Book Review

The Boss’s Virgin by Charlotte Lamb


Title: The Boss's Virgin
Author: Charlotte Lamb
Publication Info: Harlequin November 2001
ISBN: 0373122144
Genre: Contemporary Romance

I started reading Charlotte Lamb’s last novel, The Boss’s Virgin, at about 9:00 pm last night. At 10:30 I was 75% finished with it, and could barely make myself put it down. The words are like the crazy glue with my fingers.

And my unstoppable yen to keep reading grows despite the following list of absurdities:

1. Not only are there an abundance of punishing kisses (ow) but there’s a great deal of insistence on the part of the Insane Hero that she likes it: “You little liar! You love it when I kiss you!” That pretty much sums up the hero, that sentence right there.

2. The heroine: weird. WEIRD. She resists the Insane Hero but when he kisses her, it’s not as if she actually LIKES it. It’s more like he has incredibly fast acting rohypnol on his lips and whenever he kisses her, she lapses into a coma. A complete cessation of brain function occurs. At one point, I’m not even kidding, she’s in her passion-fog coma, and then realizes that at some point, she got naked and so did he and neither of them had a stitch of clothing on! Oh, noes! 

Now, the awkward process that is removing a bra from another person, let alone panties or socks or God forbid pantyhose, would wake someone who was merely sleeping, so what kind of haze is this woman in!? And, perhaps I’m over-thinking this, but I can’t help but ask: where is the line that defines “I’m so hot for you I can barely see straight” as opposed to “taking complete advantage of some ninny who descends into non compos mentis with one kiss?” I’m telling you: roofie kisses: Mmmmwaaaahhzhzzzzzzzzzzzz. Hey! Where are my clothes?

3. There’s profoundly little variety in the plot. Avast! We have a storm front of punishing kisses with a 90% chance of throwing the heroine down on the nearest horizontal surface!

Then, the wind changes. Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz runs away to another location, fleeing her own home like it’s been condemned by the power of his tornado of burning, somewhat stalkery and utterly insane love.

Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You follows Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz (see “stalkery and utterly insane” above) and hello…more punishing kisses. Nearest Horizontal Surface + Roofie Kisses MWAAHHHZZZZ + Absurd Removal of Clothes = UH Oh Spaghettios!

4. They get caught! By her fiance, one week before the wedding! Oh, noes! Milquetoast Fiance finds them IN her bedroom, buck naked, in flagrante licking-toe.

Cue the woeful haiku chorus:

She’s not pure as snow?
Virginal expectations
Dashed to muddy slush!

4. Jilted Milquetoast Fiance, he’s up to something. No man is that controlling while being that kind, particularly if that man is a spurned, humiliated former fiance in a Harlequin Presents romance novel. He will be villainized by the end of the book, mark my words!

Cue the mournful trombone.

I found you in bed!
With HIM?! The wedding is off!
…I can has yr house?

I smell financial shenanigans on the part of Jilted Milquetoast Fiance to be unearthed by the tender business acumen that runs alongside the passion for punishing kisses in the Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You.

5. Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz runs away again. Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You follows her again. Roofie Kisses Mwwwaaaahahazzzz promises she won’t run. Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You begs her for her love, her mad sexxoring, her hand in marriage, whatever. Roofie Kisses Mwwaaaahahzzz takes off the minute Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You closes the door to take a leak.

6. Lather rinse repeat.

7. Even the setup of the plot is absurd: after one week of knowing one another in a boss/secretary environment, and after four years of subsequent separation, there’s more punishing kisses and entirely bizarre declarations of love from Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You than you can shake a stick at. A long, suddenly naked, where did THAT come from stick.

8. Enter the insanely beautiful and potentially insane ex-wife of Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You, the oddly precocious son of Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You, and some additional conflict, and stir.

I promise, you’ll get fizz. Lots and lots of fizz. 

And you know what? Candy is right. That fizz is drinkable. Drink the fizz, it says. You’ll want more. Turn the page, more fizz! 

This book is like that crackly fizzy candy – the sugar variety, not the Malaysian variety. It’s not satisfying yet you can’t stop the compulsion to taste it some more.

It’s cracktastic, sudzy, over the top, silly and utterly insane fizzy candy, and I cannot put it the hell down. It’s a horrible turn-the-page omg-what-next experience, reading this book. What is IN this book? The utterly frothy insanity is just too absurdedly entertaining to put down, and even though my ability to suspend belief deflated by page 3, I am still reading at a crackalicious pace simply because I cannot stop myself from wanting to know what crazy ass car will be loaded next onto the holy crap locomotion. Seriously.

It’s absurd. The Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz heroine vacillates between spineless – or possibly unconscious – and strong enough to run away from a hero who scares her. Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You is autocractic, demanding, and, dare I say, punishing in his affections, which he declares immediately and presumes she returns based on… well, based on what evidence I have no idea. Perhaps falling in love for him is based on the idea that if you insist upon it enough, it will come true?

