Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/11/20/review-undercover-professor-by-december-gephart/
I was very excited to read this book after I saw the blurb, because there really aren’t enough romance books out there with a nerdy gamer hero. The blurb had so much promise, and I was so ready to fall in love with this story. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.
Lucy has been burnt hard enough in her past that she sticks to her dating rules like white on rice. She refuses to change the rules, bend the rules, or set the rules aside. Yet when she meets Andy in the laundry room, the attraction between them is so strong that she wonders if he will be the one to have her throwing her rules out the window. But if it isn’t one obstacle with Andy, it’s another. Things are not what they seem. Despite their growing friendship and eventual relationship, Lucy is still worried that although Andy seems perfect, when he stacks up against her rules, he falls terribly short.
Andy, or Drew as he prefers, figured he could best use the time spent helping his mother recover to do a little bit of undercover work. He wants honest answers from female gamers, and his professor persona is too well known to get any accurate case data. He doesn’t like lying to Lucy, but doesn’t see a way to be honest with her and still do his research. But as Drew learns more and more about Lucy, he worries that he won’t be able to overcome his lies, despite the fact that he does in fact fit within her dating rules.
Let me start with saying that Drew was NOT the nerdy-gamer-professor hero that I was expecting. Instead, he was a bit of a womanizer and player – especially in the beginning. It was hard to believe that he cared one way or another about the women in his life, and although he learned the error of his ways, it took him a damn long time to get there. I didn’t absolutely hate Drew by any means, but he wasn’t the kind of hero I was looking forward to reading, and for me, that really brought the story down a bit. I wanted Drew to be more shy, more reserved, more careful about the way he treated his leading lady. Instead, he came across as pushy, especially after Lucy hesitated with starting a relationship with him, given her cousin’s interest in him. Then once they did start something, he still feared giving away his true self to her, despite the fact that he asked her to trust him, but didn’t seem to be able to return that trust. I wasn’t a big fan of Drew, and despite his grand gesture (which was kinda awesome), I still found it difficult to like the guy.
Although I was able to connect with Lucy more so than Drew, I wasn’t a huge fan of her either. Her slightly neurotic dating rules were a little over the top, even given her traumatic past with relationships. And while I saw where she was coming from, I had a hard time believing that Lucy was willing to go with the flow on many of the things she did. Her quasi-relationship with Dell was a bit of a joke, and she didn’t strike me as the kind of woman to wait around for her “perfect” guy to finally come to her. She also seemed like the kind of woman who wouldn’t put up with Drew keeping so many secrets from her. Instead, every time she started to press him to give her details about his life, she let him slide and get away with hemming and hawing over an answer. For as strong as she was to have dealt with the childhood she did, the past relationship traumas, and everything else, she was very scared and wimpy in other aspects of her life.
The romance also was one aspect where I was hoping the book would shine, and instead fell flat. I think the potential for this book to be so much more was there, but it just didn’t end up working out that way. I thought the somewhat slow-burn from friends to lovers was nice, especially the longer Lucy stuck to her guns about Drew coming clean on a few things before they could move forward. Yet, she ended up caving before Drew and gave in to the chemistry before she originally wanted. I thought that both Lucy and Drew made some HUGE mistakes in their relationship. Drew for keeping secrets all while practically demanding that Lucy trust him while keeping her in the dark. Lucy also could have been a little less crazy about her rules and guidelines for dating. It seemed to really pigeonhole Drew and caused more strife for them than it should have.
This book also had some pretty ridiculous secondary characters. Lucy’s cousin Becca was absolutely psycho, and one chick I would never want to face in a dark alley. Talk about unstable and unhinged. After one date with Drew, she was talking about having babies with him! O_O I get that she was probably suppose to provide some comedic relief, but instead I ended up feeling sorry for Lucy, Drew, and everyone who had to come into contact with her, given her irrational outlook on life. Then sprinkle in the few minutes we spent with Drew’s agent Todd, the total chauvinistic jerk, and I think this book might take the cake on secondary characters who drove me up the wall.
All in all I wasn’t impressed with this novella, and it definitely did not go the direction I had hoped and wanted. With a lackluster hero AND heroine, and a poorly developed relationship, I just couldn’t get on board with the romance and connection between these two. I had to push myself to read past the 67% mark, and although I’m glad I was able to finish the book, I don’t know that I would recommend it to anyone else.
I give Undercover Professor a C-/D+