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Special Interests

(The Easy Part #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Compared to love, politics is easy...

Union organizer Millie Frank's world isn't filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she's turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn't traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie's got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stup
Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published April 7th 2014 by Carina Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  228 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ami by: Jess
2.75 stars rounded up

The Good Parts

I definitely thought there was chemistry between Millie and Parker; despite their arguments and his stance that he had become too cynical. As much as I usually despise hot & cold attitude in their relationship, I have to admit that some scenes amused the hell out of me. For example the part where Parker provides references to Millie when he asks her for a date. Man, that one was a hoot! Or when Millie and Parker go for their date. That one also quite entertaini
Mandi Schreiner
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Favorite Quote: “You’re so damn adorable, Millie Frank, I can’t believe I’ve kept my hands off you this entire meal,” he said, reaching over the table and pulling her hand towards him.

I have so many good things to say about this book that I don’t even know where to start. Millie Frank works for the construction worker’s union in Washington, D.C. She is pretty passionate about her job, but likes to keep to herself. Unfortunately, she was the victim in a hostage situation at her local drug store,
I've been wanting to read this for a while, based on friends' good reviews and it did not disappoint!

It felt like a much more realistic view of your late 20's/early 30's than the vast majority of contemporary romances. Characters who don't have it all figured out, who are still kind of figuring out what they want and who they are! Soooo great.

(view spoiler)
Rosario (
For various reasons, I don't often go for ARCs (in fact, this is my only one so far this year). However, I saw Emma Barry's tweet offering review copies of her upcoming contemporary polical romance when I was in just the right mood for it. I contacted her and immediately started reading the book.

Special Interests is a romance between two people who, although ultimately on the same side, have very real political differences. I really liked that the politics here seem to be more grounded in realit
Brandy Painter
Oh my goodness!!!! I'm in love with this book. If you like romance and you like politics, this is the perfect book for you. And by like politics I mean really like politics. If The West Wing was a show that sort of bored you and was hard to follow, this is probably not the book for you. But it was so the book for me. I really liked how both Millie and Parker had so much going on in there work lives and were far from perfect and happily successful. The disillusionment that comes from several year ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sometimes I think the voices in contemporary romance all sound the same. Then I remember the ones that didn't work for me.

I can't decide whether it's that I dislike happily-ever-afters (unlikely) or that I dislike even successful formula (possibly) or that I get bored of the same thing over and over (most likely). The politics mix it up a little, and I did like that, but most of the conflict is very, very familiar. I get it, they're gorgeous and committed and all, but at a certain point the happ
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Full review coming soon. I'm a sucker for flirting via discussions of the Democratic Party's increasingly shattered relationship with the unions (one of the many reasons I'm single) and there's a lot of charm here but the hot-cold relationship bits were so forced & felt like a lazy way to create tension where there was none. Still, I did enjoy it and will check out more of Barry's work because DC politics set contemporary romance is proper Ceilidh catnip. ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book about two people falling in love amidst the disillusionment that can happen in your 20s and 30s when you realize that you are, in fact, living your life. It's rare that people have a straight line to exactly the life they though they'd have and even when you do, it doesn't always look the way you thought it would when you get there.

And this was charming. The scene where Parker starts calling references so that Millie will go out with him made me laugh and want to clap my hands. An
Michelle Bowman  / We Love Kink .com
If you love a good contemporary romance with politics thrown in, you will love this book. Our H/h Parker and Millie, are actually both Democrats, with Millie being the more liberal of the two. While they both have differences of opinions and stand up for what they believe, many concessions are made in DC to get bills pass. The story is fast pace with lots of details on the political side which I found very interesting. Parker and Millie are both idealistic when the story begins, but by the end b ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I loved the first half of the this contemporary romance for its sparkling dialogue and potent chemistry between Millie and Parker. I was thrilled to see a Carina romance that featured intelligent discussion about the tough choices of modern politics. The second half is weaker; although Parker acts like a douche bag, Millie ends up having to apologize for pulling back from the relationship. And it seemed to me that she acted adorable and vulnerable more often than she was shown to be c ...more
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Chachic by: Brandy
Gave this a try based on my friend Brandy's recommendation. I really enjoyed the slow burn romance and the complex characters. Both Parker and Millie have issues to deal with and I liked seeing them make room for each other in their lives. But my eyes glazed over when they started talking about their work and all the politics involved in it. I ended up skimming most of that in the second half of the book. This reminded me of why I didn't really love The President's Daughter by Ellen Emerson Whit ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was fun!

I liked that this was two people who are in sort of the prime years of their early start of their lives figuring things out. And that just because you imagined things to be one way years ago, it doesn't mean things now aren't just as okay where you ended up.

