A new employee can change the dynamics in the workplace, but few do it with such disastrous consequences as the illusive Alexa.
Like a blustery tornado, she blows into her new position at an advertising agency, upsetting work friendships, workflow, and for some… emotional stability.
Alexa is the epitome of the high-powered professional. She has looks, style, and an impressive resume. You either like Alexa or you don’t, and both of those opinions are held among her new coworkers.
However, there is a third. One of impressionable awe with a dose of intimidation thrown in. Unfortunately for her, co-worker Rosie falls into the last category.
A forgettable young woman, Rosie is quickly pulled into Alexa’s web. The gal-pal time is a welcome respite from her closely held secret—an ill mother and a mountain of debt.
In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, Rosie had to admit she could no longer care for her mother at home. After Rosie’s dad walked away when she was a toddler, her mom made whatever sacrifices necessary to give her a good life. Now Rosie feels she at least owes her dear mom the same. Private care is expensive, but she refuses to submit her mother to the same hell her grandmother went through in a state facility.
Rosie suffers in silence, barely meeting her personal expenses each month.
When Alexa discovers Rosie’s secret, she’s ambivalent and even a cold. But with her usual quick-change personality, in the end, she offers to help Rosie with her bills… an offer Rosie accepts but knows she will regret.
Of course, being Alexa’s sweet friend comes at a price and it is steep.
Besides being at Alexa’s beck and call for her emotional meltdowns and rants about some mysterious ex who’s stalking her, Rosie also finds herself doing more of Alexa’s work in the office… and defending her to coworkers. Time with the controlling Alexa has even caused Rosie to miss visits to see her mom.
Rosie isn’t alone in falling under Alexa’s sway as Jack abruptly falls into a hot affair that cools quickly along with his positive opinion of Alexa.
Confused about their relationships with the skilled manipulator, Jack and Rosie, good friends before Alexa entered the picture, don’t turn to each other.
This is very telling at how masterful a liar and schemer Alexa is. She had Jack believing things about Rosie he KNEW were out of character for her… but he went along with it. She also cast her shortcomings onto Rosie, making her appear inept at the job she once handled with aplomb.
The pressure of her mother’s situation and mounting debt send Rosie into counseling where she discovers something else… resentment toward Alexa.
Armed with new emotional tools and a stronger sense of self, Rosie begins to move away from her former friend.
The bottom falls out quickly when Alexa’s past catches up to her. But like a true sociopath, Alexa continues to play victim without thought of any harm she’s done. Incredibly, she ponders ways to play on the sympathies of others and remain the center of attention.
This is the second book I’ve read by H.A. Leuschel and again she delivers an intense character study in an engaging short read.
In Tess & Tattoos, she showed how a brief friendship had a positive and lasting effect on everyone it touched. In My Sweet Friend, we see the opposite. Alexa’s well thought out manipulations have a negative impact on the entire office, but we can only hope it isn’t lasting.
I highly recommend this intriguing page-turner to anyone who’s ever crossed paths with a true narcissist… and is still standing! The only downside is the pages run out too quickly.
A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives.
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.
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