Uncomfortable. The power dynamics in this made me very uncomfortable. While this started off with a lot of potential – the writing is solid, the characters are interesting, and the hate to love office dynamic is one that I can’t get enough of – it wasn’t long before red flags started popping up. And then it just devolved into a LOT of inappropriate steam that made me feel dirty. I felt bad for this hero. He is such a sweet, cinnamon roll of a man, but this heroine… whew, she literally dismisses him after sex, makes him feel used again and again, and breaks his heart at every turn. I really don’t understand how we’re supposed to root for these two. Pair that with the focus on sexual harassment – while the heroine is borderline sexually harassing her intern – and… this just wasn’t a fulfilling romance.
The story follows Wesley, a 25-year-old just starting out at a new internship. While he was looking forward to working with his new boss, their relationship starts off on the wrong foot when Corrine overhears him (awkwardly) laughing at an inappropriate comment about her. Corrine (30) is a workaholic who deals with small – and not-so-small – acts of sexual harassment against her on a daily basis. She has accepted it as part of her job, but doesn’t want to hear it from an employee. So, Corrine does everything she can to make Wesley’s job miserable. But once Corrine begins to realize what a good guy Wesley is, their relationship shifts… and it’s not long before she’s doing some inappropriate things in the workplace herself.
I started off enjoying this, and there were several moments throughout that pulled me back in. Wesley is a great guy, and I loved the opposites attract relationship. There was some serious potential for him to soften Corrine’s edges, and there are a few scenes that started to go there. But then Corrine would do something that made me uncomfortable again. It’s a very sex-focused relationship that accelerates abruptly – and at the worst times. There’d be a scene of Corrine being sexually harassed by her boss, and then suddenly she’d be demanding that Wesley (her employee) make her forget with sex. Which… yeah. Don’t know what to say about that. Maybe if Wesley didn’t seem so desperate for approval, it wouldn’t have been so cringey. But he asks for validation of his (sexual) performance, makes pleas for more than sex, and gets disappointed or dismissed at every turn. It just didn’t sit right. So every time I started to get invested in the book again, something else would make me uncomfortable. I appreciate what the author was going for here, but I can’t say that it was successful. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this steamy office romance.
“An intoxicating blend of wholesome sweetness and tear-off-your-clothes steam…Ruby Barrett’s writing leaves me breathless.” —Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate
“Sexy, smart, and fiercely feminist.” —Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test
A meet-cute gone wrong is the start of a surprising courtship in this fresh, modern take on the workplace romance from debut author Ruby Barrett
Corrine Blunt knows what people think of her—she’s an icy, unapproachable executive. It’s the price she’s had to pay to get to the top. But there’s knowing you have a reputation in the office, and there’s hearing your new intern laugh when someone calls you “Blunt the C*nt” in the elevator on his first day.
She’d hoped to finally find an ally in Wesley Chambers, but she’s not about to let him off the hook for joining the office boys’ club. Taking refuge in the professional boundaries between them, she relegates Wes to assistant work—which would do the trick, if he weren’t so eager to prove he’s a decent human being.
Wes is sincerely apologetic, insisting it was a misunderstanding, and to her surprise, Corrine believes him. Being forced to work together was one thing, but long hours at the office with what turns out to be a kind, thoughtful man soon has their business relationship turning personal, and things get complicated—fast. Could this be something more serious than either of them dared to hope for? Or is their relationship just playing into the harmful power dynamics Corrine’s had to endure her entire career?
About the Author:
Ruby Barrett’s romances center women who demand to be loved as they are and the good-natured, vulnerable men who earn their hearts.
When she’s not writing about love in its many forms, she’s reading. And when she’s not doing either of those things you can find her chasing her tiny queen (read: daughter), doing (digital) marketing, drinking tea (never coffee), wearing pants (that aren’t jeans), (re) watching The Office, or exploring museums (in other cities).
She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her aforementioned tiny queen, and her husband (who she kisses a lot).
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