Daniel Collins works in a bar called Cowboys and Angels. It’s a place where working class people come to drink and get a little wild. He enjoys the job, the patrons, his coworkers, and especially his boss, Gideon Tyler. Dan’s had a crush on Gideon since he started work at the bar, but Gideon’s older, a widower with a 21-year-old daughter, and…straight. One day, Dan’s friend Marty announces he’s getting married and asks Dan to be his best man. A discussion about bringing a date ensues, and wouldn’t you know it? Gideon and his daughter walk in just as the discussion begins.
Gideon lost his wife and young son to a carjacking, so it’s only him and his daughter, Ariel. He trusts Dan to run his bar while he sits upstairs in his apartment doing paperwork and focusing on his other businesses. Gideon can’t help but be amused when his daughter and Dan’s friend tease Dan about getting a date to Marty’s wedding. When Ariel gets it into her head to have a gay speed dating night at the bar to find Marty a plus one, Gideon allows it to go ahead and even helps.
The night of the event brings interesting and surprising developments for Dan, the main one being Gideon is bisexual and a participant in the evening’s festivities. At first, Dan feels like the butt of a joke, but through some convincing and charm, he agrees to let Gideon escort him to Marty’s wedding. Now, Dan wonders if Gideon is actually interested in him or if he’s just helping out an employee/friend. Gideon really steps up to the plate when Dan needs him most and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Dan knows it’s not just a favor.
By title alone, I grabbed up this book. I love boss/employee stories and if one of the men happen to be older than the other, that’s even better. I gave the blurb a precursory skim, but mostly, I was interested in the words speed dating. I can honestly say, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a book with that plot device, so I wanted to see where it went. I expected a fun, fluffy story, but what I got was so much better. Speed Dating the Boss had a surprising amount of depth and emotion, and I was thrilled with it.
Dan doesn’t have much…a tiny apartment, a beloved cat, and a disastrous date who refuses to go away. However, he enjoys his job and he works a lot. I loved him instantly, especially because of his secret crush on his boss (I kind of know how that is.). Dan is a good man with a good heart. He sticks by Marty, even though this particular marriage will be Marty’s third. When he begrudgingly decides to go along with Ariel’s plan to get him a date, I was equally amused and mortified. Of course, I figured out what would happen, and I was excited to see how it would play out. I was not disappointed whatsoever.
Gideon was just a teeny bit harder to love, but only at first. He really let Ariel walk all over him. He refused to reign her in like he should have and let her go about her way, getting his bar torn up nearly every night. He didn’t want to tell her no because of the loss of his wife and son. She was all he had left. However, I eventually gave in to his Texas charm (transplanted to NYC). Whenever he said, darlin’ I got a little melty. Again, it was no real surprise when he turned out to be bisexual and would be part of the speed dating party. What was a surprise to me was how he seamlessly worked his way into Dan’s life and heart. I was utterly charmed. Even Gideon was older and had been through quite a bit in his life, he had what I considered to be an innocence about him. He was just so damn sweet.
As a couple, Dan and Gideon were wonderful. Their love was a slow burn. They spent a lot of time together in and out of work. Gideon was patient with Dan because he knew what he wanted while Dan was confused and unsure. Their chemistry was off the charts, and even though they didn’t even kiss until late in the book, it was palpable. The author’s approach to the sex between the men was sort of less is more. There was some detail, but it wasn’t over the top. I was able to use my imagination and I felt better for that. It was quite romantic and so sweet. I loved every sentence.
There were only a few background characters worth mentioning in Speed Dating the Boss, includingMarty, Dan’s best friend and the soon to be groom; Lena, Marty’s fiancée; and Ariel, Gideon’s daughter. I found Ariel to be anything but endearing. I credited Dan for his patience with her and Gideon when he finally came to his senses. After that, there were several men who worked with Dan at Cowboys and Angels. Since this is the first book in a series, I imagine one or all of them will wind up with books of their own.
Speaking of this story as the beginning of a series…it’s a fantastic way to start. I was completely caught up in the story from the first page to the last. It was compelling and just about perfect. I absolutely cannot wait to see what comes next. I really recommend this one, especially for fans of employer/employee relationships, and May/December ones as well. Definitely pick this one up.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.