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Power Plays

Who’s the Boss? M. D. Alexander’s novella of the same name works to find that answer via an enemies to lovers office romance trope. I had a wonderful time seeing this grumpy billionaire and his (surprise!) equally cranky assistant find their way to each other's hearts.   This was a fast and sexy read that took me through the enemies to lovers journey without sacrificing all of the key moments common in that narrative arc.  

Symone is a woman who knows the in-and-outs of her job and is firm in her goals and boundaries.  This narrow, undeviating focus keeps her unflappable in the face of her boss’, Aiden, mercurial moods and raw communication style.  The narrative begins at the point where Aiden realizes Symone is the only person strong enough to have his back in at an intense family gathering. Aiden tramples over the boundary of Symone’s personal life and she has no choice but to comply as refusal will jeopardize her job.  Fate intervenes and soon Symone has the upper hand, but how will Aiden react when he’s back in charge? 

Who’s The Boss has excellent editing and  is a perfect path from enemies to lovers without feeling stiff or contrived. The expected romance plot points are clear, but fit smoothly in the world created by the author. The author portrays the fabulous wealth in the same casual manner as a moneyed coastal elite. Likewise, she portrays the newly affluent/ financially rising characters with grace and dignity in the face of great wealth and power. The dichotomy is there, but the humanity of each side is at the forefront. I appreciated that the male main character’s inciting wound is revealed closer to the beginning and the reader is not left frustrated at his choices and behaviors. I also appreciated that the female main character has multiple motivations for her choices and not just desperation and/or desire. 

Despite the sexy marketing and steamy scenes, the most prominent theme in this book is trust. Several characters have violated trust, certain characters are afraid to trust, and while others are too trusting. Of course, the main characters must learn to trust not only each other and the feelings they share, but that they have the inner strength it will take to turn these feelings into a viable relationship. 

One of my favorite things is that both characters are still grumpy/no-nonsense at the end of the narrative. Yes, they’ve grown because they’ve faced their inner obstacles, but the  foundation of their attraction is personal strength and boundaries. Neither melts into an unrecognizable character due to love. I also loved how not every sexy scene turned to sex and those that did were detailed without being graphic. 

Technically, there aren’t any cons for this book except that I wanted more of Symone and Aiden’s banter.

I give Who’s The Boss four stars and recommend it for anyone who wants a grown folks romance to steam up their day.   

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