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The Hating Game

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 06, 2016 – Since the day Lucy Hutton began sharing an office at her publishing company with Joshua Templeman, he's been the bane of her existence. Every day is a constant parade of one-upmanship and mind games. Now there's a huge promotion on the line, and they're both up for it. Lucy knows she couldn't keep working there if Joshua winds up becoming her boss, so she pours everything she has into a project to dazzle her superior but at the same time, she's suddenly gotten to know Joshua on a new level, and she's realizing very quickly that the lines between attraction and hatred are not as clear as she thought. After they acknowledge the heat between them and begin to do something about it, Lucy's paranoia sets in: is Joshua stringing her along in hopes that he'll gain the upper hand and the promotion? The denouement feels slightly off, and though Lucy and Joshua initially have chemistry to spare, the resolution of their story is a little bit too neat. Still, Thorne is skilled at creating Hepburn-and-Tracy-esque banter and an appealing heroine.

Customer Reviews

This is one of the ‘keeper shelf’ books, guaranteed to perk up a bad day

Lucinda Hutton and Joshua Templeton are polar opposites, the assistants to two CEOs of their two vastly divergent, and now merged, publishing houses. Everything about them is different: Josh is reserved, a bit uptight, tall, obsessively neat and intimidating. Lucy is petite, outgoing, colorful and a bit of a pushover, preferring being liked to being stern. Together they should be oil and water but their dynamic, including her desperate attempts to get ‘even’ by gaining a smile or a laugh not returned their first meeting.

Told in Lucy’s point of view, her voice is clear and solid, and should have had me wondering what bug climbed up Josh’s butt, but her obvious desire to know him had me curious as well. She doesn’t ‘get’ the buttoned up, apparently non-book-loving employees that came over in the merge: none seem to have lived, breathed or dreamed publishing….and Lucy most certainly has. She’s that well-loved paperback with the spine taped that you have to hold ‘just so’ but you won’t ever forget every line, and read it often. Josh is that textbook the professer said you needed and never mentioned again – yet you daren’t get rid of it, in case you feel shallow.

Keeping score in this admittedly juvenile game they have going, carefully tracking wins and near-wins, peppered with sharp and witty dialogue, clever moments of insight into Lucy, and a bit of slow-reveal of Josh. A team building paintball tournament isn’t the right time to become deathly ill, but Josh not only watches over Lucy like a hawk, he opens up a crack in the armor he uses as a shield to keep her at arm’s length.

Sally Thorne’s use of dialogue, character development and reveal and the resolution of the conflicts between Lucy and Josh are clever, leading readers through a believable set of reasons to explain their personalities and the attraction between them. And that attraction is white hot and scalding, especially satisfying in the fact that there is no instant gratification, but a slow build to explosive ‘this is how it should be’ revelatory moments that are both heart and panty meltingly sweet and romantic. This is one of the ‘keeper shelf’ books, guaranteed to perk up a bad day and sure to be read often just for the heart.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


THE HATING GAME, Sally Thorne's impressive debut work, is one of the cutest books I've read in a long time. It's a story about the love-hate relationship between Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeton, office mates and personal assistants to co-CEOs of the merged Bexley & Gamin publishing company.

From their first meeting, Lucy and Joshua have annoyed, ignored, and pushed the other in a constant dance of one-up-manship. They play little office games guaranteed to irritate (i.e., the Mirror Game, the Staring Game, the HR Game), the ultimate goal being to elicit smiles or tears. She wears bright red lipstick, and her wardrobe is full of knits and retro. His is strictly business suits and ties, colored with an array of starched shirts. She's only five feet tall. He stands over six feet. She takes baked goods to division heads meetings. He scares even the most hardened staff member. And when they become competitors for a newly created position just above their own, they do everything they can to win the sole promotion spot. So what happens when they realize just how much they love their "hate" relationship?

There are so many things I like about this story. First, is the writing style of the author. It's refreshing and engaging, and though I don't usually like books written in present tense, it works here. Second, I enjoy the main story and the subplots. They flow together seamlessly and come to a satisfying conclusion. Also, the two main characters have interesting backstories and are developed so well, I feel like I've known them forever. And finally, by the end of the story, both Lucy and Josh have grown and changed to the point you know that they'll have good things in their future.

THE HATING GAME is a witty, engaging debut book and one destined for my re-read shelf. The lighthearted story is perfect for a vacation or for a relaxing weekend at home and would be a great addition to your contemporary romance library. I look forward to reading future works by Ms. Thorne.

If You Like This, You Might Like: WEDDING BELLES and SEX, LOVE & STILETTO series by Lauren Layne, FBI/US ATTORNEY series by Julie James, GIDEON COVE and BLUE HERON series by Kristan Higgins, CHICAGO STARS series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, HOT ZONE and LUCKY TRILOGY series by Carly Phillips

* Read my other reviews on the Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog.
** An e-galley was provided by William Morrow and Edelweiss for an honest review.

Predictable and juvenile

It's not the worst written book (but certainly not the best) and the beginning had so much potential to be a fun beach read, but it progressed into an over the top and completely predictable story.

The Hating Game
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Aug 09, 2016
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings