Working Arrangements

Working Arrangements - Ellen Wolf Jane from Dear Author sent me this book to read to see if I also found it strikingly similar to Susan Napier's excellent In Bed With the Boss, released in 1999. I'm surprised she needed validation, as the similarities go beyond striking and into egregious.In both stories the heroine is widowed young. Laura, in this book, has her fiance die in a car accident three years prior. Kalera, in Napier's book, has her husband die in a freak act of violence. Both books open with the heroine telling the hero, for whom the both work as personal assistants, that they have gotten engaged. Both heroes react angrily and both ask if she's pregnant. In both books, the heroine has gotten engaged to the hero's enemy, and that fiance is a jealous, controlling man in each book.From here the sequence of events deviate from the Napier book, but they are still all but identical, Wolf just shuffled the timeline. There's a scene in both books where the hero drives the heroine home when her car breaks down at work then comes inside and makes her dinner. He kisses her, they get hot and heavy, and then the phone rings and interrupts them, with the fiance on the other line. Both books have a co-worker pointing out how the hero acts differently around the heroine and is widely assumed to have the hots for her. Both books have the fiance sending out fancy invites for the engagement party, have the hero show up with the fiance's ex, have the fiance try to prevent them from entering and have the fiance and ex have an argument at the party. In both books, the hero and heroine shared a sexual encounter not long after the tragedy in which she was the initiator and which she wanted to forget, out of guilt. Both books even have a scene where the heroine is prompted to reminisce after smelling the hero's cologne, which the heroine gave him as a Christmas gift.I could go on. It would actually be shorter to point out what's different. Now, lots of stories have similar plots, but they tell different stories with them. This story took In Bed With the Boss and retold it, only shuffling scenes around and changing the names. The characters were the same people, doing the same things and reacting the same way. And the retelling is not an improvement on the original. Poor word choice, comma abuse and too much internal dialog renders this a drag to read. If the author used "palpable" any more than she had, I was going to start a drinking game. It was far from the worst prose I've ever read, but it needed an editor, and badly.If this had been an original work of fiction, I'd have given it a 2 or 3. Since it has copied an earlier work to a degree that constitutes derivation or plagiarism, I give it a single star. Fan fiction is only legal when it's free.