When I was reading Emma St. Clair’s Love Clichés series, this book by Donna Jeffries just kept coming up. It’s probably because there’s a similarity in plot somewhere, so automatically this makes my TBR list. The book synopsis was also intriguing–hinting at a workplace romance between two very different people whose circumstances require a complicated, pretend relationship. We all know how pretend relationships go in romcom series–it’s either things get very real, very fast or relationships simply start crumbling down. Well, I’m happy to say we have both in this book.
Just His Secretary features characters Dawson and Callie. Callie is a woman who is well-organized, loves her routines, and excels in her job as a secretary for a thriving marketing firm. She enjoys her Skittles sorted by color, and eaten in a specific color combination to bring out the best flavors. She gets along with everyone she meets, and seems to be the only person who can stand the surliest man alive, Dawson–who happens to be Callie’s boss.
Dawson, despite being heir to one of the country’s largest group of companies, pursued a career outside his family business, creating his own marketing firm from the ground up. He’s a workaholic who has dedicated the last ten years into making his company a Charleston household name. But Dawson’s hard work alone did not allow him to achieve this level of success, not that he would admit to it but a large portion of his company’s now-prominence would be because of Callie and her dedication to getting the job done. Dawson knows he’s lucky to have someone like Callie–not just at the office but also in his life. From making sure he gets his meetings lined up, to keeping his mother happy while she’s in town, Callie can get through anything and everything. Well, almost everything.
Dawson’s mother, Lila Houser, is in town for business. But since the business is a family business, this trip might not strictly be professional. No, Lila is visiting to remind her son that she would soon name an heir, one who would manage and lead multiple successful businesses in the country. To qualify though, Dawson must get married, or at least be dating someone seriously, with thoughts of family and settling down on the way. This complicates things because Dawson, having been left by his fiancé at the altar many years ago, is hugely averse to marriage. So when his mother finally drops the bomb on him the only solution he could come up with was to pin Callie to his side and announce that they’re dating.
Okay, so generally that’s how the plot goes. There are others details, but I don’t want to spoil everything so you just have to read the book for those. But yeah, the storyline is simple and straight to the point. There are scenes though that I find confusing because it fails to explain the shifts within the characters. But the banter is there, the conflict is also there. It’s just difficult to understand the characters’ point of view sometimes. Because one moment there would be flirting and harmless banter, and then the next you would see a flurry of emotions and escalating arguments, only to die down after some time and then the characters would act like nothing happened. It’s confusing. I mean, it can be how they are created, but it doesn’t give the story a smooth flow.
I give this book 3 stars. To be honest, I expected more after reading that intriguing synopsis. I mean, I like Callie, and I think some parts of her personality resonate with my own. However, I don’t think the chemistry between her and Dawson was fully established. Or it can be that the transition scene from the two being a pretend couple to a real one was, at best, downplayed. It felt rushed and a bit impersonal, to be honest. It’s just like someone deciding to clean their house, when just moments ago they said they wouldn’t–like it’s simply a change of mind, not a change of heart. It’s how I felt when I was reading that scene. I wish it could’ve been more.
Anyway, there’s a total of three books in this series. As usual, the other books involve characters introduced in this one. I’ll try to read those too, but no promises for now, okay?
- Title: Just His Secretary
- Author: Donna Jeffries
- Year published: 2021
- Publisher: straight to Kindle
- Total number of pages: 362