Who’s the Boss, an all-new, sizzling enemies-to-lovers workplace romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy is available now!
Arrogant, charming and sexy as hell, Master chef Sean Kincaid is legendary both in the kitchen and in the bedroom. So of course it only took five minutes for him to get me overheated. My temper that is.
Because Sean Kincaid is my new boss. Who has strolled into my kitchen demanding I follow his rules. I don’t like taking orders from anyone but certainly not from a grumpy man who knows how to push all of my buttons.
And when a Best Chef competition pits the two of us against each other, it’s either going to be a sizzler–or a recipe for disaster.
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I didn’t know who he was at the time, but he annoyed me from the very first second he entered the same air space as me.
The feeling had clearly been mutual.
On my way to my friend Felicia’s engagement party, I was already in the elevator reaching for the button when a very tall, very attractive guy threw his arm up to stop the door from closing. The door bounced back open and he stepped in the elevator with a victorious smile on his face.
Then he stopped. Mid-smile, he just cut it off. Like once he’d taken in the view of me and made eye contact, he’d decided I no longer was worthy of his teeth being displayed.
It was so shockingly obvious that I had an immediate intense negative reaction in return. Boom. Insta-hate.
I had a reputation of being something of a cynic because I don’t think couples should jump into moving in together or say, get married after a couple of weeks. I believe in taking it slow and background checks, so sue me. Proceed with caution or get your heart shattered into a million pieces. Or worse, you wind up with a restraining order. But I wasn’t unfriendly. I liked people. I was open to giving everyone a shot. It was rare for me to dislike a guy on sight.
But that dismissive glance made me want to build a wall brick by brick between us so I didn’t have to look at his arrogant face.
“What floor?” I asked, to be polite, because even though I couldn’t shake that flicker of irritation, I wasn’t going to be a bitch.
“Four. I’m going to my brother’s engagement party.” He made a sound of disgust, shaking his head. “He’s marrying some psycho he met on a dating app a hot minute ago.”
We were going to the same party. Fabulous. I actually agreed with him that the engagement was too fast. Which it definitely was. Felicia and Michael had been dating all of three weeks. But that psycho was my best friend, and why was she the crazy one and his brother wasn’t when both of them had jumped into the engagement?
“I’m going to the same apartment,” I said, studiously staring at the numbers panel. Do not engage. Do not argue with a total stranger, I coached myself.
We were only on the second floor. Slowest. Elevator. Ever.
“Oh, you know Michael? Do you work with him? Can you talk him out of this ridiculous engagement?”
I had never met Michael (because as mentioned, Felicia and Michael had basically just met themselves) but it wasn’t reassuring that I would adore Felicia’s fiancé if he shared DNA with this guy standing next to me.
“No, I don’t work with Michael.” I turned and gave him a hard stare. “Felicia is one of my best friends. You know, the psycho marrying your brother.”
Understanding dawned, but he merely grinned. He didn’t look even remotely apologetic. “No kidding? Small world.”
“How does that make it a small world?” I asked, unable to contain myself. “There are eight units in this building, two on the first floor, and we’re on the elevator together. Odds are we’d be going to the same party.”
His eyebrows shot up. “It’s called small talk. A non sequitur.”
Was that mansplaining? My vow to be polite disintegrated. “Small world, small talk… what else in your world is small?” I asked, giving him a questioning stare.
He just gave a laugh. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“No. I wouldn’t.” Because I doubted he had a small anything, in spite of my jab.
Because unfortunately, he was actually a hot piece of man candy. I could admit that. He was tall, broad shouldered, with a strong jaw. He had light green eyes that gave off an icy coolness and cheekbones that women spent hours watching YouTube videos to try to achieve with contouring. He hadn’t shaved recently, but it wasn’t a full beard. Just a few days of caramel-colored stubble that I had no doubt most women would enjoy running their fingers through.
He was gorgeous and muscular and probably had a cock to back up all that confidence. Which made me dislike him even more.
“What do you think of this engagement?” he asked. “Seriously. No offense, but there has to be something wrong with your friend.”
“Are you serious?” Because again, Felicia was defective, but that made his brother normal? I wasn’t going to be a bitch on my own behalf, but if you mess with my friends, I will bring it. I opened my mouth to annihilate him, but got distracted when the elevator jerked to a sudden halt.
“Why are we stopping?” he asked, looking up.
The second-floor button was still lit up. “Maybe someone is going up from the second floor,” I said, because duh. That’s what elevators do. They stop at floors.
“But the doors aren’t opening.” He reached out and jammed his finger repeatedly into the “open door” button.
Fighting the urge to sigh, I just stood there and watched him pull back from the panel and run his hand through his hair.
“Nothing is happening.”
No, it wasn’t. I unfurled my scarf so it wasn’t covering my neck. It was December and I was bundled up from the commute from Brooklyn to SoHo. It was getting stuffy in the elevator. I had my purse over my shoulder and across my midsection so I didn’t have to carry it and I shifted so that I could unzip my winter coat.
Michael’s brother turned to me, panic clear on his face. “What the hell do we do?”
“It might start up again in a minute,” I said, not really that worried. I’d been on enough trains that had stopped and started again without any reason or explanation. I’d also been trapped in an elevator once about four years earlier and that had lasted three hours. Once we got past ten minutes, I would start to get concerned, but for now I wasn’t going to freak out. “Push the help button.”
That seemed an obvious course of action to me.
But he dismissed that idea. “No one is going to respond to that.”
Okay, Mr. Elevator Expert.
“I’ll push it, then.” I tried to shift around him, but he wasn’t moving. “Excuse me.” I was determined to keep my cool.
He wrinkled his nose and frowned down at me. “What? Why?”
“So I can push the button.”
The frown deepened. His mouth was sensual, with lips that probably could do amazing things to a woman’s inner thighs, after he stripped her naked.
Who’s the Boss? is an excellent example of workplace romance (with an enemies-to-lovers flavor, though it’s really just-got-off-on-the-wrong-foot-darn-that-elevator antagonism, rather than true enemies) done right–all the romance, with none of the inappropriate squickiness. (My browser is telling me that’s not a word, but I trust we all know what I mean, yes? 😉 )
I loved Isla and Sean together. From their OMG-so-hot first kiss up against the wall all the way through one of the most awkward (but effective!) grand gestures ever, I didn’t want to put this book down. It made me laugh (literally right up until the last line of the book) just as much as it made me sigh. When Isla’s ovaries were feeling the effects of Sean with small children? Mine were right there with them.
Have a fan handy, and perhaps a few frosty drinks is what I’m saying. You’ll be glad you did 😉
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written over seventy-five novels and novellas in the romance and mystery genres. Erin has a special weakness for high-heeled boots, martinis, and Frank Sinatra. She lives with her renovation-addicted husband (he built her a bar, so it’s all good!) and their blended family of kids and rescue dogs.
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