Cathy Yardley: Temping is Hell

tempingishell

Think finding a job in today’s economy is rough? Try being Kate O’Hara. She’s a temp who’s just started her new assignment at Fiendish Enterprises, an international corporate with an offbeat reputation and a shiny new Oakland headquarters. Her immediate boss is more interested in playing Angry Birds than giving her any work, and Kate, desperate to make something of her time, soon takes on more responsibilities than she expected.  And that’s how she accidentally meets Thomas Kestrel, Fiendish’s sexy, single, billionaire CEO.

Sparks fly, personalities clash, and soon the two are getting a little too close for comfort. But in the meantime, Kate’s accidental trip to the Contracts division in the basement reveals the bizarre truth:  Fiendish has a host of otherworldly “workers” sifting through an infinite amount of paperwork, looking for a very specific set of circumstances.  The long and short: Thomas Kestrel is up to his eyeballs in something involving demons, soul-selling, and non-union labor, and Kate’s going to fix it somehow.  Even demons need coffee breaks.

But the more she tries to help, the more she gets sucked into a devilish plot far older than she is. Soon she’s lost her soul…and maybe her heart, and she’s fending off serial killers and worse.  But is this just a temp job, or will it lead to lasting employment?

As you might imagine, Temping is Hell draws from the paranormal romance well, with a heavy side dose of self-aware, snarky comedy to temper its otherwise darker nature. For the most part, Kate’s oblivious do-gooder nature is played seriously, with some laughs thrown in, as she fights for demon rights, streamlines the paperwork around the office, talks back to her boss, and buttdances when no one’s looking. (To Sir Mix-a-Lot’s ouvre, no less…) If there’s one thing you can’t attribute to this book, it’s subtlety.

It’s obvious from the way the story progresses, with plots resolved and unresolved, and Kate and Thomas’s relationship in flux, that Yardley’s in this for something akin to the long haul.  As a result, this does a lot of piece-maneuvering and stage-setting for the larger series. It’s entertaining and satisfying, but it lacks the closure some fans might desire.  It’s hard to tell exactly what this book wants to be: paranormal romance, or urban fantasy, or that nebulous state in between. Relatively equal weight is placed on the growing chemistry between the leads, and on the larger plot involving the enemies Thomas must defeat in order to free his own soul.

Sexy, sweet, silly, this entry into a new series makes for an entertaining read, and I’ll at least keep my eyes open for whatever comes next.

(Entangled, 2013)

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