Rating: 2 stars
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Ion is an employee at Bellamy International, a company that deals in corporate takeovers. While working in the mailroom is not his ideal job, Ion knows pursuing his business degree will lend him the much-needed boost to rise up in the company. His best friend, Patrick, works directly for the boss of the company, Adrien Bellamy. Adrien is an unusual corporate leader, showing care for the employees of the failing companies he buys up and attempting to help them transition either with their jobs intact or placement in a new position.
When Ion finds out that the toy company his parents and brother work for has been taken over by Bellamy and their jobs are on the potential chopping block, he devises a way for the company to not only keep its workforce intact, but eventually thrive as well. With Patrick’s help, he gets his plan submitted and ends up with an interview for a new position within the company. Not only that, but Ion and Adrien discover that they are mutually attracted to one another and quite possibly falling head over heels in love. But can Ion really date the boss just when he is about to begin a new job within the company?
I wish I could tell you that the combination of lowly employee and hot boss (a kind of cinderfella) falling instantly in love really worked in the case of this novel, Remove the Empty Spaces. I felt as though the beginning of a good story was in place. Author T.A. Chase gave us two charismatic men who are interesting and dynamic in their own right and very hot and engaging when together. But then the story seemed to veer off into this one upmanship as both men began to discuss taking the other to meet their parents. And while Ion has so many concerns about the disparity in their social status—his low income versus Adrien’s silver spoon type of life—each time they were tossed aside and never really fully realized or discussed.
Essentially this story seemed to be lacking both direction and closure. Fairly early on it was established that both men were falling in love, but the development of their individual worries, such as Ion seeing his rise in the company as a reward for being the boss’ boyfriend, never really went anywhere, never really became the tense questioning issue that Ion made it out to be in his mind. So it feel flat and was soon discarded, left unfinished. And Adrien’s worry that his mother would essentially be so incredibly snobbish and callous that Ion would go running off also failed to come to fruition. Instead there was some minor sniping and then, much like Adrien, his mother fell instantly in love with Ion as a potential son-in-law. Finally there was this huge buildup of how Ion would not take Adrien home to his rather homophobic parents until he was positive they were solid and had staying power as a couple. When he finally does suggest that it is time for Adrien to meet them, the story ends abruptly leaving us with the burning question of how that confrontation went off.
All in all I felt that Remove the Empty Spaces was a story that never quite left the launch pad and merely drifted along rather aimlessly. T.A. Chase is a good author and this is unusual work from such a talented writer. I think other stories by this author have much greater impact and more solid plot lines; unfortunately, this novella was not one of them.