All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Off Limits by Clare Connelly

on February 13, 2018

Off Limits
Clare Connelly
Harlequin Dare
2018, 182p
Copy courtesy of Harlequin AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

“I want to taste you tonight.”

With chemistry this hot, it’s worth getting burned…

Billionaire Jack Grant is totally off-limits to Gemma Picton. He’s wild, deliciously dangerous…and her boss. When working late turns X-rated, it’s better than her wildest imaginings—and Gemma’s imagined a lot! But Jack has major emotional baggage, so when Gemma starts wanting to heal his heart as well as enjoy his body, she knows she’s in big trouble…

I read a lot of Mills & Boon novels from the time I was probably 11 or 12. My nan had a subscription and I started off only being allowed to read the ‘Sweet’ ones (no sex) or ones my mother had read and deemed ok. But I was a very fast reader, far faster than my mother and eventually she got tired of me pestering her if I could read this book or that and just let me read whatever. I was still developing my reading tastes at the time and just wanted to read anything that was handy. It took me a while to decide what I enjoyed and soon I learned to cherry pick based on author or plot, knowing that I’d enjoy some more than others.

I haven’t read much M&B in the last decade or so. I’ve read the odd one that’s caught my eye and when I heard they were launching a new category, I was curious. I was offered the chance to read one of the first titles from this new imprint and so I thought I’d give it a go.

The boss-employee trope is not one of my favourites and this one is made a bit ickier when I realised that Jack seems to work from home and Gemma is his ‘in house counsel’. To be honest, I don’t even know what that means but I’m pretty sure no one’s job description should involve waking up their naked boss. I found that scene (which is actually the opener) really distasteful and it made me query why it should be deemed okay just because Jack is super hot. Gemma works for Jack. He should be expected to conduct himself in a professional and respectful manner and deliberately being naked when she comes to wake him up (because Jack is a billionaire that’s apparently too lazy to get out of bed on time on his own) is not at all what constitutes respectful and professional. If Jack were old and saggy, or big and threatening or well, basically anything other than hot with cut abs and a tattoo and an Irish drawl, it’d be gross that Gemma was expected to put up with that. For me, it’s still gross. Gemma is an intelligent, capable, professional woman. But the sight of a butt turns her into a quivering wreck. Romances can still be sexy and not play with what really is a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. I got the feeling Jack enjoyed making Gemma wake him up naked because he thinks she’s all buttoned up and icy. She’s at work, Jack. Not on a Girls Gone Wild vacation.

It just went downhill from there. Jack is an asshole with what are supposed to deep seated issues but when the story finally spills out it falls really flat and doesn’t seem to warrant the attitude Jack has towards well, everything. There’s more unprofessional behaviour (orgasms in the board room like 2 minutes before people walk in for a meeting. Really? You think people wouldn’t notice? And even grosser, you think people wouldn’t be able to smell it? Sex and even some forms of foreplay leaves a pretty obvious calling card).  Jack’s insistence on keeping things separate is also rubbish, considering he really has no idea what boundaries are and how one should probably respect them. His attitude towards women is pretty horrendous as well (mostly fucktoys for his amusement, since his wife’s death has left him so devastated).

I just don’t feel like this was deep enough for me. I never really felt the connection between the characters, or the chemistry. I couldn’t see at all why Gemma would be so interested in Jack. He treated her with such disrespect, even in regards to her work. She was the only one who had stayed in the position since his wife died, you got the feeling the list of departed was rather long. Either because he’d shagged them or just been hideous to them. Or maybe because they didn’t care to wake him up naked. I don’t know. But Jack wasn’t an attractive person, his bitterness and brooding just seemed like a convenient excuse not to be mature about things. Gemma’s background was interesting and perhaps it explained why she stayed all that time but it wasn’t explored in a deep enough way. About the only highlight in this story was her relationship with her grandmother, which was excellent. Both believable and witty.

This was quick but it was unfortunately quite a disappointing read.

3/10

Book #27 of 2018

 

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