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Business Partners Turn Lovers While Starting Up A Matchmaking App

Business Partners Turn Lovers While Starting Up A Matchmaking App

Start Us Up by Lexi Blake

What’s it About?

She’s a high-tech boss who lost it all… He’s an up and coming coder… Can his close-to-home idea and her dreams to make it big again send them toward success? It could be a perfect partnership or absolute heartbreak.

Is it dangerous to mix business and pleasure? For Ivy Jensen, the answer is yes. She’s been burned once before, by her former boyfriend turned business partner. When Nick watched the company go up in flames, he let the blame fall on Ivy and walked out unscathed, with plenty of other job offers falling in his lap. So Ivy is not going to let her feelings for a man cloud her judgment and ruin her career again — if she could just find a good business idea to get her back on her feet.

When Heath Marino shows up asking for help coding AI, Ivy sees the perfect opportunity to turn his idea into her next big break. As long as she doesn’t fall into bed — or worse, into love — with him. Lexi Blake’s suspenseful rom-com Start Us Up (Blue Box Press), the first novel in the Park Avenue Promise series, is an endearing business-partners-turned-lovers story that tackles the value of friendship, love and learning to forgive yourself.

Family Business Turns AI Program

Left with no prospects and a ruined reputation, Ivy — a formerly high-profile tech boss — is back under the roof of her critical mother, with her best friends Anika and Harper encouraging her to start over in her work and love life. So when Harper sends a contact to a reluctant Ivy, a set-up turns into an idea, which turns into a start-up, which turns into what could be the perfect match. 

Heath Marino looks like he “walked off the set of a Tayor Swift” music video, with guy-next-door vibes and soulful brown eyes. It is definitely attraction at first sight for Ivy. What’s better than his looks, is Heath’s work — an AI programmed for matchmaking. Matchmaking isn’t Ivy’s first choice for the app, but the foundation of the program is all there, it just needs a little tweaking and a lot of money to get off the ground. 

Heath is determined to make his app work, as a tribute to his grandmother’s lifelong work as a matchmaker. Lydia made a name for herself by creating happy, lifelong marriages, carrying on her mother’s trade. To carry on the family tradition, all Heath needs is the funding to get him started — and Ivy knows just the event. 

Investing in a Risky Idea

When Ivy was just a kid on the robotics team dreaming about the future, CeCe Foust, a big-time investor, became Ivy’s mentor and got her started in the field. At CeCe’s gala, a place to meet investors and acquire funding, Ivy is in her element — she knows how to pitch an idea well enough to keep it subtle but pique investors’ interest. And Heath, whom Ivy expected to be out of his depth, sweeps her off her feet with his subtle charm and clever ability to make himself appear well-kempt and prepared.

With a steady flow of cash from CeCe, a team of new hires on the clock, and plans to pitch to another big-time investor, progress on the app is going smoothly. Until Ivy’s ex Nick appears with a mysteriously similar app idea and plans to take it to the press, backed by a large investor, and beat them to the punch, ruining Ivy’s career for the second time.

Heath’s AI program is Ivy’s leap of faith, a last-ditch effort to be successful. She’s already lost everything — does she have anything left to lose? With Nick as her competitor, it’s time to stay sharp, be one step ahead, and make sure her program is better than his will ever be — or find a way to take him down. But can Ivy keep things professional with Heath, or will she be unable to resist his helpful, intelligent and genuine good-guy charm? Can she mix business with pleasure again, and make it out without getting burned?

Feel-Good Romance With Lots of Heart

For fans of the fake-dating, grumpy-sunshine, and workplace romance tropes … well let’s just say, you’re in for a treat with this one. Lexi Blake takes on a personal, almost conversational tone in her writing, with lots of modern references to Taylor Swift, work-from-home life, AI developments and, on a more serious note, what it’s like to be a modern woman in a male-dominated field. “Have you ever wondered if we don’t get those chances because we don’t demand them? Because we play by rules the men never have to.”

Start Us Up has realistic characters with flaws, insecurities and self-destructive tendencies. The novel touches on the tough parts of life — self-doubt, imposter syndrome, internal and family conflict. Ivy finds solace in Heath’s grandmother Lydia, her mentor Cece, and her friendships with Harper and Anika. Lexi Blake gives the characters room to grow and change, to argue and make up, to have major disagreements and still coexist.

And above all, Start Us Up is about love — romantic love, friendship, family, passion and ambition. It is about loving people enough to understand them and to forgive them. It centers the kind of love that drives people to team up and take down anyone who stands in the way of their dreams. Start Us Up has it all, with an ending that will leave readers craving more of these beloved characters, to see if they can make it big, together. But the best part about the Park Avenue Promise series? It’s just getting started.

About Lexi Blake:

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. Since starting her publishing journey in 2010, she’s sold over three million copies of her books. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings.

Start Us Up by Lexi Blake

Publish Date: 5/25/2023

Genre: Romance

Author: Lexi Blake

Page Count: 250 pages

Publisher: Blue Box Press

ISBN: 9781957568669

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