REVIEW: The Professor Next Door by Jackie Lau
Friendly neighbors can have their benefits…
Nicole Louie-Edwards enjoys the nightlife and bringing men back to her apartment, although lately, she’s gotten tired of the chase. Her quiet new neighbor, David Cho, isn’t her type, but after they get trapped in an elevator together on her birthday, she develops a friendship with the kind geology professor.
Then, blushing, he tells her that he can hear her having sex but tries not to listen. Except it’s clear he’d like to, and she’s surprisingly turned on. They embark on a friends-with-benefits arrangement hotter than any she’s had before. She didn’t expect him to be so naughty between the sheets.
David becomes a bigger part of her life outside of the bedroom, too, bringing her desserts and going viral on TikTok with her grandmother, but she can’t imagine he wants to be her boyfriend, and it’s not like she wants that, either. She’s convinced she’d lose her identity in a relationship, like she did ten years ago.
Yet she can’t help getting more and more attached to the professor next door…
Dear Ms. Lau,
Something about this cover made me stop and look. Yeah, guys with glasses are sexy. But David is also a sexy guy who enjoys sex, is good at sex, and who has some spicy moves up his sleeve. Just the person whom sex positive Nicole needs to actually meet rather than just nodding hello to in the hallway.
Nicole Louie-Edwards (ethnic Chinese mother/White father) tried a “live together” relationship ten years ago and learned the hard way that she doesn’t like them. For two years she lived with an older man who she finally realized was full of shit and since then, coming home to an empty place where she can do what she wants has suited her just fine. She also loves sex and isn’t afraid to approach men and ask for what she wants. The trouble seems to be that too often her fuck buddies soon find “The Woman” they want a permenant relationship with and she has to find another FB.
When they get trapped in an elevator together, she and David Cho finally exchange actual words rather than nods. They slip into an easy relationship of dinners at home once a week plus yummy desserts (taking full advantage of Toronto’s amazing restaurant scene). But all they have is food and fun conversation. Nicole sees David as a “marriage kind of guy” and not someone to whom she is sexually attracted. To scratch her itch, she’s still bringing men home. What David initially doesn’t tell her is that the walls between their condos are very thin.
When he heard another moan, it went straight to his cock.
He was a thirty-nine-year-old man. He shouldn’t be hard as corundum because the woman next door was having sex. It wasn’t like he could even hear very much.
His imagination, however, was adept at filling in all the gaps. For some reason, his imagination was extra active where she was involved, no matter how guilty he felt about letting it run wild.
He looked toward their shared wall and thought he detected the tiniest movements in the rock collection on his dresser. Most things would be just fine, but the ammonite in its display stand…well, he’d have to find another spot for that.
He couldn’t believe it. The sex life of his next-door neighbor was threatening the safety of his rock and fossil collection.
When David finally breaks down and tells Nicole what he can hear, she surprises him – okay, based on what he’s heard, it’s not really a surprise – and practically dares him to listen and pleasure himself. Then brings a few more guys home and insouciantly knocks on the shared wall when the sex is finished. And David discovers that he likes this. When they take their relationship a step further and become fuck buddies themselves, suddenly new obstacles present themselves. David has told Nicole that eventually he would like to marry again and have children while Nicole has no intention of being tied down – to her bed with pink fuzzy handcuffs or in life.
First let me say – whoa. This book is packed with sexy times and food porn. Eat before beginning or face the consequences of salivating at the variety of wonderful sounding food. As the book is very much character driven, how you feel about the MCs will play a major factor in whether or not you like it. Nicole and David are very at ease with their sexuality, both love to experiment, and sex toys are liberally used. As I mentioned earlier, David discovers he enjoys auralism.
While David’s family is mainly at the other end of Canada, Nicole’s family and friends are all up in her business – but usually in a loving, caring way. Though this is the third book in the “Cider Bar Sisters” series, I didn’t feel lost when previous characters were introduced and for the most part, the action focuses on this book and its plot. It’s very diverse though mention is made of low-key racism in the past, colorism, and transphobia (towards Nicole’s sibling). It’s truly sad that most of these were done by (now shunned) family members.
One subplot and character that I’ll just take as one “done with love” is about Nicole’s grandmother “Po Po.” To say Po Po is wide open and full of life is a drastic understatement. She adores making Tik Tok videos, has strong opinions about whether or not Nicole and David are dating, and has few social boundaries. She also thinks Jason Momoa is hot. Yeah, let me add apropos to two of our recent “Conversation” posts, that Jason Momoa’s name is in the book ten times both in reference to him and a guy described as looking like him while condoms get about five mentions.
So most of the book is about David and Nicole getting to know each other, enjoying their sexy times and then both (separately) thinking about a relationship. Their backstories are well described and the ways they think about what they want and why is well done. We watch things evolve into deeper layers. There are no relationship deal breakers that are suddenly pulled out of a hat. When the last obstacle appears, it is the product of everything that has been mentioned and shown before and not something that a five minute conversation is going to fix. Booyah that time is allowed for deep thinking and reflection but the push from Po Po certainly didn’t hurt to move things along. I was satisfied with the resolution and with whom made the move to set that in motion. Now I want to go back and read the first two books as well as start looking for recipes for samgyetang, jook and galbitang. B