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REVIEW: The Boss’s Proposal by Kristin Hardy

Dear Ms. Hardy,

Almost two years ago, I reviewed the first book in your series about the McBain’s of Grace Harbour, “The Chef’s Choice.” You mentioned that the next book wouldn’t be out for a while. Well, you were right but I still remembered the series and picked up “The Boss’s Proposal” when I saw it.

the boss proposal Kristin HardyMax McBain, despite her masculine sounding name, is a beautiful blonde with a ton of talent. She’s worked for seven years at the BRS architecture firm and it looks like her efforts are about to pay off. The architect who was slated to head the bid for the new addition to the Portland General Medical Center has jumped ship and Max can almost taste her promotion now.

That is until she arrives for work and discovers that the man she flirted with the night before at the benefit to raise money for the new oncology center is actually the boss’s son and he’s going to take over the project. Dylan Reynolds quickly catches on to the fact that Max expects she can flirt and schmooze her way around him to get the design the way she wants it. And yeah she’s smart and a damn good architect but he’s going to run this show and have some fun flirting back before they wrap the bid and he heads back to his current project in Dubai. But is there a chance at love they’re missing as they work out the details for their presentation?

In “The Chef’s Proposal” you had a chef fall for a landscaper and actually included details about their professions. Bliss. Here it’s two architects with differing visions for their proposal who are your hero and heroine. And again you make their work integral to their lives and to the story. Thank you. And it’s nice to revisit Cady and Damon as they prepare for their wedding and think seriously of just eloping to Vegas to avoid the hassle.

There is instant chemistry between Max and Dylan as well as instant conflict. I like that neither turns into a lust puddle even if Dylan does push my comfort envelope with his hands on flirting. If Max hadn’t already shown her interest enough for him to feel confident of not getting slapped with a harassment warning, some of their early scenes could have stepped slightly over my line. But Max is a strong enough character to hold her own both personally and professionally for most of the book.

Alas I lose a bit of respect for Dylan when word of their office affair leaks out and it takes a toll on Max. I just didn’t see that he ever truly “got” how damaging this could be to her career. And the way everything is taken care of by their plans to start their own firm only appears to brush it still further under the rug rather than actually deal with it. Dylan redeems himself some by his care and thoughtfulness during Max’s father’s hospitalization but not quite enough to cancel that first bit out.

While for me this book doesn’t equal the first in the series, I hope that your editor will let you carry on and write a story for Max’s brother Walker. Now there’s a man who has already been put through the wringer and deserves his shot at a HEA. C+


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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Kristen
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 04:08:18

    Oh, I remember that first book! I agree, their work details added to the pleasure of the book. I’ll have to look for this one.

  2. Jayne
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 06:08:22

    @Kristen: I think if authors are going to give their characters interesting or intriguing jobs other than the usual cop, reporter, PR person, etc then include some details. Make it part of the story and not just a thin layer of icing. Ms. Hardy is an author who seems to get this.

  3. Sunita
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 09:55:24

    I really like books with workplace romances, and I agree that it makes a huge difference when you actually see the hero and heroine working together on something. That said, I hate it when it’s just a plot device and the work goes down the drain while the h/h get it on. These are people you avoid in real life, not people you want to read about! Also, yay for architects. We need more of them in the genre.

    I’ve got a couple of Hardy’s books buried in my TBR, I hope the first one is one of them.

  4. Cady
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 10:11:05

    I was enjoying this book until the ending. I agree with you totally, the attraction was such that I was okay with Dylan’s actions in the beginning, but when the stuff hit the fan, he was an idiot and then stating lets just start our firm – what happens to the other project his Dad was working on – just a so sorry, lets move on. Pulled the book from a recommended read to the good will pile.

  5. Sarah
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 10:56:33

    I remember the first book so well! I’ve visited the author’s website many times in the past two years (wow, can’t believe it’s been that long!) to find out when the next book would be available. Hm, now I’m not sure if I should give it a try or not.

  6. Rose
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 12:30:33

    Always fun to read a book where the hero and heroine work at the same profession – reaffirms that women can do what men do (sometimes better).

    Enjoyed the reference to, “And it's nice to revisit Cady and Damon as they prepare for their wedding and think seriously of just eloping to Vegas to avoid the hassle.” Considered it but didn’t do it.

    Can’t wait to see what happens to Walker!

  7. E.D. Walker
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 13:14:04

    This is so funny because I just re-read Chef’s Choice a few weeks ago to see if I needed to keep it or not. I decided I did. I really loved Damon and Cady.

    And I was sad when I went surfing to find the next book hadn’t come out yet, and I couldn’t find any info on it. But lo, here’s DA with a review only a few weeks later. What lovely serendipity. :)

    I’m sad this got a C+ though. I tend to agree with DA grades pretty much. Maybe I’ll see if I can find a copy of this at the used book store somewhere down the line…

    I hope she gets to write Walker’s book too. Of all the siblings, he’s the one who’s story intrigued me the most.

  8. Jayne
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 15:09:36

    @Rose: I really liked how well these two interacted with the bid plans for the hospital wing. They both had good ideas and learned from things the other brought to the table.

  9. Jayne
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 15:11:17

    @Cady: Yeah, it just seems to me that starting a firm together will only confirm what everyone thinks, that Max slept her way into the position.

  10. Karen S.
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 15:28:35

    Seconded on this entire review, pretty much. I liked that so much of their interaction was at or through work and both their positions on the project were shown as valid and useful.

    But that ending… I wanted to wallop Dylan with his, IIRC, fairly blase attitude about the effect on Max–even as it seemed realistic in the sense that I’m sure a lot of real men would Just Not Get It. I was hoping he would come to understand what kind of a hit Max’s reputation was taking, but I don’t think I ever saw it to the extent I wanted. Sadly it’s not something I’ve found has really been addressed in co-worker romances, as much as I like the trope.

  11. Karen S.
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 15:43:22

    I should have said it’s not an issue I’ve seen really addressed in those romances I’ve read–if anyone can think of some that do, I’d welcome suggestions!

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