Isabelle Cooper’s in big, big trouble. Her flower shop? Well, it was just bought by the man she’s had a crush on forever. Her new boss, Devon Donovan, is a tall glass of melt-in-your-mouth hotness. The problem? Devon is definitely not interested in love. No ifs, ands, or buds about it.
Devon knows Isabelle has been crushing on him since college, but buying her business shouldn’t be a problem. Not only is she his employee, but as the eldest Donovan brother, he’s too busy protecting the family fortune for romance. But tomboy “Izzy” is all grown up now. And he’s finding it impossible to resist her, no matter how hard he tries…
Source: ARC from Entangled Bliss via NetGalley
I’m a little torn about this book. On the one hand it’s well written with plenty of fun characters and some great dynamics amongst the extended cast. On the other, I can’t decided who I’m most angry at: Izzy, her parents or Devon.
Let’s start with her parents and their sudden selling of the flower shop that she’s worked in since she was a child. I’m not saying they don’t have the right to sell their business and retire to sunnier climes, but to do it without telling her and to make her continued employment part of the conditions of sale – without even telling her! And to leave the next day. In case I didn’t mention it before, all of this is done without once discussing the idea with her. They just drop it on her and run, and then only phone later because they want her to check on their old house or because they miss her and want her to move down there to run a different flower shop for them. Wow.
Then there’s Izzy. Oh, Izzy, there was so much to like about her, except for the spineless way she lets everyone take advantage of her without ever letting her know how great she is. I’ve already mentioned her parents, but then there’s the idea that she needs to change everything about the way she dresses to make her good enough for Devon, not to mention the way he essentially sneers at her work in the flower shop, while letting his mother take complete advantage of her. I’m sorry, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with running a flower shop and being her own boss. I know she has an MBA and everything, but she manages that business and is good at it. What’s wrong with that? (I particularly hated the scene where Devon pats her on the head for being clever enough to learn how to work for someone else. What a good little office drone she is, respecting the big boss man and taking orders and everything. Urgh.)
Her crush on Devon was probably the worst bit for me, because despite being an intelligent woman, thoughts of Devon turn her into a teenager. The whole “Call me Belle” thing made me roll my eyes. I had a momentary hope when she got angry at some gossips labelling her as a gold digger, but it was faint and sadly fleeting. Instead she lets Devon make all the rules and take and take and take from her while waiting patiently for him to change his mind. I hate that. At first I felt for Izzy because the way Devon was acting made it understandable that she might get her hopes up, but then it’s just sad and pathetic and really, really annoying.
Everything about that wedding was just infuriating. Izzy deserved so much better. Especially when everyone else just brushed it off, because you know, it wasn’t a big deal. YES, IT WAS!
Then we come to Devon. Devon the protector who has understandable reasons for wanting to protect him family, especially his mother. I got that, I did, but it didn’t excuse the way he treats Izzy. The running hot and cold, the pushy demands of his way or no way, his insistence on a secret affair, the way he constantly blurs the boundaries and then slaps her down when she foolishly starts expecting more. He’s a messed up jerk, basically. He starts the book not wanting a relationship because he’s too busy taking care of his family, then when he realises they don’t need him anymore and he’s free, free, free(!), he decides he doesn’t want a relationship because he’s now free to do whatever he likes. No, Devon, you’re just an ass, and there should have been so much more crawling at the end, because Izzy deserved better.
Yet this isn’t a bad book, despite all of the above. Clearly I must have liked Izzy enough to care about all of this, or else I wouldn’t have read the whole thing. I also loved Devon’s brothers and sisters-in-law, though less so when the women were so excited to be transforming Izzy for a man. Sigh. I like his mother too, when she wasn’t taking serious advantage of Izzy. It’s funny how his mother got so angry about Devon giving a dinner guest money (having misunderstood why he was there), yet saw no problem with cornering Izzy after a lovely meal in which she was made to feel like one of the family to let her know she was only invited because she’s an employee and they have a job for her. Nice.
So I’m still conflicted. If you’re already a fan of this series then you’ll probably lap this up and love it – it certainly left me wanting to know more about the Donovan Brothers. If you’re new to it all, like me, your enjoyment will likely vary depending on your tolerance levels for heroines who change for a man and men who hide behind emotional issues as an excuse to take advantage of people. Regardless, I’d still love to read more about Barbara Beth and see her get her own HEA.
Head Over Heels for the Boss is out September 14th!
Visit Susan Meier for more details.