getting to know each other again and appreciate the individuals they had become. I can easily go for that!
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review