The Man Means Business
I got this book as part of a romance bundle for my Kindle, and it was only after I "read" it that I realized it's a Silhouette Romance. So the hilarious terrible-ness of this book is something I actually should have anticipated.
I read the first few pages of this book; I actually thought it was supposed to be a quick, sexy romance, and the premise was sort of interesting (well, it would have been if it were a sexy romance ... ) so I plodded through the first few pages before I'd had it.
This book has all of the worst things about the Silhouette series - an infantile, moronic female protagonist, a 'powerful' 'businessman' who doesn't know how to have fun, and a conflict that no one cares about or that would really exist for people who weren't cursed with the reasoning capacity of a goldfish.
Storyline: employee (some kind of executive assistant) of the owner of a security company gets asked by her boss (hard-nosed, hard-working, demanding type, of course, Silhouette knows no other kind of boss cause that would involve characters with depth exceeding that of the bowl of the aforementioned goldfish) to go to Hawaii to meet an 'important prospective client'. Not sure why. Not going back to find out. She agonizes, then agrees. They of course "see each other in a new light" while on vacation and fall into a romance. Well, not really. Unless you count a whole lot of really boring mental agonizing and seeing the stupidest woman alive (who has somehow managed to work her way up to a job with someone else named "Frank" which apparently is supposed to be a promotion - except that she's working for the head of the company so ... hmm, how is this a promotion?) beat herself up for four chapters for having "kissed" him - ONCE. Oh, and she can't drink; the two Mai Tai's she consumes mean the whole next day she's perishing of a hangover.
For the first four chapters, they are like an infomercial on 'how to be an good employee' complete with awkward conversations like:
HNB (Hard Nosed Boss): "You'll be moving over to Frank's department in June."
IW (Infantile Woman): "All thanks to you."
HNB: "You caught me in a rare moment of gratitude for all our hard work. You graduate with your degree in business this spring, don't you?"
IW: "That's right. I wouldn't have been able to take the night classes without your paying for my tuition."
HNB: "I didn't pay it," he growled. "The company did. It was strictly a sound business decision. With your knowledge of the company and your quick grasp of things, it would be foolish to hold you back from exercising your full potential."
Their first kiss sounds disgusting:
"Now he knew exactly ... how she tasted as her soft mouth opened to his like a budding flower."
What does that feel like, exactly? Has the author kissed a budding flower? Is she a fan of said bud-kissing?
... well, she must, cause she actually uses the reference twice:
"She placed her hands tentatively and leaned closer, her mouth opening to him like a rosebud blossoming."
She does know a budding flower is a BUD, right? And if it is a budding flower, that kiss has gotta take like two days to actually complete the blossoming process? Is it awkwardly poetic? Is the author trying to say that the kiss seemed to take two days? Because that really doesn't sound fun OR sexy.
Wondering the moment that the HNB realized she was an 'attractive woman' not just 'efficient drone'? Oh, that would be when she came into the airport wearing jeans, a PARKA, and ANKLE BOOTS! For heaven's sake. I assume since they lived in Chicago, he's probably seen her in her coat before, maybe even those sexy ankle boots. And there is no way that jeans reveal more than a tailored business suit (the author is careful to emphasize how modest this chick is, always covering her perfect body, so I guarantee there were neither tight jeans at the airport, nor short skirts at the office).
The infantile female really bothers me. She's terrified of flying (a legitimate fear but for goodness sakes give me a reason for it!). The HNB is always thinking about how wonderful her "wide-eyed enthusiasm" is but the reality is, it's like she's been living under a rock her entire life and has never seen ANYTHING: "Rocks! Trees! Pretty Flowers! My Eyes are WIDE!!!"
There is an attempt to give her some depth by saying that six years ago, she had a boyfriend, but came home one day and found him with her roommate. She was very hurt by this. And she's afraid of being hurt again. So she hasn't dated. For SIX years. It would be one thing if the guy had seemed important to her, but she tells the story with all the feeling of an automaton; it feels very much like a plot device (or more accurately, a way of wrestling the plot into submission so that there's no untidy ends laying around).
The author attempts to talk about how smart she is, how hard-working, and how successful she is at her job.
The morning after she wakes up with the hangover, HNB goes out for some reason (in my humble opinion, probably because he was tired of listening to her complain about her 2-drink hangover that managed to make her feel unable to shower for several hours - so maybe he was tired of the smell? I don't know). Anyway, he comes back, letting himself in with his key:
"When he saw her, he grinned and said, 'Ignore the ransom note, I managed to escape.'"
Jodie jumped up and stared at him in shock. "You were kidnapped?" she asked, her voice going up.
He paused before closing the door. "Sorry, I was just making a joke. I was gone longer than I expected to be."
She lowered herself back into the chair, feeling silly for overreacting.
I'm sorry, but please. Join with me in saying, this chick is TOO STUPID TO LIVE. Yes, Jodie, he was kidnapped. But he managed to keep his key card, and return from this near-death experience completely unrumpled, with a GRIN, and despite the fact that she's been moping around the beautiful Hawaiian condo all day, has not seen any ransom notes lying around. Feeling SILLY? I would have quit my job right there if I was that dumb.
Then there are conversations like THIS gem, when she asks him:
"How should I behave toward your prospective client tomorrow?"
He studied her for a moment in silence. Finally he said, "No striptease, no hula, and no playing the ukulele."
"Striptease? I've never done anything like that in my—" she stopped. "You're teasing me again."
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.
Anyway, the book ends with her, of course, quitting her job (don't ask me why, probably something about her angst and general moronic stupidity, by this point I was scanning through pages so fast that I could have felt the breeze if it weren't a Kindle book). He follows her, and proposes.
I have to conclude that HNB deserves her. He's has a lot of chances and some not-so-subtle clues that what he's calling "joyful innocence" is just idiocy and bad writing, but he hasn't gotten it yet.
I wish them luck. And I really really hope they don't procreate (cause a sequel to this would probably give me an aneurysm).