The X Ingredient by Roslyn Sinclair

(10 customer reviews)

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Author: Roslyn Sinclair


A smart, sexy lesbian romance about facing the truth about your desires…and risking everything.

Laurie Holcombe is out of a job, out of luck, and out of time. When a prestigious law firm hires her as an assistant to one of its senior partners, it feels like she might finally get back on her feet. All she has to do is put up with the whims of her infuriatingly icy boss, Diana. How hard could that be?


Diana Parker is Atlanta’s top lawyer and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it. She’s driven, ruthless, demanding, and stuck in a failing marriage. Too bad she can’t run her personal life as well as she runs her ordered office.


When a young assistant shows up with bright blue eyes, a cute Southern accent, and a streak of pink hair, Diana’s sure she’s all wrong for the job. And yet something seems to be pulling her and Laurie Holcombe together, drawing them into a secret, thrilling dance that’s far too dangerous for a boss and employee.


Can they make rules for this powerful attraction, a way to keep each other at arm’s length? But how do you resist the irresistible?



Additional information

Publication Date

September 2019


epub (for Kindle Reader/Kindle Apps, for iBooks, Nook etc.), mobi, and pdf


103,000 words




978-3-96324-272-4 (mobi), 978-3-96324-273-1 (epub), 978-3-96324-274-8 (pdf)


Ylva Publishing

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10 reviews for The X Ingredient by Roslyn Sinclair

  1. Karen Reno-Cobb


    This book was everything I was hoping for! I loved the fanfic version, but the changes made this even better for me. I had no problem at all seeing Diana as an Asian-American and Laurie as a beautiful buxom blonde. Their chemistry was off the charts but I loved the story as well. Age gap plus taboo plus workplace plus rich girl/poor girl equals perfection.

  2. Karola


    ***free ARC
    Desire, that book‘s all about desire. Happiness, love, lust, truth, even the fear of getting caught brings up a desire in Diana for Laurie and she‘s so ready and willing to let Laurie have her in every way. I really enjoyed this book.

  3. cheekybugger13


    Having read Telanu’s fanfic of the same title first a while ago and had since been waiting in anticipation for its full publication because, first, “The X Ingredient” was so superbly written and told that when Telanu left me hanging at the end of the fanfic version with a promise of a full publication at a later time, I was beside myself with horror because….well, I really wanted to know what happened in the second act and Telanu spared no mercy with that cliffhanger! That was prolly 2 years ago?

    As you know, Telanu is Roslyn Sinclair’s fanfic pen name – and whilst we’re at it, I HIGHLY recommend you to go get yourself some Telanu reads because they’re simply a cut above, you’ll never realise you’re reading a fanfic piece! Her “Truth & Measure” (DWP)? Truly outstanding, one of my all-time favourite lesfic and I don’t even classify it as a fanfic, really. Top notch quality writing. Ok, ok, I’m sorry. I think I just went off-tangent here! THIS is about Ms. Sinclair’s newest book, “The X Ingredient,” the finished product of its original incomplete fanfic piece, which, technically is not, since Sinclair practically overhauled the entire DWP-inspired setting, basically scrubbing off any trace of it, toned down the level of “explicitness” (you know what I mean!) but just little bit (no worries!), and reworked it into an office romance in a high-powered law firm with a new premise of the story. Now, if you’ve never read the fanfic, then you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about and it really doesn’t matter because this book is practically a newly crafted book, really. So, you can ignore what I just said about the fanfic.

    Having said that, the nature of the romance between the 2 MCs remained the same – age-gap, rich girl/poor girl, boss/assistant, thawing the ice queen, forbidden love, coming out later in life (latebian), light D/s. For me as someone who read the fanfic first, I had to readjust to the change in the story setting initially but when I sank my teeth into it, I enjoyed it very much. I mean, who doesn’t like an office romance, eh? Especially when it’s devilishly written with erotic, delish effect!

    As such, the office romance began with Laurie rushing through to her job interview with Diana, one of the named partners in the prestigious law firm and a renowned attorney in the city. Chemistry practically oozed from the start when Laurie first laid eyes on the prim and proper, exquisitely dressed, no-BS, gorgeous woman – Diana – who’d either hire her at the end of her interview or kick her to the kerb for being an utter loser especially with her pink streaked hair!

