ARC review: Bossed by Sloane Howell

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All Jenny Jackson wants is a better job. Her father is terminally ill and his bills are piling up, so when she gets an interview for a position offering twice as much as her current salary, she jumps all over it. Too bad she runs into the biggest jerk of her life as she’s lost and rushing, trying not to be late. They exchange some choice words and Jenny tries to brush off the encounter, but lo and behold, the guy is there to interview her.

Turns out that the cocky jerk, Ethan Mason, is the owner of the agency. Jenny’s interview is awful. Ethan fires question after question at her, not giving her a chance to show her knowledge since he’s obviously already formed a negative opinion of her. Convinced that she’ll never get the position anyway, Jenny corrects Ethan’s mistaken baseball stats and gets ready to storm out. Ethan, against his better judgment, hires her.

–SOME MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD–

I actually feel really conflicted about this book.  On the one hand, I enjoyed both characters at the beginning of the book. Jenny was spunky, sassy, and didn’t put up with any crap from Ethan. Ethan seems like your typical cocky young millionaire (you’ll find his type in almost any new adult book these days), but he’s sharp-tongued and quick on his feet.

On the other hand, the characters were not consistent.

As the book goes on, Jenny loses her spunkiness. She’s no longer sassy. Demanding, maybe, but not spunky and sassy. And even though she’s demanding, she (in my opinion) puts up with a whole lot of nonsense from Ethan. She continually gives him chances that he does not deserve and then acts surprised when he does something that hurts her.

Also as the book goes on, Ethan turns into a very weak character. Given the way he’s presented at the beginning of the book, I would never expect him to con Jenny into a date, but that’s exactly what he does. He pretends that they have a client meeting and then expects her to be okay when he basically says, “Just kidding, but I figured you’d say no if I asked you out for real!”

And Jenny, with all her spunkiness and sassiness, is like “Heck no! I don’t have time for this!” and she runs away, but then ends up hooking up with him in a car like a teenager?  And why?  Because he’s cute?  Lots of boys are cute, Jenny. This particular boy has some growing up to do.

I had no sympathy for their relationship. Although the sex was hot, that’s not enough to sustain a relationship – or even a romance novel plot. To be honest, the plot and the characters left a lot to be desired. I think this type of book would be enjoyed more by someone who has not worked in a corporate environment. As I was reading, I just kept seeing red flags flying.

I mean, there are the blatant things, like Ethan’s constant harassment of Jenny at work. At one point, he literally calls her into an empty conference room and rubs his dick against her. Like, they’re not even dating. Not even having any kind of thing yet. He claims that he acts like a tyrannical ass at work because he’s paranoid about losing his company, but then he goes and rubs his dick on a cute new employee, all because he gets some kind of ~vibe~ that she likes him? That’s a good way to go to jail.

And even setting that aside, there’s this weird offhand comment by one of Jenny’s co-workers that basically amounts to fraud. She buys Jenny lunch one day while Ethan is out of the office, and pretty much says “I’m going to hide this meal in my expense reports! Hahaha! Perks of being an accountant lol!” I mean, as someone whose office has had problems with shady accountants, that really rubbed me the wrong way. Again, for Ethan being so paranoid about something happening to his company, I cannot believe that his accountants can just hide stuff in their expense reports!

And finally, we have Ethan’s whole “I expect the world from my employees and they have to always be here and always do their best work! Nobody can take a sick day!” attitude, but Jenny is allowed to stay home for weeks at a time? Sometimes for no reason other than she and Ethan had a fight? I mean, I thought that Jenny needed money? And I thought that Ethan was supposed to be really heartless about any exceptions to the rules?

So, anyway, you’re probably wondering, if you made it this far into the novel I’ve written about my opinions on Bossed, why did I give it three stars if I had eight paragraphs of complaints about it?  Well, here are four reasons:

  1. The writing was good. I might not have been a huge fan of the characters or the plot, but there’s no denying that Sloane Howell knows how to write a book. Even in my advanced copy, there were no noticeable errors.
  2. The banter between Jenny and Ethan at the beginning was great. I loved that she gave it back to him just as much as he gave it to her.
  3. I liked that Jenny was intelligent and didn’t just claim to be a baseball fan to get the job. She actually knew her stuff and wasn’t afraid to correct Ethan if he messed up a statistic.
  4. OF COURSE, the sex scenes were hot. They weren’t terribly repetitive and I didn’t cringe even once.

So, in some ways, this book was good. In other ways, I was disappointed. Bossed might not have been exactly my cup of tea, but I would absolutely be willing to try out another of Sloane Howell’s books.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Thanks to Netgalley and Loveswept for the ARC!