I’m going to admit it. Workplace romances are inherently problematic. Especially if one of the characters, usually the male, is the boss. That doesn’t mean that you can’t write them and that they can’t be done well. The author just needs to acknowledge the power differential and give the other person agency and power of their own. This is the problem with Fifty Shades of Grey: Ana doesn’t have agency.
That is not the problem with Yes, Please by Willow Summers. This book is very much in the spirit of Fifty Shades of Grey, but without all of the awkward sex and rape connotations. The boss does want the subordinate for sex, that is never in doubt, but the heroine has agency. So let me tell you about it.
Five months out of college, Olivia is at her wits’ end… not to mention her pocketbook. When one of her friends tells her about an unusual position that’s opened up at one of the top firms, she’s not sure what to make of it. First off, she’s overqualified… way too overqualified… to be an personal assistant. Second, the position comes with strings. Strings she’s not sure she’d be comfortable with. For the length of her employment, she’d be expected to provide sexual release to her boss. In return, she’d be mentored by one of the best in the business. And at the end of her contract, she’d be placed in a high ranking management position within the company… assuming someone else didn’t poach her first. Think the Devil Wears Prada meets 50 Shades and you wouldn’t be far off.
Unfortunately, she’s freshly dumped and feeling decidedly down on her luck so she decides to take the chance.
Hunter has needs. Needs that he doesn’t have time to indulge in the process of taking his business global. He’s not looking for love or a relationship. He just wants someone competent… and sex. And he’s willing to pay for it.
When he meets Olivia, he knows she’s the one. Now he just needs to convince her of that.
To say that this book is hot is underselling it. The sex is steamy, sensual, and sexy. The chemistry between the leads sizzles. It is erotic fiction at its best. It’s also unusual in that the heroine actually has friends and a life outside of the hero. In addition, the book passes the Bechdel test. Which is beyond rare in erotic romance. Seriously. I can count the books on one hand.
Additionally the heroine isn’t a bland character. She’s got personality, sass. She both knows her worth and has insecurities. I liked her. Really liked her.
No doormats here.
Hunter is a very typical damaged poor little rich boy with trust and intimacy issues but the author hangs a lampshade on it. She makes it funny, not tragic. To the point where I found myself liking him, which I’m generally not a fan of alpha males.
(And here’s me being honest here, half the time I read alpha male romances because I know readers love them and I can’t write one to save my life. So it’s research for me.)
One of the best things about this book are the side characters. Brenda, Hunter’s Executive Assistant, is a wonderful character. She’s fun and funny. And then there’s Bert who is a joy in every scene he’s in.
However this book isn’t perfect. Not by any means. The formatting is wonky on the e-book and it hasn’t been fixed at the time I wrote this review. There’s serious inconsistency in how the texting/instant messaging is written.
And while the story ends on a Happy for Now ending, it’s clearly a hook for the rest of the series. (Which I did buy and will review later.)
There’s also some clicheness going on. While tropes aren’t bad, cliches are. I’d probably give them a pass if the formatting was on point.
But because it is, I can only give this Four stars
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