In addition to her review, Ingrid has recommended this book in four other discussion posts or listicles. And also she tells us to read it in the group chat even more than that. And so, finally, I did. I actually listened to the audiobook, and Dominic’s POV is voiced by Sebastian York, who has what I consider this perfect, er, asshole voice (Sorry, Sebastian! You’re really fun to listen to!), so when Dominic is all up in his feelings but still going through with his, er, bad behavior anyway, it’s just perfection. Erin Mallon voices Ally’s chapters, and she’s also a great narrator. So easy to listen to. Great audio.
Okay but the book.
My primary takeaway from this book is that it addresses the power dynamics of an employer/employee relationship better than any such romance I have ever read. And that is a trope I enjoy, even if it’s problematic. Fiction is great, right? Anyway, Ingrid definitely touches on this, too, in her review, but I think it should be said again.
Because he’s lived through the repercussions of his father’s actions, Dominic is so fully against a workplace romance – for all the right reasons! – that he actually fails to see the difference between what his father did to the women in his employ and Dominic’s own relationship with Ally. There were actually times when I was frustrated with Ally, who got mad at Dominic for his refusal to engage with her even though she was very clearly consenting, because Dominic was so utterly clear that consent doesn’t work the same way when their workplace power dynamics were in play. And yet, because Score included the component of Dominic’s dad’s sexual assault and harassment, the reader is still able to see the difference between what Dominic’s going through and what his dad was doing. As the numerous harassment trainings I’ve attended have told me: sexual harassment is not about sex; it’s about power. And that’s exactly what Dominic’s dad very clearly illustrates, but what Dominic fails to see in his own feelings about Ally.
(Also, once things pull together, they go straight to HR, which is great, although HR really shouldn’t have allowed Dominic in the room with Ally while they were discussing the relationship, because if she were being pressured, she couldn’t say so in front of Dominic – but hey, FICTION! There’s a beautiful hand-holding moment that we would have otherwise missed out on.)
The other thing I really liked was that Dominic knows he’s being so bad but just can’t help himself. I like a self-aware protagonist. Makes the naughty behavior less gross. But also Dominic is a big softie. He wants Ally to eat, but he knows it’s not appropriate to buy her food, so he buys food for the whole department. Still not entirely appropriate, and not very sustainable, but definitely shows his soft underbelly while he’s being a, um, little stinker.
Anyway, it’s a long one, but very well thought out. Read on for Ingrid’s original glowing review.
Heat Factor: It’s on fire to the MAX.
Character Chemistry: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my. Waiting for these two to get it going was like waiting to turn 6 when you’re 5.
Plot: So. Dominic takes over for his philandering, sexual assault-y lump of a father at his mother’s company. Ally is barely keeping it together trying to take care of her father, who has Alzheimer’s and needs to stay in his very expensive care facility. Dominic gets Ally fired from her job in a pizzeria, and Dominic’s mother hires Ally to work at their very intense fashion house.
Overall: This book was absolutely mind-bogglingly good.
This book is just…proof authors think of everything.
Dominic and his mother are basically running Vogue. When his mom hires Ally after Dominic gets her fired (quite purposefully, he was a real dingus), it’s frankly because Ally is the only person willing to serve it straight up to her unbearably aloof son. Ally pretty much needs this job because she’s found herself in an impossible situation–working as many jobs as she can while renovating her father’s house, so that she can sell it and keep her father in his care facility. It’s a relatable and genuine pickle.
Here’s what’s pure magic about this book: Ally’s entire life is dependent upon her employment at Dominic’s company. The author weaves it so that it’s very clear that Ally needs this job. However, instead of tip-toeing around the potentially litigious power dynamic here, the author flips it and unravels it. This is what I mean by that: Dominic is completely against crossing ANY lines (romantically) in the workplace because he has seen the damage that causes and is somewhat traumatized by his father’s behavior. But he keeps getting really close to the line because he’s completely enamored by Ally (even though he’s like the grumpiest man I’ve ever seen on a page). And Ally is a very straightforward woman who lives very boldly and handles her crap even when it’s falling down around her, who is willing to take chances on the things she believes in. Like Dominic.
At one point, there’s a strip scene, and then another time Dominic gets super tipsy and it turns out he goes full cinnamon roll after a few too many drinks?? I couldn’t put this book down, and I fell so hard for this book I wanted to marry it.
Grumpy/sunshine, guys….at Vogue. Go read it.
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