Plus setting it in DC was amazing to me. I could have done with a few more DC grounding details, but overall, it was really great atmosphere and witty one liners about the people you find in DC.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5 or 3.75/5 because it fell apart a little bit for me around the 80% mark but overall a very enjoyable read about people in their 20s/30s who haven't quite found all the answers yet. Plus, city setting!
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This is definitely more than a 3. More like a 3.5. I really liked the first half of this book a lot and overall I liked it quite a bit. I thought some parts were too "out of nowhere" though & the pacing of things was a bit off for me. Let's face it; I like political stories. ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I really enjoyed the chemistry between them, and the pace at which their relationship developed. I thought the fight at the end was a little contrived, but their chemistry throughout was enough to overcome all that.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Eh, it was clunkier than I wanted it to be, but I appreciate what it tried to be, if that makes sense.
it was okay-good but i wanted more sparks? more bickering? more antagonist behaviours?
i wanted a dan and amy kind of relationship and this one was too 'mooshy goody'
Janine Ballard
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-releases
3.3 stars

Parker Beckett is a staffer for the senate majority leader, and Millie Frank is a lobbyist for labor unions. Millie is recovering from a trauma (she was taken hostage by an unstable man) when they meet at a club and Parker hits on her.

Very quickly, Parker realizes Millie’s appeal to him is too great. She won’t fit neatly into his lifestyle of one night stands and friends with benefits. So when she invites him to spend the night, he turns her down. And keeps turning her down, even after
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I liked that this book had a different setting: DC politics. Our hero lives and breathes his job and his encounters with women are only the sexual kind so when he sees the heroine and they have sparks he walks away as she is everything he isn't looking for: serious, nice and sweet. Of course he can't keep his mind of her and the scene where he is basically making people give testimonials for him, for the heroine to date him are hilarious. I did like how cautious the heroine was with him
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
cute, breezy, easy and fun - it was all i was looking for when i picked up this book, and it delivered on every front. the internal conflicts didn't always make a lot of sense - this was a classic "all of this could have been resolved with one conversation" kind of thing - but the characters were winning and as a former congressional nerd myself, my heart went pitter-patter at a plot point that hinges upon the continuation of the davis-bacon act and the intricacies of a budget negotiation.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

Never thought I would enjoy a book that dealt with politics as much as I did this one.

Smartly written, great, witty dialogue and sexiness. ;)
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This had the potential to be my favorite book of all time, but the characters fell flat. I enjoyed the policy discussions more than the actual romance.
Karen Wellsbury
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a bit of a departure for me, present day and American. My main understanding of American politics comes from films: Dave and the American President and TV: West Wing, so reading a novel set in Washington I was trepidatious. However, there was no need to worry, although there was a slight learning curve for me on the political side (thank God for Wikipedia) this is more romance with political undertones.
Millie works for a construction workers union, and after living her life in the shadow
Jennifer Zorko
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying that even though Special Interest by Emma Barry is a romance based in the political arena, it did not feel like a political book at all. It was a wonderful, heartfelt love story about two people who, yes are both involved in politics, yes are on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but they are also very real and perfect for each other really. Let me tell you why.

Millie Franks is an idealist. She truly believes that she can help make the world a better place, make
Bookish Ames
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the first 2/3 of the this book...and then for the last little bit I was like 'wtf just happened?' I liked the slow build up between the h/h. And then it morphed into overdrive very quickly and I wasn't quite there yet. However, I did like the characters and the setting so I will be reading the next book in the series.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Special Interest by Emma Barry is a 2014 Carina Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Millie Frank is Union organizer in Washington D.C. but has found herself in the spotlight due to a hostage situation she was involved in. Trying to get back into her normal routine and wishing the media would lose interest in her, Millie goes out with a friend and meets Parker Beckett. Parker is a workaholic trying to make budget for the senate. An instant attrac
MB (What she read)
Sep 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Like books with characters with interesting careers?
1/15/15 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this a lot. It was fun to read about protagonists with real careers. (No miraculously successful cupcake bakers here)! I also found the setting in Washington D.C. and their careers in the nitty gritty of politics quite intriguing. (Since I know little about it.)

I always enjoy romance novels where adults behave like adults, and have real careers that they take seriously. This was one of those, mostly. I wish there were more of them out there, so I like to call this ou
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Special Interests is smart and sassy. Millie the idealist meets Parker the jaded, and they form an uneven friendship on Capitol Hill.

Parker is practical, working 24/7 to pass a budget. Millie is principled, standing up for the underdog. They grow to depend on each other, and something more than a friendship develops.

I love the quick-witted conversations, the last-minute phone calls, the impetuous touches. Millie doesn't take any crap from Parker, and he respects her for that. I also appreciat
I went into this book with hope for something I don't read much. A story about late 20s something and politics.
You don't know me but politics and me are far far away. Here's it's US politics, I know even less (and that's not much, let me tell you) than the French one...
It really is something I don't engage with and jt was even more obvious when I read Special Interest.

Now, I'm not saying it's a book heavy on politics or anything difficult to understand, not at all so if you're interested on the
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Emma Barry is a novelist, full-time mama, recovering academic, and former political staffer. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves her twins’ hugs, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, her dog’s tail, and Earl Grey tea.

Other books in the series

The Easy Part (3 books)
  • Private Politics (The Easy Part, #2)
  • Party Lines (The Easy Part, #3)

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