Saturday, July 21, 2018

Book Review: 'My Dream Job: A Billionaire Boss Romance' by Marcella Swann

New York City author Marcella Swann worked for years in the fast-paced world of journalism. She now turns her focus to writing romance novels – two to date, HARD DRIVE and now MY DREAM JOB, stories of strong-willed women who win the men of their desires. Originally small-town girl from the Midwest, Marcella now lives in New York City.

Though she is relative new in the Chick Lit realm, she shows potential – no, great promise for being a constant contributor to the genre of Chick Lit. Her style is casual and realistic as she demonstrates in the opening paragraphs – ‘Picking a show to watch shouldn’t have been hard, but I couldn’t settle down and keep my mind on any one thing. I felt drained, having finished my final exam that morning after staying up half the night studying. Being the first of my family to graduate college, relief had given way to a feeling of anti-climactic anxiety. My double major in business and marketing had been my summit for so long. Now, there was only one path and it felt downward. I held the remote loosely, my thumb pressing the clicker as the options flashed across the TV screen. I tried to focus from where I lay on the worn sofa, but nothing held my attention. “Callie? Please set the table, honey,” my mother called from the kitchen. I tossed the remote, letting it stop on one of the news channels. Wearily, I got to my pink-slippered feet and made myself a promise I’d go to bed right after supper. Pulling Grandma Courtney’s best china from the hutch, I mechanically set the table, idly listening to the reporter who was conducting an interview. During school, my dream after graduating had been to leave dreary Cleveland and head for a big city where the world would beat at my door, offering executive titles, lunches with clients, and opportunities to close big deals that would shoot me up the corporate ladder. In a few years, I’d be VP of marketing or business development, propelling the next big startup to the Fortune 500.
That unrealistic dream quickly dissolved, however, as I placed silverware around the table and contemplated which unpaid internship offer I should take while working at my uncle’s dry cleaners so that I could start to pay off my student debt. It stung, having struggled so long, holding down two jobs, taking classes during the summer to graduate early, only to realize that this was just a small hill to a much larger mountaintop. My mind drifted, trying to ease the stress of the unknown future. I fell into another familiar dream of mine, a secret fantasy really, one that always helped me to escape. I imagined a powerful, hot corporate type who would recognize my potential and offer me an alluring mixture of adventure and opportunity. We would travel on business trips to Tokyo and Berlin, map out product strategies into the late hours at his corner office, take cabs together, our hands touching, he'd move closer… The T.V. crept back into my consciousness, and slowly my daydream faded, obscured by a beer commercial and the fog of my uncertainty. When the newscast returned, I heard a tinge of awe in the reporter’s voice as he introduced the next guest, Alec Berenson. That caught my interest and I turned to watch the screen. Talk about a hunk; his chiseled shoulders and hazel eyes stopped me cold. “Mr. Berenson, I’m sure you’ve heard yourself called ‘The Wizard of Women?’ Tell us, how did that get started?” the young reporter ventured nervously. I giggled to myself while thinking of the other name my friends and I had for him, the Brad Pitt of Business.’

From these words she develops her story of approach/avoidance romance – ‘Callie - He sees right through me. I like it. No, I crave it. His attention is like an opiate. It isn’t about the money. It isn’t about the power. Then what? Even ask myself, I already know the answer. He’s the summit of the mountain I can’t scale, no matter which tools I use. I would give him my body, but he tosses women away without a glance. I could offer my mind, but he’d play me like a well-fingered instrument. He’s mastered life and everything in it. He holds the secrets. He is everything I want and cannot get for myself. I’ll find his weakness and when I do …Alec - I’ve grown bored with success. The extraordinary has become my routine. Then she walked into my seminar and I felt the flame of challenge. I wanted her mind, her innocence, her body. It wasn’t her youth, not even her siren’s body. It was the untilled soil of her potential that drew me toward her. She was the only thing I could not buy, could not create and could not command. She was the supreme protégé; the urn to receive my carefully cultivated, highly sensitive awareness. She sat there before me, willing and adoring. Could I resist my urge to make her what I wanted her to be? Could I leave her richer for having been with me? Could I leave her … ever?’

Marcella Swann – a strong new voice in romantic novels. Watch her grow. Grady Harp, July 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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