    Before I proceed further, I need to point out that I loved Sinclair’s approach to presenting BOTH MCs’ POV, in alternate chapters and/or segments. So, I was able to explore Laurie and Diana’s romance from both of their vantage points because this story, imo, benefited from the reader being able to get into either character’s psyche do better understand their emotional journey as well as all their nuances as their attraction became more serious and deeper, effectively invested in their journey as lovers and individuals. So, thank you, Ms. Sinclair for opening up both Laurie and Diana’s very different POVs!

    I utterly loved how Sinclair described both of these polar opposites – not only in age, but appearance and demeanour – as they quietly assessed each other as the interview went on. In my opinion, Sinclair has a knack for nailing her characters’ internal musings when it came to physical attraction. Laurie’s instant attraction toward Diana was palpable, thanks to Sinclair’s richly described nuances of what Laurie was thinking about and her body language.

    Whereas Laurie’s attraction was acutely described, Diana’s was far more muted and calculated in how Sinclair depicted her confused feelings that surprised her to the core. I could sense Diana’s internal turmoil about why Laurie had this almost instant magnetic pull on her. That’s why I love Sinclair (Telanu)’s way of characterising every emotion, be it verbal or non-verbal, that her characters experience because the effect of her written expressions resonate. That’s exactly what she did with Laurie and Diana’s internal monologues. Especially Diana’s, because she was such an ice queen, a little fish out of water when it came to her unexplained attraction toward Laurie.

    Speaking of our resident ice queen, I utterly LOVED Diana!!! Yes, I’m partial to ice queen characters especially those with the sharpest, caustic tongues! Having known just how brilliant Telanu/Sinclair is in writing fabulously devilish ice queen characters, I was dead chuffed to explore Diana’s character! And my anticipation was positively sated by Sinclair’s perfect portrayal of Diana! Right from the start, her visual description of Diana’s character, physically, mentally and emotionally brought Diana to life. I could clearly see her character in my mind’s eye, as she tried to no avail to repel Laurie’s increasingly irresistible pull. The icier and more caustic she was in her interaction towards Laurie, the more dismissive she behaved, the MORE sizzling their undeniable chemistry was, it was deliciously erotic!

    I just loved how Sinclair displayed Diana’s utter confusion with her own actions with visually compelling expressions that I couldn’t help but felt Diana’s dilemma, her struggle to reconcile with her true self as her sexual awakening became more prevalent and inevitable. Sinclair effectively portrayed Diana’s journey of coming out later in life (she was in her 40s) – her chronic denial, lifetime of conditioning due to her religious upbringing, family expectations – with resonating effect.

    I utterly enjoyed this push-pull between Laurie and Diana as their attraction toward each other reached fever pitch. Their first kids in the elevator was intoxicatingly breathtaking, acutely seductive and hotly passionate. Brief but thanks to Sinclair’s innate flair in describing every move, every emotion, every desire of what both of them were experiencing, that stolen moment reverberated with fervour. Both smitten characters were headily undone.

    Hence, it marked the start of their physical intimacy experience which became increasingly erotic, not to mention the fact that theirs began as a D/s arrangement which was steamy, carnal and all-around electrifying, to say the least! Let’s just say that Sinclair’s flair in writing explicit scenes with such vivid detail, gives Meghan O’Brien, my favourite erotic romance writer, a run for her own money! Erotic, sensual, intoxicating, heady. And the D/s interactions between Laurie and Diana? Absolutely fun to read and explore as these two’s relationship slowly shifted gears as their emotional intimacy started to overshadow their physical one.

    Needless to say, I have a feeling fans of erotic, light D/s romance will enjoy exploring this intriguing relationship! I sure did! And oh, I was so very glad that Sinclair decided to use one of the brilliantly crafted oh-so erotic scenes from one of her DWP fanfic pieces (if you’ve read Telanu’s fanfics, you’d know which one I’m talking about!) involving the…ahem…”vibrator” for this story! Trust me, you’re gonna have so much fun with it! I did! Bloody well done, Ms. Sinclair!

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the secondary characters, Jenny Kayce, the cosmetic company mogul who was Diana’s de facto client (you’ll have to read the book to find out how she came to be). I utterly enjoyed all her scenes because she offered the funny side of the story with her eclectic character! Hilarious interactions with both Diana and Laurie! And.. 2 words: “Kayce case”..!!! LOL! I know, out of context but wait until you read it and you’ll know what I mean!

