Spying on the Boss
I was looking for a light-hearted, fun read and the blurb of Spying on the Boss sounded perfect. But while the premise is cute, I quickly discovered this is not a light, funny romance. Both the hero and heroine have suffered tremendous loss and have numerous issues. Rather than my expected laughs, the book brought me to tears at several points. Nevertheless, while outside my normal comfort zone, this was a wonderful romance, and one I can heartily recommend.
Sadie Martin owns The Cleaning Crew, a cleaning service employing hot guys to clean homes and offices. Sadie’s business is a big success, recently winning an award as Charleston’s best cleaning service. And it’s the award that brings Wyatt Anderson to Sadie’s office. Wyatt’s an ex-cop turned-insurance-investigator hired by a competitor to spy on Sadie. Wyatt’s client is convinced Sadie’s doing something illegal – or says he’s convinced – because she charges twice what he does for his company’s services. He tells Wyatt Sadie’s employees must actually be male prostitutes.
Of course, Sadie’s business is completely above board. She has a strict “hands-off” policy for both her employees and clients. While her employees are definitely eye-catching, the business succeeds through their incredibly hard work. Sadie pays her employees top wages and expects a professional, high-quality job in return.
She views her employees as younger brothers, but when she spots Wyatt waiting for a job interview she’s instantly attracted to him. While Wyatt is attracted to Sadie in return, this doesn’t turn into an instant, “let’s have sex in the workplace” situation. These are two complicated characters who are carrying a lot of grief and pain. And each withholds key information from the other. I quickly realized their eventual romance wouldn’t be easy.
In fact, nothing in Sadie’s life has been easy. Abandoned by her mother at a young age, she spent her childhood bouncing from foster home to foster home, only to be kicked out on her own at 18, before she could graduate from high school. Forced to make a living rather than continue her education, Sadie began cleaning houses, and eventually started her own business.
Wyatt’s life has changed drastically in recent months following the unexpected death of his sister. At the same time he gained custody of his eight-year-old niece Julietta, his fiancée abandoned him. Wyatt is still grieving for his sister but has no time to mourn as he tries to help Julietta through her pain. Every decision he makes is based on what’s best for his niece, from the jobs he takes to his decisions about Sadie. While he quickly comes to hate lying to Sadie about being undercover to spy on her, he can’t afford to take the financial risk of upsetting his biggest client.
Both Sadie and Wyatt carry a lot of baggage. Both are afraid. Sadie learned early on not to expect love or to give it in return. The closest she’s come to having a real family is her best friend’s grandfather, who is now dying. With every page we learn more about Sadie’s past, and I found my heart breaking for her over and over.
Despite some problems, I found Sadie rather remarkable. With a few exceptions all her employees are young men from difficult circumstances. She’s given them a chance to succeed, and has created her own family of sorts by having weekly and holiday meals for her employees. And while I wished that Wyatt had told Sadie sooner about the real reason he was working for her, I understood his reasoning, and cared for him in turn.
I found myself crying at numerous points while reading this, a clear sign the author touched me, drew out my emotions. While Spying on the Boss was well outside my comfort zone of lighter romances, I liked it a great deal. Ms. Nye made me care deeply, not just for Sadie and Wyatt, but also for Wyatt’s niece, Sadie’s best friend, and a few of her employees. I hope to see some of the secondary characters in future books, and will definitely pick up Ms. Nye’s next romance.