A sweet but strange hero, a nice but forgettable heroine, and a rushed ending—I’m not going to lie; I will probably read the next few in the series because we get to see more characters and the sex was hot.
I tried to read this book, but couldn’t get past the sexual harassment on page 10, so romance fiction aficionado Gabby kindly agreed to read and review it for Book Thingo. You can read more of her reviews at Orchid and Peach Cocktails.
Having recently returned to the country, I’ve been astounded by the amount of fanfic that has been published in the mainstream—now obviously riding on the tailwind of Fifty Shades of Grey. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren is another example of such Twific though, in my humble opinion, executed much better. But maybe this is because Edward and Bella’s characteristics were so subtle they were barely seen…
Chloe Mills is a 28-year old intern working for the prestigious Ryan Media Group where she’s completing her MBA. Her boss is none other than the Beautiful Bastard himself, Bennett Ryan. Bennett is a dick. He’s overbearing and rude, and is making Chloe’s life hell. But surprisingly, they work really well together. It also doesn’t hurt that they have this wicked attraction to each other and have to stop themselves from fucking all over the office.
That is until Bennett breaks and starts to grope Chloe in his office.
What follows is a passionate affair that threatens both of their careers and their respective sanity. They have to learn to negotiate their apparent hatred of each other and how that’s actually changing into something that isn’t quite like hatred at all. But rather, bone-jarringly good sex.
When Bennett first made his move on Chloe (are their names ridiculously bland, or is it just me?) I expected her to turn around and slap him across the face. I knew that she thought he was sexy, but her resentment towards him had been pretty thoroughly described, so the sudden change into sexy-times was quite jolting. But this is erotica after all, so I went with it.
Bennett and Chloe’s intense connection was made in several places around the office—the stairwell (Which no one uses except them apparently. No really, it was stated that they were the only people who use it. I don’t get it either), the carpark, against the glass window in the boardroom, and my personal favourite, the elevator. I liked their chemistry. I really liked their dirty talk.
But what threw me was the style of writing. It was often juvenile in places and I had to remind myself that though this was originally fanfic, it isn’t anymore. Yet with the switching perspectives, we were treated to gems from Bennett like ‘Bossy much?’ and the self-referential ‘creeper’. He didn’t sound like a self-possessed businessman and Lothario. Instead, he fumbled and sputtered, and referred to making it with a woman as ‘sealing the deal’. Bennett would command Chloe to say sexy things that gave him power, but he was also needy. When it wasn’t distracting, it was strangely endearing but it felt as though I was reading a YA novel with filthy sex as opposed to erotica. Both characters seemed younger than their actual ages.
I didn’t get to know Chloe very well. Outside of work, the only thing that she seemed to like doing was shopping for underwear and hanging out with her two friends. I wish that the authors had chosen to give her more…something that wasn’t work and Bennett. There was a glimpse of that with her father, but he was quickly brushed aside as though his illness had been written in as a manoeuvre to force intimacy between the two.
The emotional attachment seemed quite sudden. I liked the way Chloe and Bennett were given a chance, in the form of a business trip, to take a time out from their ridiculous habits of hating each other to just hang out in an actual bedroom and talk a bit. But the subsequent declaration, complication and HEA didn’t quite hit the spot. It’s a pet peeve of mine when months pass in a book and are summarised in a few words and have left the characters with poor mental health and a drastically thinner physique (mainly because of jealousy that they’re not stress eaters like me). They weren’t given enough reasons to like each other, other than great sex.
I’m not going to lie; I will probably read the next few in the series because we get to see more characters and the sex was hot. In fact, I’ll leave you with a stunning bit of mastery from our hero, where he miraculously seems to sprout a third hand to properly fuck our heroine:
He forced my skirt up on my thighs and pushed me back on the conference table. Before I could utter a single word, he took hold of my ankles, grabbed his cock, and took a step forward, thrusting deep inside me.
Yay or nay?
After finishing the book, I’m having trouble figuring out where I stand with it. I’m normally a love it or hate it kinda girl and I didn’t feel either. It was funny in places, making me snort embarrassingly on the bus, but it really rushed to an ending. Bennett was sweet but strange, written with all the prerequisites of an alpha hero but missing the mark when it came to execution. Chloe was nice but quite forgettable, and though she was ambitious and driven, there had to be something more to her life than study and work.
Who might enjoy it: Fans of erotica who are looking for something better than Fifty Shades
Who might not enjoy it: Romance readers looking for a deep and convincing emotional connection
A reading copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher.