Review: Executive Decision by Mandy M. Roth

Friday, April 8

Author: Mandy M. Roth
Series: Bright Lights, Big City
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: The Raven Books; 2nd Edition
Format: Digital E-Book
Date/Year: Original Electronic Edition December 2007. 2nd Electronic Edition July 2010
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was purchased for the reviewer's own reading enjoyment

Summary from the publisher:

The bright lights of the big city called to Liz Rogers. Her best friend and almost roommate, Dale, helped her make the transition from small town girl to big time ad executive. They work together and nearly live together. For eight years he’s been her rock, her sounding board. As Liz starts breaking off one workplace relationship, another one—that has been brewing since the first day she arrived in New York, blossoms—leaving her confused and concerned. She’d been burned once by love and isn’t willing to risk her heart again, especially not to a man who was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Dale Corbin has been in love with Liz from the moment he laid eyes on her. He knows time is running out, that one of these days she’s going to come home and tell him she’s fallen for someone else. When he finds out she’s been sleeping with their boss, he decides it’s time to take matters into his own hands. Unfortunately, winning Liz’s heart isn’t an easy game to play. It will take more than romantic gestures and sweet nothings to get the woman he loves. Thankfully, he’s a very persistent man. But is this a game even he can’t win?

Warning: This book contains a quick tempered heroine, an uber hot leading man, toe-curling sex and people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, regardless of the language used.

My Musings:

The first thing I would like to say about this book is that the Mandy M. Roth, herself, is responsible for the cover art on this novel, and I am sure on many more, if not all of her others. Amazing. I didn’t realize this until I read that she moonlights as an artist under “Natalie Winters.” Just an interesting little tidbit of info there……she is obviously a very talented woman.

I can’t get a grip for Roth’s writing style because this is the first book of hers I have read. The reason for that is I am not a fan of Paranormal Romance at ALL. I know it would open up a whole new world of books for me; I just can’t seem to get into it. That whole “suspension of disbelief” cliché just sums it up for me. If there is no way I can believe it, then I can’t like it very much. I know. It’s closed minded. I have dipped my toe in with Kresley Cole’s “A Hunger Like No Other.” It was great, but……well anyway, back to Executive Decision.

We all have read a gazillion romances with the “friends to lovers” scenario. It’s a great story line, sure. It happens in real life all the time so many people can identify with it. Sometimes, these stories are the best because the characters are emotionally involved. And that always seems to make for a deeper plot and deeper love between the Hero and Heroine. The problem I tend to have with these types of story lines, especially in what we consider “Erotic” Romance, is that the transition can be awkward. The Big “Oh, Shit on a Stick, I’m having Sex with my BFF!”scene is forced to happen in order to make the story work. There is nothing worse or more tragic than an awkward love scene between friends with no chemistry, whether it’s a book, movie, or real life.  Well, thank goodness the above is NOT the case with this book.

Elizabeth Rogers (Liz or Liz-B as she’s otherwise known in the book) came from a small town to New York to work at an Ad agency immediately after her college graduation. Lost, heartbroken, and intimidated by her new surroundings, she meets Dale Corbin, a new coworker.  Dale is a boarding school type, and is posh, sophisticated, trust fund-rich, an immaculate dresser (without being metrosexual) and everything Liz does not appear to be. He also happens to be a very beautiful and special person. And according to every other woman in the office and the greater female population of New York, the Man is Hotter than Fire. But alas, Liz just doesn’t “see” him that way. He shows her the ropes at work and in the Big City, and they become attached at the hip.

Dale and Liz become soooooo close for the next 8 or so years that they end up practically living together. The very few times she is at his apartment, ($4000 a month with Doorman overlooking Park Ave...this is fantasy, by the way *grin*) he has done everything in his power to make it comfortable for her. More homey, less sterile.  So much so that he buys a furry rug in the bedroom so her feet won’t get cold, amongst other additions to furnishings to make her comfortable. Liz is constantly confused by his sweet gestures, but we’re not!! He has keys to her place also (which is next to his little sister and Liz’s good friend Paige) and stays with her almost every night. Sleeps in her bed. Drinks her coffee. Shares a cab with her to work. Walks around in a towel. I know, WTF, right? The reader wonders, “How does she not see it?”

Somehow, Liz manages to keep a secret from Dale that she is sleeping with her Dirty Old Man boss-and has been for an entire year. He’s really not that old, but that’s what I feel like calling him. Anyway, the Ick relationship between Liz and Mr. Boss man is cooling down a little, and she is starting to pull away. Unfortunately, because of nosey but well-meaning neighbors, and instinct on Dale’s part, he finds out about the relationship and is hurt and astounded that she can keep a secret of this magnitude from him.

The way they end up physically, ahem, *expressing* themselves is actually an accident, but so VERY Hot. Whew!  It is awkward, but in a STEAMY way. It’s done differently, and it’s done right. The tension that Roth creates here is nothing short of Sexual Genius, in my humble opinion of course.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever read, and I swear if I didn’t know better, it had happened to this author.

You want to just throttle Liz in this book. We know she is smart.  So….why is she sleeping with her Dirty Old Man Boss? Why are she and Dale not married and busy making 45 babies? Well, of course she has been hurt before, and the dynamics of that hold her away from getting too involved, even though she already is. It is kind of funny to see her deny what is right in front of her, even though the reader is present through her internal struggle. We experience it first-hand since this is written in First Person POV. We KNOW Dale is in love with Liz, and we don’t even know his thoughts!! And of COURSE she’s in love with him too! How does she not know? We keep wondering…….

This book is very enjoyable and is a page turner.  I’ve read it more than once, which is rare for me. Ms. Roth has written very few contemporaries, but that doesn’t matter here-she does an excellent job.  Is it perfect? No. There are a few things that bug me. But I haven’t written a book so I can’t really criticize that much. There is a lot of designer label name dropping, which I don’t think is really essential to the story. Also, I personally can’t pin down what the catalyst is for Liz to start feeling sudden stirrings of lust for Dale. It kind of comes out of nowhere for me. Intellectually and as a woman I understand that it can appear for no reason, but I want the author to tell me why it’s happening and what brought it about. Also, there is some horrible treatment of Liz by Dale’s stick-up-her-ass Mother, and she has a bit of a turnaround in attitude which is a little sketchy.

I would highly recommend this book. It is an honest look at the changes in a relationship that is one-sided and suddenly goes to full steam ahead. There are bumps along the way, and you ache for Dale at times. You also ache for Liz and her warring emotions. There is confusion and doubt, but also joy, contentment, and Happily Ever After!! ♥

  • Overall:  4.50 Stars (It’s not perfect, but I darn sure couldn’t write a better book. It will continue to be one of my very favorites!!)
  • Sensuality level: 4.50  (Not that many love scenes, but they are potent and super steamy!! Less is more in this case)
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