The Harder They Fall

Hiding Out at the Circle C

Long-Lost Mom

Who's The Boss? by Jill Shalvis
(Harl. Tempt. #742, $3.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-25842-9
Witty and warm-hearted, Who's The Boss? is a delightful story of a madcap heiress who suddenly finds herself poor. Her father's will leaves her nothing but the promise of a job. Her new boss, gorgeous and irascible, does not want her around. He's finding her too much of a distraction.

Caitlin Taylor had lived life fully and frivolously until her father died. Suddenly there's no money. Her car is repossessed, she's being evicted from her apartment and she's never worked a day in her life. Her only ace in the hole, her only hope is Joseph Brownley. Her dad's will specifies that Joe, a computer genius, will give Caitlin a job.

Why is Joe beholden to the late Edmund Taylor? Quite simply, for twenty years Joe was the recipient of Mr. Taylor's kindness, mentoring and support. Joe had the kind of relationship with the older man that Caitlin had longed for, but never had. The men respected and loved each other. Now Joe's morally obligated to help little Miss Air Head, Miss Shop ‘Till You Drop. He's never met her but describes her to friends as "Barbie Meets Baywatch."

Thanks to Jill Shalvis' skillful handling, Joe's about to be in for a rude awakening. Caitlin is bright, vivacious, organizes his office, is an efficient worker and raises his lust-o-meter to the red line.

Caitlin likes Joe and sees through his bluster. His threats don't faze her. His requests that she dress more sedately fall on deaf ears. His protestations that he's a loner are met with skepticism. She's falling in love with this complex man and the only time she stumbles and falters is when she wonders if he's just helping her out of pity.

That misplaced pride will cause both of them problems.

Everything just felt right about Who's The Boss? The plot moves at a crisp pace. Neither character is bogged down with past hurts. The secondary characters add depth and interest to the story. Caitlin is a neat person, far from a bubble headed blond. Joe is a bit dense, but considering that he's a man, that's no surprise.

Want to meet a beauty with brains and a joy for living? Does a hero who's inherently good but with a bad boy aura interest you? If your answer is yes, then it's all wrapped up and tied with a big bow, just waiting for you to enjoy in Who's The Boss?

--Linda Mowery

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