The plot goes in loopy circles that don’t spell out so much forward progression as they do plain old loopyness, and yet. I. Cannot. Put. It. Down. Even the ending is one last resist, one last insist, one last punishing kiss. Nothing’s so much resolved as just…exhausted, and thus the story winds to a unsatisfying finish. I believe I said out loud, “Are you kidding? That’s it?”

Bottom line: this is bad entertainment at its finest. The book on its own is a solid D. But that D comes with a hefty caveat: it’s practically impossible to retreat from this book. You’d love to fling it at the wall, but you can’t, because there’s one more page and surely she isn’t going to –

Oooooh, yes, she did. *turn page*

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    azteclady says:

    If the book is a tenth as entertaining as your review, it’s worth full price! *wiping tears of mirth off my face*

  2. 2
    Sarabeth says:

    I think I’ll skip the book and just re-read your review. Talk about fantastic. My kids keep asking me what is so funny.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Tina says:

    It’s more like he has incredibly fast acting rohypnol on his lips and whenever he kisses her, she lapses into a coma. A complete cessation of brain function occurs. At one point, I’m not even kidding, she’s in her passion-fog coma, and then realizes that at some point, she got naked and so did he and neither of them had a stitch of clothing on! Oh, noes!

    Insane Hero’s kiss sounds like the template for Austin Powers’ mojo!  Both inexplicable and, yet, strangely powerful.

  5. 5
    Leslie says:

    I’m debating whether I should:

    1) drown myself in my tears of pity since dribble like that can get published and my GH-finalling ms can’t
    2) hurriedly dash off a book with assinine characters and an effed up plot and send it to Harl!

  6. 6
    Sarabeth says:

    Leslie,I feel the same way, except I don’t have a GH-finalist MS. Still, I know my MS is so much better than what was described. Maybe we should pen a MS that’s all crazy like this one, make a date to send it to Harl, and see what happens.

  7. 7
    kaetchen says:

    Okay, now I’ve had to turn on Echo and the Bunnymen – “Lips like roofies, roofie kisses…”

  8. 8
    Jessica D says:

    Please, please tell me you set up macros for those names instead of typing them over and over.

    (Review? LOLtastic.)

  9. 9
    willaful says:

    I need this one! I just can’t seem to find a really so-craptastic-I-can’t-put-it-down-HP lately!

  10. 10
    joanne says:

    I wish I were ashamed or embarrassed or even slightly mortified about how much I look forward to STORY HOUR AT CASA BITCHES——I am not—- I love it.


  11. 11
    Tumperkin says:

    Is there a lot of description of meals in this one?  Does the heroine eat a rather weird sounding appetiser of hollowed-out melon filled with a cornucopia of fruits? 

    If so, I know the one you’re talking about.  (In my experience, the later the CL novel, the more time is spent describing meals.  This gets on my nerves if for no other reason than the fact that the heroine is always thin and always refuses dessert.  Bitch.).

    But I don’t mean to be snarky – I am an unashamed Charlotte Lamb fan.  I officially love her.  She wrote about 20 completely fantastic category romances in the late 70s/ early 80s and they are CLASSICS.  But if I’m honest, everything she wrote after about 1985 has been a bit of a disappointment to me because of those perfect little books from her heyday.

    FYI – I would be DELIGHTED to send you or Candy one of those heyday books for review.

  12. 12
    SB Sarah says:

    heroine eat a rather weird sounding appetiser of hollowed-out melon filled with a cornucopia of fruits

    Yes, some sort of melon filled with a bunch of weird fruits drenched in some sweet liquor. The heroine thinks it’s kirsch. I think I was nauseous.

    And I’d LOVE a heydey Lamb recommendation, please!

  13. 13
    fanny says:

    Dude.  I am absolutely running out to buy this extravaganza of awesomeness.

  14. 14
    Angelina says:

    LOL SB Sarah – you had me at roofies.

  15. 15
    Xatya says:

    I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between your inability to put down the book, and the heroine’s inability to stay conscious during the Punishing Kisses ™.

    Are you certain that the book wasn’t printed with some sort of roofie-impregnated ink?

  16. 16
    AgTigress says:

    🙂  Never mind the book – the review should get an A grade.

    Charlotte Lamb:  I remember when I rather madly wrote a novel in the mid-80s and submitted it to M&B, when turning it down (with great kindness and courtesy, I may say), Lamb was one of the authors they suggested I study to get a better idea of what they wanted.

    Just for the record, fresh fruit with a touch of appropriate alcohol is excellent.  Kirsch is a clear, strong spirit distilled from cherries, and it is not sweet. It looks like water, smells of cherries, and is capable of putting you under the table.


    Spamfilter:  March49.  Yep, I remember March 1949.

  17. 17
    DianeH says:

    I have review-reading afterglow.  Thanks.  It was great for me.

  18. 18
    theladyferris says:

    What, no slapping?  Charlotte Lamb *did* move on to some extent, then!