    All in all, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed Diana and Laurie’s unique romance which, to say that it was refreshingly fun, addictive and utterly absorbing, would be an understatement! Again, if you’re familiar with Telanu’s DWP fanfic, you’d be in for a whole lot of explicit thrills! Now, whilst I utterly loved this office romance, I wish there were more fleshed out office situations involving the secondary characters, if only to give Diana and Laurie’s forbidden love and their clandestine relationship a little more depth and a sense of danger/riskiness of being caught all throughout their journey. Since it was an office romance, I’d hoped to explore Laurie and Diana’s respective relationship with at least one or two characters working in the firm. Perhaps some banters of some sort. Maybe I was expecting something like the original fanfic. So ignore me because the lack of it really didn’t affect the overall effectiveness of the romance. It’s just my personal preference, mind!

    Having said that, I HIGHLY recommend to every lesfic romance reader this brilliantly written forbidden, unorthodox romance that will keep you entertained from start to finish. It’s also a compellingly told journey of sexual awakening, self-discovery and coming out for such a self-assured, successful, powerful and steadfast character like Diana who thought she had her life and herself all figured out in her 40s. I thought Sinclair depicted her journey of truth and reconciliation, acceptance and eventual coming out later in life with acute sensitivity and resonance. I loved it.

    For me, “The X Ingredient” was a bloody fun and fab read, that’s for sure! Reread material? Yes! If only to enjoy re-visiting the thawing of the utterly delish ice queen!

    Read it and find out for yourself!

    **I was given, with much thanks and appreciation, an ARC of this book, by Ylva in return for an honest review.

  4. Betty Harmon


    This is one steamy tale! The X Ingredient by Roslyn Sinclair is the second book I’ve read by her. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, The Lily and the Crown, so I figured I might like this one as well. I did indeed enjoy reading this novel.

    The story begins when we meet Laurie Holcombe, who is heading for a job interview at a prestigious law firm. She hopes to become the personal assistant to Diana Parker, the lead lawyer in the firm. Laurie really needs this job, since her current workplace is downsizing, and her job is being phased out, but with her youth and the pink stripe in her hair, she doesn’t look the part for the job. At least that is Diana’s first impression. Diana Parker is the ultimate ice queen. She can best be described as driven and unyielding, both at her job and in her personal life. She is on her second husband though the marriage is failing. Diana is not gay. She is positive of that…absolutely positive, even though she can’t get that young woman with the pink stripe in her hair out of her mind. Diana ends up hiring Laurie almost in spite of herself, and Diana’s life pretty much spirals out of her control.

    Ms. Sinclair has written a tale with two very well-developed characters with a chemistry that is almost off the charts. I loved the way these two very different characters interacted with each other. This is, of course a character driven story as well as a workplace romance, age gap romance, and even a coming out story. I was able to connect with both characters, though they did surprise me in how the dynamics of their relationship unfolded. You will have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about.

    This is a very steamy romance with a lot of sex scenes, but I was expecting that since Ms. Sinclair’s first book also contained its fair share of steamy scenes. I really enjoyed this story. If you love a good erotic romance with great characters and an interesting and sometimes unexpected storyline, then this is the book for you.

    I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

  5. judith.silberfeld



    Phew, that was hot!

    I wish I hadn’t known this was based on DWP fanfic, because it took me a while to get the images from the movie out of my mind and let new ones appear. Not that I have anything against fanfic but this is so well-written that it doesn’t need any visual aid.

    Diana Parker is a hotshot lawyer in Atlanta looking for an assistant. Laurie Holcombe is a sociology student from Zebulon, Georgia, hoping to get to law school while paying her bills. She doesn’t seem like the right fit for the job but Diana soon learns that where Laurie is concerned, what seems wise might not actually be wise. Diana is so deep into the closet that acknowledging her attraction to Laurie kinda feels like the end of the world, and then feelings get into play and it gets even worse. But before that, the two women agree on some sort of arrangement that is supposed to protect Laurie from feeling used by her boss (and from getting her heart broken) and Diana from taking responsibility for her actions and admitting she might be gay (she’s married to a man and all that). It also inadvertently prevents them from talking about what they really want and feel. Which in a way makes the sex even hotter since it’s desperate.

