by Viveca Carlysle, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-170-7
How insulting. A man's workaholic drive to succeed in business is good. Okay. A woman's workaholic drive to break the glass ceiling is because she is insecure, wants to win Daddy's love, and once she has her man, who cares about ambition - now that's insulting.
In fact, this story has so many things going on about Lowell's business empire going-on's that I think I will skip the history of the business origins and all and get to the good parts: Danita Godfrey expects to be the new CEO, but darn it, her old nemesis/crush Stuart Lowell is taken onboard instead! Meeeoooow! Let the catfight begin! Stuart wants to be CEO to win his father's approval. Danita wants the post to redeem her family name (apparently her father's adulterous affair with some woman caused the Godfreys to be shamed). The money, I guess, is irrelevant.
Can Donita and Stuart find a middle ground? Or will they just book a hotel room and get down to it?
Dysfunctional family, business politics, and other shennigans more at home in a Jackie Collins novel are trotted out to make one busy party. Danita, of course, is the cold, driven woman who has no life, no purpose other than win approval by being one of the guys. Until, of course, Big Daddy Stuart comes into the scene and shows her how women are better off playing accessories and party hosts. Stuart is the typical macho supposedly all-sensitive, all-manly dude that comes off a nondescript bore.
The author's prose doesn't stand out, and neither does her characters. And for such a short story (barely 300 pages, large print size), so many things happen, but alas, I don't find even one thing that happens remotely interesting. The real orgasm comes when these characters play with their business ledgers. If that sounds kinky, trust me, it isn't. Not in this romance novel.
I can't help thinking this story would have been more interesting if the author isn't trying too hard to play by the stupid romance character formula rules (eg "Never make your heroine ambition-driven unless it's for the sake of pleasing the family, because we all know greed is crass and unfeminine") or worse, concentrating on the external conflicts at the expense of characterization. There is a reason why Contemporary Romance is stamped on the spine, you know.
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