Jenny hates job interviews – but then, who doesn’t? What makes matters worse is that seconds before heading into this most recent one, she is thrown off her game by a douchenozzle she encounters on the walk in. What makes everything even worse is that said douchenozzle is actually the guy she’s interviewing with, Ethan. He runs a sports agency and she’s interviewing for an analyst position in the ranks. He treats her abominably, she assumes the interview is dead in the water, she stands up to him – he magically offers her the job.
For the rest of the novel, this is the dynamic that Mr. Howell plays with. Ethan is a ruthless, total ass to pretty much everyone around him, Jenny is somehow his personal kryptonite, stripping him of his jerk powers and rendering him into a decent human being. This requires rather a large suspension of disbelief, and it didn’t really work for me. I was reasonably caught up in Jenny and Ethan’s story while actually reading the book,but upon further and further reflection, many of the plot machinations irritated me. Anyone who really digs an employer/employee trope with a lot of hot sex thrown in might well dig this, though. It was, at times, a fun read. But it’s just not one I’m likely to re-read or remember.
The other main element of the story, by the way, is that Jenny is a baseball statistic savant, the result of being raised by a single father who loved baseball almost as much as he loved his daughter. This impresses Ethan, but also Ethan’s best friend, who is a player himself and Ethan’s emotional brother. As Jenny and Ethan fall in and out of bed together, and therefore in love with each other, these two supporting characters play big roles.
I’m getting ahead of myself, but then again, there isn’t much plot to cover. Ethan hires Jenny and they very quickly cross employee/employer boundaries and start to sleep together. There’s a lot of overly dramatic behavior throughout the book on each of their parts but then again, if one or the other of them had simply used words instead of making assumptions about the other, there would no conflict in the story. For example, towards the end of the book, something major happens in Jenny’s life and Ethan does not react exactly how she wants him to react. His reasons for his choice are completely normal, justifiable, and easy for any adult human who lives in the world to understand. Her choice is to freeze him out and refuse to speak to him. While she eventually comes around, I found myself running out of patience for these two and their happily ever after.
If you’ve ever seen 10 Things I Hate About You, there’s a scene between Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Cameron and Heath Ledger’s Patrick where they’re discussing the character of Bianca Stratford and Cameron’s undying love for her. Patrick has already been approached by another character about Bianca and does not understand everyone’s obsession with her. “Does this girl have beer flavored nipples?” Patrick asks rhetorically. This was my question about Jenny. I never figured out why Ethan was so drawn to her on such an immediate and visceral level, and never really bought why he was an absolute monster to so many of his employees but treated her like gold.
Overall, Bossed wasn’t really for me, but this was mainly because I could not handle how the couple communicated (or didn’t communicate) with one another. For me to buy into an HEA, I have to believe the characters will work in the world created in the book. Jenny and Ethan have a lot of hot sex, have some real chemistry, and seem to trust each other enough to use some words when they fight, but mostly they employ passive aggressive silence and that just does my head in. I’m giving it B for the chemistry and C- for the relationship, which brings it in at a C+ overall.