I struggled to give this book an accurate numerical rating and I'm not sure that even now I achieved my goal. My issue is that I know that I am biased against the theme of this book and it's difficult to rate the substance of a book when you are automatically turned off by the story line.
Tempting The Boss is what I call a "role reversal" book in that the boss is the female character, Victoria. The "tempter" is the handyman/bodyguard Dean. And right from there, me and this book started a rocky, albeit brief, relationship. I found out something important about myself as a romance reader- I'm a little (or a lot) sexist. Whatever it says about me, I just don't like a book where the female character takes the dominant role and the male character is broke and a little pitiful. I admit I don't mind if both characters are rich or both characters are poor, but if there's a disparity, I don't like it going in the direction it did in this book. However, I'm just not sure if that should effect my rating because the blurb of this book tells you what it's about so readers like me can just bypass it. I didn't read the blurb before I read the book because I read the first two books in the series and I liked them. I just assumed this one would be along the same lines. It wasn't and I don't think I should punish the author for that so my 2 star rating was my attempt to just rate the book if I wasn't biased. I'm telling you all this so you know up front to take my review and rating with a huge grain of salt.
In the beginning of the book Victoria is the CEO of her families company and Dean is the onsite handyman of a corporate event she is throwing. Right from jump, Victoria is rude, cold and calculating. In the first scene of the book Victoria is yelling at Dean for dropping one screw on the floor hours before her event was set to start. And oh, it gets better. At some point during their first day knowing each other a situation arises in which Dean has to save Victoria's life. I had to go back and read the scene twice because I thought I missed something. Victoria does not even thank Dean for saving her LIFE! She is still rude to him, marginalizes his concerns for her safety and continues with her work event.
I absolutely wanted to put the book down at that point and just stop reading but I held out hope that Victoria and Dean could improve their situation.and their interactions with one another. Didn't happen. As the book progresses or digresses depending on your perspective, Dean is continuously protecting Victoria. Victoria's response continues to be to degrade Dean for his concern. Eventually she makes a comment like 'what are you going to do if I'm in trouble, change a light bulb' ...because he's a handyman.... Yes, Victoria is depicted as being under stress so while she's normally a b!tch, I think the author wanted us to attribute her behavior in the book to her stress.
What I couldn't understand and would effect my rating of any book is why Dean put up with Victoria. Why did Dean care about her? Why did he develop feelings for her? And for that matter, why did Victoria start to care about Dean? Yes, at some point in the book they start to have some earth shattering sex but outside of that, Victoria continues to be an ice queen and Dean continues to be her punching bag. I just couldn't like that or even really understand it.
I'm ashamed of myself because there's a chance that if the roles had been reversed in this book, I wouldn't have disliked it quite as much. I don't know. I do know that this was a romance novel in which I never got the justification for the romance and that's a problem. The writing is good, the pace is good- this is a really easy read. There is a mystery/suspense component but I figured that out pretty quickly and there were no unexpected twist though there is a twist of sorts.
My advice to potential readers is this: If you like a dominating, cold female and don't mind the man being her subordinate of sorts, you might be ok with this book. If you're like me, this isn't going to be the book to change your mind about romance role reversal.
P.S. If you've read any of my past reviews, you know I hate weak heroines, I do. My problem with Victoria was not that she was strong, my problem was that she was rude for no valid reason. What really bothered me was that even after Victoria "connected" to Dean, she continued to be inexplicable ill mannered. Assertive and rude have very different definitions. Google the words if you don't believe me.
**ARC provided by RockStarLit PR**
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