    So obviously the sex was steamy – and not repetitive, which is in itself remarkable when there’s so much of it – but what really got to me were the tender gestures, as reluctant as they were. Every time Laurie asked Diana if she’s okay, my heart sighed.

    This ice queen / age gap / workplace erotic romance was my first book by this author, and this time I know why. It’s because I can be stubborn and foolishly snobbish when it comes to books (or movies or TV series) that everyone seems to love. It probably goes back to when I was a teenager and my way of coping with feeling different from every one else was to pretend I was above the hype. I’ve had Truth and Measure by Telanu (Sinclair’s fanfic pen name) at hand forever and never got around to reading it. Same with The Lily and the Crown. From the reviews I’ve read, they’re even more delightful than this, so my loss, obviously. The good news is, it’s never too late to set things right.

    I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

  6. jgalt_76

    (verified owner):

    The ladies above have elegantly provided details on what this book is about, and I agree wholeheartedly. My review is about how this book made me feel. The book made me feel wonderful, I laughed, I gasped and I got hot and bothered. The visual created by words, were so gorgeously scripted on the page. I felt like I was there, a fly on the wall, discreetly watching as two women enjoyed finding each other. The scene where Laurie knelt in front of Diana in her bathrobe – If I slipped my fingers beneath the edges of her robe… “Tell me to go.” that prelude was so well written and an absolute favourite because of how it made me feel. Well done Roslyn and thank you.

  7. Erika

    (verified owner):

    Just finished this and let me just say, oh my my, my myyyyy…. This is an age gap, work place, ice queen erotic romance highly recommended by Lee Winter and I can certainly see why. Laurie Holcombe interviews for a job as a personal assistant to Diana Parker – the top attorney at a prestigious Georgia law firm. But Laurie’s not at all who the icy, demanding woman envisioned to fill that position. She’s not polished, has a pink streak in her hair, and doesn’t dress to the nines, yet her attitude and drive intrigues Diana. Almost against her will, she gives Laurie the job on a trial basis. It doesn’t take long for sparks to fly, though neither is willing to admit or act on it. Diana is a married woman – and straight. Isn’t she? And Diana doesn’t know what Laurie’s sexual orientation is. Doesn’t want to know. Can’t go there. And yet…. What happens when the exquisite torture of staying away from each other becomes too great? This book is HOT. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11. Maybe a 12. And it’s not just sexual, there’s a good story behind it and characters you can’t help but root for. If steamy sex makes you uncomfortable, this wouldn’t be your cup of tea. But for those that do appreciate that, you can’t go wrong here. This is a great read. Hell of an introduction to an author’s work! Oh – and if it should ever come out on audiobook – with the right narrator – god help us. I’m having palpitations just thinking about it.

  8. payanke_



    That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of Roslyn Sinclair’s « The X Ingredient » from Ylva Publishing …
    It’s the very 1st time I read Roslyn Sinclair’s work.

    My rating : 2.5 ⭐️

    The story sets in Atlanta – GA, USA and focuses on Laurel « Laurie » Holcombe, a twenty-something woman who is out of a job, out of luck, and out of time & on the driven, ruthless, demanding Diana Parker, Atlanta’s top lawyer who’s stuck in her 2nd failing marriage … They met when Laurie and her pink streak of pink hair come to Diana’s office for a job interwiew about Diana’s Personal Assistant. Diana’s sure Laurie’s all wrong for the job. And yet something seems to be pulling her and Laurie together …

    The Pros :
    ° the age gap between the MCs
    ° the MCs’ difference of social classes
    ° having a biracial MC
    ° the narration, with its permanent skipping from one MC’s POV to the other while the story progresses …
    ° the good touches of humor found at the beginning of the book

    The Cons :
    ° At first there were some sexy & quite erotic moments that were enjoyable enough. But after a while (a very short one as a matter of fact) the novel isn’t a « sexy romance » (like qualified in the plot) anymore, it becomes pure erotica when the MCs begin to have their encounter (which can definitely not be qualified as « romantic rendez-vous », there’s nothing romantic in them) … And « erotica » is a trope, I’m not into…. And, to make things worst from my POV, you add :
    – the domination/submission thing and the « arrangement » which are highly tiring & just ridiculous … When you’re in a romantic relationship, there’s no such things, partners are equal ..
    – the MCs’ unhygienic encounters (= no washing hands before touching the other’s clit or, even worse, penetrating her fully… )