  19. 19
    Mary Ellen Fuess says:

    There is no way that book can live up to that review. I’m still cracking up.

  20. 20
    Carrie Lofty says:

    Excellent. Thoroughly excellent.

  21. 21
    sara says:

    Licking toe? Egad. Where be my smelling salts?

  22. 22

    And she takes another one for the team!

    Your reviews are splendid, but the point I found most interesting was you kept reading.  This may be worth exploring further in your book—why are these novels like crack?  We keep reading even when our levels of credulity are stretched to the max.  What does that say about the books, and about us as readers?

  23. 23

    When am I going to learn NOT to read your reviews at work? Dead silence in the office and then I burst out laughing at “Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz.” I’m sure my lame excuse was believed by no one and unemployment is imminent.

  24. 24
    C.M. says:

    OMG, I’m going to agree with the general here: roofie kisses.  Laughed. Out. Loud.

  25. 25
    Wendy says:

    Oh god, Roofie Kisses Mwwaaahahhzzzzz and Insane Hero You Love It When I Kiss You!! I wish those were the real names for the hero and heroine!

  26. 26
    Tumperkin says:

    Oh man.

    My top 5 heyday reccs are:-

    1. Frustration (best evah)

    2. Obsession (gratuitous spanking scene *cheers*)

    3. Dark Dominion (it IS dark.  If you hated Claiming the Courtesan, you’ll really fucking hate this.  Personally I have a strange corner of my brain that I go to when I read this sort of Old Skool category romance and I’m basically ok with it *shrugs*.)

    4. The Long Surrender (Kind of ditto. She wrote this book in ONE weekend.)

    5. Savage Surrender –  NO – Duel of Desire – OR – Love is a Frenzy – SCRUB THAT – Fever.  Shit – any of ‘em.  They’re all great.

    And srsly, if you can’t locate one, I’ll happily send you one.

  27. 27
    Karmyn says:

    I totally love you in a totally non-lesbian way. That was the best review I’ve read since your last low grade review.

  28. 28
    Randi says:

    LOL. I abase myself at the feet of SB Sarah; who can write a ridiculously funny review that is more entertaining the last book I read, but also came up with two haikus. TWO. It takes me days to come up with one. And then, not so funny.
    *kneels and genuflects*

  29. 29
    Gennita Low says:

    Hey, stop making fun of my roofie kisses!!!

    And I second Dark Dominion.  Insane.

  30. 30
    talpianna says:

    Bitches, I think Sarah needs an intervention.  STAT!

  31. 31
    wendy says:

    Tumperkin, were we separated at birth?
    Charlotte, my favouritest 1980’s M & B author.

  32. 32
    Trix says:

    I totally love you in a lesbian (but totally platonic) way. Best character names evah.

  33. 33
    Sandra D says:

    I’ll sheepishly admit I keep reading this as The Boss’s Virgin Lamb, and really, wouldn’t THAT make for an interesting plot?

  34. 34
    Bailey says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this wonderful review. I have laughed so hard my monitor has been sprayed with coffee not once, but twice.

    I bow to your greatness, Sarah.

  35. 35
    gremlin says:

    sometimes i wonder if my husband wonders what i’m doing down here when i burst into laughter late at night.  🙂

    fwiw, my favorite classic Charlotte Lamb is Forbidden Fire (Harlequin Presents #298).  (
    though i have to admit i probably wasn’t even 18 when i first read it, and it may have been 10 years since i read it last.  but i could still give a decent summary!

    i’ve probably got about 100 Harlequin Presents on my keeper shelf – but i haven’t read any of them probably since 2000.  Savage Surrender (#401), mentioned by Tumperkin, is also on that shelf.

  36. 36
    Rachel says:

    Okay, so why was the book so good? Sounds like shallow, one dimensional characters.


  37. 37
    Lynn Matherly says:

    OMG!  I have never laughed so hard at a review in my life.  This review could be for almost any of the more ridiculous HP’s I’ve read in the past. 

    There are times when I just wanted slap the heroine silly and then slap the hero for being such an arrogant jackass.  However, SB Sara said it much more eloquently and with a razor edge sense of humor.  PRICELESS!

  38. 38
    Lynn Matherly says:

    I forgot to add, I feel an uncontrollable urge to head to the 24 hr Wal-Mart to purchase it just for the crack-like quality of the reading fix!

  39. 39
    kittenfemme says:

    Oh ow…I think I actually ruptured something laughing that hard. I may have to find that one!

  40. 40
    oakling says:

    I love books that are so horrible and yet so insane that you just can’t stop reading them. And I love this review! Funny stuff. To be not so funny for a moment: wow, did I identify with what was going on in this book. Sounds like it was written by someone who was sexually abused a lot, dissociated from it a lot, and grew up to think that totally checking out and going around in a fog especially around sex was… you know… HOTT. To seal that deal, the guy who totally insists that she does like it and if she says she doesn’t she is lying/wrong is a spot-on portrayal of my dad!

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