Management Skills by January Rowe
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: Short Story (64 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Violet
When CEO Grant Edmonds meets with his new production manager, he immediately recognizes her as Silver, an exotic dancer who once mesmerized him at an exclusive fetish club. Though he was forbidden from pursuing her back then, there's nothing standing in his way now. He's not looking for an after-hours fling—he wants to own her. In every way.
As much as Allie Fairfax tries to deny her past, and the way her body responds to Grant, she soon finds herself having mind-blowing sex with the boss. Despite her own desire to surrender to Grant's sexual authority, she's not willing to risk her career. After all, she's been owned before, and it ended badly.
It's all or nothing for Grant. If Allie wants more of the fiercest orgasms she's ever experienced, she must consent to his rules...
Management Skills has one of the most original takes on “attraction across a crowded room” I’ve ever read.
Grant Edmonds first sees Allie Fairfax when she’s performing as “Silver”, an erotic dancer in a production he designed the lighting for. Grant is immediately attracted to her, but the club has a no interaction rule between dancers and patrons so he can’t even meet her. He meets her again when she’s hired as a production manager at his lighting effects company. He immediately realizes she’s the “Silver” who has fueled his sexual fantasies for years.
Grant is a strong character who knows what he wants. He comes from a large family and is very grounded. He tells Allie he doesn’t just want a relationship, he wants to own her. I questioned his forthrightness because he had no idea of her background. He also has a strong insistence for the truth. Yet I never understood if there was a reason for this, or if this was just part of his character.
Allie has fought hard to erase her past as an erotic dancer. She’s strong, confident, and dresses for the job she wants. She finished school, and worked her way up. She’s excited at her new job until she meets her boss, Grant, who recognizes her from her former life. When Grant tells her he wants to own her, she doesn’t immediately say yes because she was previously in a D/s relationship that ended badly.
Although the book started out strong, it was an interesting combination of strong ideas, great sex play, abrupt scenes, and incomplete storylines. Some great starts included: the overall setting of a high tech lighting company, hot office sex, the Bed and Bondage, orgasm denial, and Allie rebelling against orgasm denial. Some abrupt scenes include: Allie deciding to have sex with Grant, the gaps between them being together, and the ending. Orgasm denial would have worked if they were interacting together. But when orgasm denial simply means that you don’t see each other due to business trips, it didn't work for me. And the ending left me questioning what the relationship would ultimately be. Watching them transform from Grant simply owning Allie to a loving relationship would have been beautiful. I would classify this as a happy-for-now romance.
Still, the author’s voice is solid. There are no noticeable grammatical or spelling errors. The sex scenes and play were steaming and left me hot and blushing. What was needed to make this a truly stellar story is some follow through with character motivations. For example, Allie says yes to being owned by Grant after a business meeting with Satin who was previously owned by Grant. Something was there, but I didn’t know Satin and Grant’s story. I was left wondering what Allie saw that convinced her to be his submissive. I see great potential in Ms. Rowe’s writing and I'll be looking for more from her as she continues to grow as an author. It’s one step from the magic that would have made this book great.
If you’re looking for a hot romance with interesting characters and a unique setting, try Management Skills. You’ll especially enjoy the twist at the end.