She’s the Boss: CEO Heroines in Romance

When I was reading Bianca Mori’s One Night at the Penthouse Suite, one of the things that I loved was how unusual it is to read a billionaire romance where the billionaire is the heroine. And Cora Ciacho’s CEO position isn’t wallpaper: she spends the book actively making business decisions and fighting with her board to remain the executive, while trying to negotiate being a higher-earner and from a different class background to her boyfriend, Stephen Cruz.

This read got me thinking: in Romancelandia, heroine attorneys, heroine LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers), and heroine physicians abound, but heroines in the corporate and business world are harder to find. And when a book type is hard to find, it inspires me to make a tag for it. Everyone, say hello to the businesswoman romance heroine tag!

What counts as a businesswoman? Certainly heroines in the corporate world would qualify, whether they are CEOs, VPs, managers, or lower-level employees looking to move up. They can also own and operate their own small businesses. But I’m restricting this tag to stories which explore, in detail, the business aspect of the heroine’s career. If the heroine, say, owns an art gallery, but the entire book is about her joining up with the hero to investigate a forgery, this isn’t the right tag. If she works at a large corporation, but as a programmer, an engineer, or in R&D, she might be a better fit for our STEM Heroine list.

Here are some heroines I’ve identified that fit this list in books which AAR’s reviewers gave DIKs.

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Kate Svensen has a successful career at a management consulting firm and makes oodles of money, but she’s often bored working at her father’s firm and she’s terribly lonely. Kate has given up on love after breaking off three different engagements to losers who were only after her money. Despite this she still wants a husband – a successful, brainy, hardworking man whom she can build an empire with. In desperation she allows her best friend to talk her into creating a plan to snare a man and finds herself at a single’s golf resort where she meets a new string of losers – and Jake.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand

Chocolate executive Cade Corey tries with increasing desperation to persuade Parisian chocolatier Sylvain Marquis to let her use his name on mass-produced upscale chocolates, eventually going so far as to break into his laboratoire. It is molded into the stuff of unexpected, delicious romance.

Tapping the Billionaire by Max Monroe

Kline Brooks is a thirty-four year old billionaire who is suddenly and inexplicably bowled over by his sassy Director of Marketing, Georgia Cummings. Although she’s worked for him for two years, he’s never noticed her sexually, and he’s gobsmacked when he suddenly does.

Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The primary heroine, Annabelle Granger, inherits her grandmother’s senior-citizens matchmaking service, but the real businesswoman to watch here is Portia Powers. This secondary heroine-slash-villain and boss from hell steals every scene she’s in – especially a sexy, wordless rendezvous with the hero’s buddy.

An Heiress to Remember by Maya Rodale

Thirty-six-year-old Beatrice Goodwin returns home to Manhattan in a cloud of scandal, having recently divorced an English duke. Beatrice has no intention of finding another husband. Instead, she dreams of saving her family’s department store, a business her brother is currently running into the ground. Returning Goodwin’s to its former glory means surpassing the success of Wes Dalton’s wildly profitable store, which is located just across the street. The issue is that while Beatrice once loved Wes more than she thought possible, since she turned her back on him in favor of a duke, Wes has been plotting revenge…

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

After being left almost destitute by her perfidious husband, Delilah, Lady Derring, decides to gamble on opening her own business: a boutique boarding house. What’s unexpected is that she takes her husband’s former mistress as her business partner. What’s even more unexpected: that an appealing naval officer, Tristan Hardy, takes rooms with Delilah. He’s looking for smugglers, but could he be finding love instead?

What businesswoman heroines do you love? What kind of businesses would you like to see more of in romance novels?

~ Caroline Russomanno

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