The Boss and the Beauty
by Donna Clayton
(Silh. Romance #1342, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-19342-4
The Boss and the Beauty is one of six projected books in the Loving the Boss series, with each month detailing how office romances lead to happily-ever- after for six friends. The five heroines we'll meet in the months to come have cameo appearances in this story.

Unhesitatingly, I would recommend this book to the teenagers who come to my library. I'd also have no qualms about giving it to some of the ladies in my mother-in-law's Sunday School class. Eliminating those two age groups, I'm stymied as to who would appreciate this story.

Workaholic Cindy Cooper, who has just turned thirty, is in love with her boss, Kyle Prentice, but it's definitely not reciprocated. She's disconsolate when he totally forgets her birthday. Trying to cheer her up, her friends treat her to a makeover, new contacts and some spiffy new clothes. Kyle notices her now, but to Cindy, it's for all the wrong reasons.

Cindy has a fear of being valued for superficial reasons. Growing up, she saw her mother go from wealthy benefactor to wealthier benefactor on the strength of her looks. Cindy has worked hard on her education and is nonplused that Kyle is finally noticing her. Why is he seeing the exterior and not the real her?

During a morning break, Cindy's friends hatch a plan to make Kyle jealous. They corner him and tell him that a new man is interested in Cindy, but because she's been working so many long hours, she's rusty at the dating scene. Poor old Kyle falls for the bait and suggests some practice dates. Now Cindy is delighted that she's actually going out with Kyle but is discouraged because Kyle is willing to help her practice in order to get another man.

True to form, Kyle's also got some hangups. Lying is up at the top. When Cindy discovers this, she's mortified. What's she just done? Lied to Kyle, of course.

This whole plot line was simplistic and predictable. The sex scenes are tepid and add little to the story. Both Kyle and Cindy are inconsistent. Kyle was burned in a relationship with a co-worker who lied to him. Can we see the hole opening up for Cindy on that one? And Cindy, who professes to a disdain for relying on her looks, has no problem flaunting her new appearance.

If what I've described seems interesting to you, then grab your copy of The Boss and the Beauty and enjoy. While it's too simplistic to really appeal to me, perhaps those teenagers or the Sunday School ladies will see its promise.

--Linda Mowery

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