    ° the inconcistencies in the time line all the novel long … Oh, no, not about the general stream really, there’s always a progression here (even if it’s way too quick for my taste), that’s about the detailed « micro time line » that it becomes sloppy – A few examples :
    – Diana’s husband is supposed to come back to town on « Tuesday » but D asked Laurie to make a reservation for dinner on « Thursday » evening ‘cause her husband comes back to town that day and a bit later, you read that, all happens on … « Tuesday », like originally mentioned.
    – when they’re visiting Diana’s potential apartment, about the number of hours since they had their first « intimate » encounter the day before. It’s 7 :15pm and it’s said « less than twelve hours ago, that perfect mouth was between…. » => Nope !!! It’s more than that since it happened in the hotel room, before Laurie’s departure for the night …
    – when it comes to the meeting with Diana’s banker => it’s like at 3 :00pm, so in the middle of the afternoon but when the scene arrives, it’s said that « the meeting continues through lunch » …
    – when it comes to the coffee spilt on Diana’s shirt because of her « pencil eraser fantasy », it’s said that it’s about 4 :00pm and, later, in the apartment, when it’s mentioned, it said it was « this morning » … Since when 4 :00pm is « in the morning » ???

    ° Laurie’s wrong age => it’s said at the beginning of the novel that Diana is 46 years old & we learn during the reading that Laurie is 18 years younger than her ….So, Laurie should be 28 years old, not 25 !!! ‘cause, unless maths work differently in Georgia (and I bet they don’t !!) => 46-18 = 28
    ° Diana’s denial (if at this point you can still call this like that …) about her being a lesbian or bi or even « queer » could be comprehensible (because of the way she’s been raised) if she were 20 years old but she’s not !! Even far from it since she 46 years old, for God’s sake ! It’s quite tiring to read about this refusal since she’s the one who made a move on her lesbian assistant … and it definitely gets on the nerves when she continues after she had multiple orgasms given by this very same assitant …

    If I had to make a very short and quite different version of my review, it’d be something like this :
    – Did I enjoy this book? => At the beginning only …
    – Did I find the characters believable? => No …
    – Is this book now included in my « must be re-read »-list? => Nope …
    – Will I purchase the paperback? => Definitely not !!
    – Would I read another book by this author? => Maybe
    – Would I recommend this book => Yes …but only to erotica fans and/or people who don’t care about the inconsistencies !!

    Hey guys and gals, you know that now it’s your turn … So … Grab your own copy and make your own opinion …
    Enjoy (or not) your reading … 😉


  9. Word Saviour


    As much as I loved “The Lily and the Crown” I only liked “The X-Ingredient”. We have an idiom in german “nicht Fisch – nicht Fleisch” which could be translated to “neither fish nor fowl” and that’s what it felt to me. The romance between the MCs wasn’t strong enough, I missed some wit and banter in the dialogues and the overl all story didn’t speak to me.
    There are some very hot scences and they are very well written without suffering the usual clichés.
    I’ve read the fanfic and kudos to the author because not once did I picture Miranda or Andy while reading the novel and to write Diana as a biracial woman was very appealing to me.
    So, even if I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would, I’m really looking forward to the published version of “Truth and Measure”!

  10. Sarah Wiseman

    (verified owner):

    This is a brilliant book. Tbh the reviews on this site totally spoil the storyline. No spoiler warnings either. Frustrating.
    I read this first before reading these reviews thanks goodness. I had no idea its based on a dwp fanfic, but the fantasy – esk fell is explained by that knowledge. I’m not usually a fan of so called ice queen romances, it seems a mis nomer really. But, this book throws the genre on its head and shifts the power imbalance. You have to suspend a lot of disbelief, (like with most fiction) but it wasn’t hard for me to shed my critical eye, because the writing is so dynamic and full of a a vibrant energy I’ve only ever read in fanfic. I’m not surprised this began as fanfic because its so breathless and raw and powerful.
    I think this is better than lily and the flower (way better) and the audiobook is stunning… Imao! Lol!
    This is not for everyone, clearly, but I love it. If I could pick one lesfic book to save in a zombie apocalypse, this would be in my top 5 I’d choose it from… And each one of those is like my baby!

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