Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
So. I hadn’t read the first book of Sara Ney’s The Bachelor’s Club series prior to signing up for the ARC of Bachelor Boss. The first book, Bachelor Society, was legitimately burning a hole in my Kindle while I was reading other ARCs. Why? Because I had read Ney’s How to Date a Douchebag series and learned quickly that I loved her construction of heroes. She has this way of writing douchebag-heroes who you can’t help but love and hate. At the beginning of her rom-coms, you can barely stand her heroes: they are quite frankly, sometimes, dim-witted, narrow-minded, playboys. In the world of romance, these are some of THE best heroes because they will meet a heroine who will “rock their world.” One minute, you find them ogling anything with boobs and a skirt (or short-shorts), and the next minute, Ney’s heroes are falling down the deep path towards everlasting love. What Ney does brilliantly is craft this journey in such a way that her heroes rarely recognize it until it hits them square in their head. For this reader, there is NOTHING like a “redemption” arc, or at least Romancelandia’s equivalent to it. And “this redemption” brings energy to her stories as they inhabit any of the various romance tropes: brother’s best friend, enemies-to-lovers, workplace romance, etc. Ney’s newest book, the second book of the series, Bachelor Boss, is no different.
Now, I will say that I actually like Phillip, the hero, more than her hero in Bachelor Society. Going into the book, and knowing a little bit about Phillip, I thought there would be more of the same bully-ish way about him, much like Brooks had been. However, that isn’t the case. I mean, he’s a bit dense (like Brooks), a bit of a player (also like Brooks), and slow to understand his feelings (just like Brooks). All of these traits conspire to put you, the reader, at arm’s length. Yet, as Phillip meets Spencer, the heroine and his office mate, her irreverent way of pushing his buttons begins to unravel him. In his unraveling (which is Ney’s specialty), we glimpse someone who actually has a depth of character that seemed non-existent in Ney’s first hero of this series. Phillip reads a bit more sensitive once you move past his douchebag exterior. While he fights settling down, in the back of his mind, he wants to find The One, settle down, and have children. Eventually. With that layer, Ney shows us that Phillip has a depth to him, and redemption is inevitable if he finds the woman who can love him fully, which, of course, Ney creates most splendidly.
While Ney is a genius at writing these heroes who you love to cringe at, she also has this ability to devise her heroines. First of all, while her heroines are beautiful, there is a sense that they are “any girl.” They tend to have normal bodies, and they are incredibly quirky. You know that it takes just the right guy to love Ney’s flavor of heroine. Each of her heroines is self-possessed: they know who they are and they don’t bemoan their eccentricities. They are simply “who they are.” Spencer is Ney’s heroine in Bachelor Boss, and she is the “zing” to Phillips’s “zest.” She is the only woman who can admonish him, challenge him, and fall for him. While he is a “numbers guy” focused on business, Spencer is his artistic complement. Where she’s creative, he is constructive. As such, this creates a fire of chemistry, some compelling banter, and a romantic journey that engages the reader to the very last page. Spencer can only be the partner for Phillip. Once both of them realize this, the happy ending is right around the corner, and it’s a perfect one.
There is one added touch to this series: pets. In Bachelor Society, Abbott’s cat provided some additional hilarity in the story. In fact, Ney gives these pets their own points of view. While this can sometimes break the chronology and force of her storytelling, it offers a respite too. You can chuckle at Desdemona’s perspective, as s/he observes her owner and love interest. For Bachelor Boss, we gain the perspective of Phillip’s dog, Humphrey. Like Desdemona, Humphrey has his own agenda. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and it sometimes wreaks havoc in the life of his owner and, by extension, his love interest. Like Desi in the first book of the series, Humphrey has his own chapters where we “see” through his perspective Phillip and Spencer’s burgeoning relationship. Those chapters are really more focused on Humphrey getting his needs met in his way, but it also provides a different perspective, one that makes you chuckle. I think incorporating these voices into her story adds another level of humor as it points us to what we, as pet owners, often believe our pets to be thinking. It also pushes us back a bit from the journey of her hero and heroine offering an insight that might not be found in other romances.
What Sara Ney does well in all of her rom-coms is make us laugh. Her books show us that anyone can find love. That love can bring the most dedicated playboy to his knees if it’s with the right woman. It’s the reason I keep reading her books. Just like her newest book, Bachelor Boss, I can laugh away the cares of my day at the lengths her heroes will go to remain single even as they pine for the heroine. That her heroines hold that depth of power in her romances is another added bonus. If you haven’t read Sara Ney before, you should read this series: Bachelor Society and Bachelor Boss. It’s a perfect read during this imperfect time.
In love and romance,