Re-read Beautiful Bastard

Read Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1)

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Re-read this for the first time since 2018. Didn’t enjoy it as much as I remembered. The “hero” is a jerk and acts inappropriately, but the “heroine” is also kind of entitled and bitchy and reads the worst into everything he says and does. It’s not a healthy relationship for sure, but I guess they’re having fun screwing a lot, and maybe they get what they deserve in each other?

I can kind of see the Twilight influences underneath? “I don’t want to want this.” But I feel like the authors pulled it a long way from the original roots. Also aging up the characters to not be teens, and also much closer to each other in age, reads a lot better. Lol did they leave a side character named Mina as a reference to vampire stories?

I’ve read a lot of Christina Lauren’s more recent books so it’s interesting to return to their first published work, which is much less character-driven, and a lot steamier compared to their much tamer recent works. (I forgot about the underwear ripping and stashing, which feels out of character to envision a supposedly sophisticated grown man actually doing, but I’m not going to yuck someone else’s yum if others are into it.) This would have benefited from a lot more character development and awareness of the risks of the situation, especially on his end. He comes off pretty self-absorbed to not realize the power dynamic. I wonder if the story would have worked with her as the exec and him as the intern — keeping him as the one to make the first move?

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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