Katy Regnery brings Cabribbean heat to the Story Sisters series in her Blueberry Lane world. “The Director and the Don Juan” brings us an older (early thirties) heroine and a younger (late twenties) Latino hero. Alice Story’s the sister who left her father’s import/export business in order to start her own company. She makes this decision when it becomes clear he never allowing any of his daughters to takeover the company. Atop her desk she announces she’s opening her own business and invites anyone interested to join her. Only one brave person does; Carlos from the mailroom. With Alice’s sisters’ investment and partnership, Story Sisters Trading’s successful and growing larger. Carlos’s Alice’s dedicated administrative assistant, right-hand man, and Office Manager with aspirations for his MBA. Both feel a connection and a pull but resist for different reasons. Finally a business opportunity spurs these latent feelings into a full-blown passionate possibility.
Alice Story finally has it after her annual employee evaluation with her father. At the five year point she believes her father will be promote her to a senior level position. He doesn’t. She’s watched as man after man get promotions she’s worked just as hard for. Alice’s finally had it. She emerges from the meeting climbs on top of her work desk and declares she’s opening her own company. Alice invites her fellow employees to join. Unfortunately there’s only one co-worker brave enough to blaze a trail with her and it’s Carlos from the Mail Room. Fortunately he believes in her and that’s priceless. Three years later and Alice and Carlos are a solid team and closer than others realize. Only not romantically. It’s while they’re on a South American/Caribbean business trip that their strong buried feelings emerge from deep under their surfaces.
Carlos’s a player that’s tired of the game, unfortunately the woman he truly wants is unavailable in a complicated way. He respects and is attracted to Alice, she gave him a business opportunity. Regardless of what college degree he had, as a Puerto Rican man, he wasn’t getting promoted by that WASPy man. They’ve been through the lowest lows in business and are now riding the success of their efforts. Carlos’ role as an Office Manager and Administrative Assistant might not be much be he’s honored to be in charge. He’s proud and honored to take care of Alice and ensure her business runs smoothly. Carlos doesn’t want anyone else taking care of her because he knows no one else will care like he does. However Carlos does have more ambition and has his application for the Wharton School of Business for his MBA.
As a Latino man he does look forward to having children, even at twenty-six years old, the sooner the better. Carlos wants to get his MBA but he’d also rather remain in his position than move up into Sales. He’s ambitious in his own way; he doesn’t need to move up and out to feel successful. Carlos’s secure in his role as Alice’s administrative assistant. He doesn’t feel less than a man because he brings her coffee and takes notes for her in meetings. He’s definitely secure in his masculinity and abilities.`
For Alice her upbringing has her thinking about potential mates in an ultra old school train of thought. She feels that by she getting a relationship with Carlos she’ll be a target for the Philadelphia Country Club rumor mill. Alice believes any romantic relationship is impossible. For on thing, she’s a heiress from an on WASPy Main Line family tree and Carlos’ a lower-middle-class Puerto Rican. Secondly, she’ll be a laughingstock as a older woman falling for a younger man who happens to be her assistant. It’s cliché. Finally after working at her father’s company where he played fast and loose with business ethics she stuck. In her mind if she allows office romance between her and Carlos to grow she’d ruin her business reputation. It would be disruptive and open her up to accusations of favoritism, accountability and credibility. Too dangerous.
Alice wants a true partner and equal. She wants to find someone and get to work on having children right away. Alice’s dedicated her life to her business and now she wants to jump into Love and Family. Her fear is that whatever man she finds either will not want that right away. Or he’ll want her to play the “little wife and mother” role. In regard to Carlos her concerns are that he’s too young to want to start having children at his age. Alice knows he dates many women. However her concern for his attraction is that his role as her employee makes him off-limits from a Business Ethics standpoint. Alice doesn’t want to lose him as an employee. So she’s willing to sacrifice her romantic and familial happiness to keep him in her life. She can’t figure out a way to resolve this puzzle.
“The Director and the Don Juan” feature a strong-willed, independent heroine. Her only insecurities lie in her age and finding a man who doesn’t want to use her or overpower her. Despite Alice’s strength she’s easily swayed by the opinion of her sisters and her father. But when it comes down to it Alice is her own woman. She makes her own decisions about her business and her personal life. Carlos is a strong and Alpha hero for what he lacks in age he makes up for in wisdom and self-confidence. He’s able to sway Alice’s interest back to him and secure her feelings for him. Carlos not only takes care of Alice’s business and personal needs he protects her from unscrupulous potential business partners. Not to mention he’s sexier than her panties can bear.
I’m giving “The Director and the Don Juan” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Gale warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.