FicCentral received a free copy of this book from AToMR Tours.
Publisher: Omnific Publishing on February 9, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Day of Employment: 359
Location: Cubicles outside Canon’s office.
Co-workers: Betting on how long Canon’s new PA will last.
Me: No doubts. Ms. Gum-smacker won’t last the day. I need to place my bet.
Manolo Blahnik’s New Fall Shoes: Mine. As soon as Madeline hands over my winnings.
Emma Baker has never spoken a word to Alaric Canon, nor has he to her. But she’s studied him every day across the office tundra for almost a year. Canon is hard and fierce, terrifying and beautiful. He’s also the most stern, unforgiving person Emma has ever seen. Emma’s co-workers run a betting pool for Personal Assistant terminations. There’s a separate pot for the day one leaves without crying. Not likely…Canon made a former Navy SEAL cry.
He has high standards and low tolerance. Everyone knows it. Everyone stays away. Everyone who can, that is. Except Emma. She can’t look away. Alaric Canon is the single most attractive man she’s ever seen. Bar none.
Canon has never noticed her. Not once in almost a year. She’s not even a blip on his radar. But she will be. His radar will be blipless no more.
It is a goal. Emma has a plan.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
He may be the most impossible man she’s never really met, but Emma hasn’t been able to take her eyes off Alaric since she first spotted him at work — a year ago. And during that year, watching his revolving door of personal assistants has become both a past time and a source of income. She puts her constant observations to use every time another one is shown the door, and her office pool winnings have more than once paid for a much-wanted pair of shoes. Only now, those same observations will have to get her through her own stint as assistant to the worst boss ever.
It’s the last job she’d ever want, but the company’s working on an important merger, and they can’t leave it to another temp who probably won’t last the day. So all of Emma’s watching pays off when she alters her hair, her wardrobe, and even her demeanor to fit his exacting standards, but while Alaric occasionally seems surprised, he’s no easier to work for. If she can get them through the company’s all-important merger, though, she’ll get a promotion out of it. If only she didn’t want him so much.
I have to admit that I was really, really curious about this one. It was originally a fanfiction story, and it was written in a format that I imagined would be horrible for an actual book. Doesn’t mean the story was bad; just that a gazillion teensy chapters, some of which are only a few paragraphs or even just a few lines, isn’t the norm for publishing, and I wondered how that would go over. That version was pulled offline ages ago, though the author has chosen to screw with countless potential readers by leaving just a few outtakes in its place instead of fully removing it. So of course, when I saw it come up for tour, I just had to find out for myself…
The main male character’s name is Alaric. Yes, like that Visogoth dude who ruined Rome. Also, like some poor kid whose name no one will ever be able to pronounce or spell correctly because his parents, in some misguided attempt to be cool and different, saddled him with something weird. All too common in romance stories, this sort of thing always bugs me. Why can’t guys with normal names ever win the girl?
The first thing that surprised me about the story was that it was written in the same narrative style I remember, and it actually works very well. It serves to keep the reader absolutely in the moment, and it makes for a fast-paced read. I’d wondered if it would have the same impact in book to be read in one sitting, but it proved to be a smart approach once again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very changed from the once free fanfiction story, so there was very little in the way of new material for me to fall in love with. But it was still an entertaining story, and I’d venture to day that people who didn’t read it in its first incarnation might just love it.
Alaric is magnetic and frustrating, abandoning any pretense of chivalry, and expecting Emma to see to his every demand. Oddly enough, this is rather refreshing. While many romance stories have a powerful, demanding male lead, those men seem to waffle between being sensitive and being…well…jerks. Alaric doesn’t have that same kind of identity crisis, and until he gives in to Emma, he’s absolutely himself all the time…even if that is a bit of a jerk. But that’s what makes us love bringing out the softer side of men like him, right?
And Emma…well, she’s just damned smart. She doesn’t go at him guns blazing when he figuratively steps on her toes. She just smiles, sees to whatever odd demand he has at the moment, and does her job well. She holds back just how smart she is, and for a little extra fun, she shows rather than tells him just how ridiculous he can be. Like when he demanded that she drop whatever she was doing and come to his room immediately, not realizing she was in the bath. An added bonus, again something rare in these kinds of stories, is that the characters aren’t complete morons. What I mean is that even though they are very different people, complete with insecurities and some communication issues, they don’t fall into that tired and overused plot trick where they say the opposite of what they mean, have some giant misunderstanding they’re both too stupid proud to fix, and almost ruin everything. Instead, we get a story with interesting, honest, intelligent characters, great chemistry, and one woman’s brilliant little plan to get her man.