Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: 4 Stars
Dates read: 13 Apr 19 – 14 Apr 19
Publication date: 12 Feb 13
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.
Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.
As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.
Ok, let’s all pretend this is not going to have the predictable and in that you’ll know it will have and actually be down to see what the books about underneath. And what does it have underneath I hear you ask, some funny exchanges, some enjoyable friendships, and Powerful women and Powerful men, and then amusing sexual relationship at the heart of the story.
Bennett is completely predictable in that he is a rich, standoffish business man who is unnaturally young to be so rich and successful. He does actually seem to have a grasp of his workplace, and even though he realises he is an absolutely dick to the staff who work under him, Chloe included, he values the insights of his friends, his colleagues, and his family, which is a refreshing element in this kind of book.
I also really admire that the authors have created a female character that is fierce. Chloe is not afraid to stand up to Bennett and call him out when he is overstepping the line into being a dick. Yes, she is presented as being the assistant in the workplace, but I like that she is actually friends of Bennett’s family and has been placed as his assistant because his position affords her the opportunity to see as much of the working of the business as possible which she can take into her academic studies and working life. The women are often presented as being lesser characters in this sort of story, so I like that Christina Lauren has stepped away from this trend to some extent.
I am not entirely sure that the relationship that brews between them is entirely healthy. Their acid humour and cutting remarks seem to fuel and unusual sexual undercurrent that underpins their blossoming romance. They both tear chunks from each other, verbally and physically, and seem to take great pleasure from it. While this kind of relationship is probably toxic in most cases, they are strong characters and give as good as they get to one another whilst retaining respect that stops it turning into something unpleasant to read.
As with most of Christina Lauren’s books, the side characters are an essential part of the story. Sara has a great dynamic with Chloe and calls her out on her rubbish, providing comedic timing when needed, and being a good influence. His friends are brutal in a way only groups of men can be, and take great amusement from the change in Bennett’s demeanour. It is a stretch to say a place is a character, but I think San Diego and their time there is important and influential in shaping their relationship dynamic and highlighting their feelings. It is the influence of the place and setting on them that changes the course of the book (and series).
I could have done without a lot of sex scenes, as is always the case in these kind of books. That said, I really enjoyed everything that went with it. As much as I hate the term banter, this book had it, and that only does it have it, but it was amusing, it was intelligent, both characters give as good as the other.