Book Review: The Boss by Abigail Barnette

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Full disclosure: I was given an ARC of this book on the condition I would review it.

The Boss is one of those books that I didn’t think I’d get into all that much.

Not because I don’t love Jenny Trout/Abigail Barnette. I do love her. I sort of hero worship her from afar and wish that I could be like her. I love her writing, especially on her blog. (Fun fact: every time I press “j” in the URL bar the first site that autocompletes is her blog.)

Honestly, I’m just not that big a fan of erotic romance. Generally speaking. I’ve enjoyed reading it in the past and I’m sure I’ll enjoy more in the future, but it’s not a genre I really actively seek out, and often it leaves me wanting (or rolling my eyes). Furthermore, I’m not a huge fan of BDSM/kinky erotic romance — not because I’m not kinky. Because I am, and so few BDSM erotica stories are actually hot to me (without being triggering — long story there; not worth getting into).

I was worried because I knew The Boss was a male-dom/fem-sub erotic romance, and — even though I totally trust Barnette’s ability to write an erotic romance that I find hot, as I’d already read Bride of the Wolf a while ago — I’ve been burned before. (Not literally. Few of my partners have gone in for the candle wax thing.)  So I was quite cautious.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Boss was the hottest BDSM erotic romance I’ve ever read. I could not put it down, and not just because the sex was so fucking hot. The plot was compelling and intriguing, and I found myself trying to guess what would happen next (and only being right some of the time). The characters were well-developed and dynamic and they came across very clearly. When the book ended, I scrolled on my iPad so hard that I ended up loading another app. I then screamed out “JENNNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!like this. I wanted more.

I could hear Neil and Sophie’s voices clearly in my head. I could picture them easily. (Neil was basically Anthony Head, because I find him rawr.) I loved their interactions; they were real and cute and funny and heartbreaking (in a totally good way). Often their relationship reminded me of mine, which made me smile and get all tingly.

While I read The Boss I was completely wrapped up in what happened to the characters. I desperately wanted them all to succeed. (Except the antagonists. I wanted them to be set on fire.) When Neil had a headache, I felt concerned about his health. When Sophie died of mortification, I did too.

The sex scenes were…steamy. And there were a lot of them, but not so much that they superseded the plot — in other words, just the perfect amount for an erotic romance. The amount of BDSM was perfect for me, too — obviously, your mileage will vary, but I personally don’t like the really hardcore ones. I prefer my sex (and scenes thereof) to be more Neapolitan than…um…Rocky Road? Whatever the ice cream equivalent of hardcore BDSM is. Anyway, people often forget that vanilla is a flavour. It is not the absence of flavour.

But that’s a rant for another time.

Basically, if you’re not terribly BDSM inclined, you’ll probably find The Boss very hot, and if you are BDSM inclined and don’t mind less hardcore erotica, then you’ll probably find The Boss very hot.

And if you like romance, you’ll definitely love it.

Bonus? The book passes the Bechdel test. That’s pretty fucking rare for heterosexual erotica or romance. Oh, and Sophie IDs as a feminist. Win.

The Boss is the first in a trilogy. Books 2 and 3 aren’t out yet, but as soon as they are I’ll be grabbing them. I need to see what happens to these characters with whom I’ve fallen so in love.

If it sounds like this book is right up your alley, it’s being released a chapter per week at its own blog. Chapter 18 got released today! (Don’t worry — if you have trouble with a dark background, there are also PDFs of each chapter available.)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars/would bang.