Saving Sweets for After-Hours Volume 1

Saving Sweets for After-Hours

Saving Sweets for After-Hours has an intriguing premise that tries to pack in too much and retreats to the conventional. It’s by Kanae Sato and released digital-only by Kodansha.

Reika looks like a model and runs a department at a company that makes desserts. She is feared by her staff because of her bossy personality and gossip that she’s into S&M… but secretly, she’s a 32-year-old virgin. Who also writes a popular blog featuring sex stories.

One of her subordinates is intrigued by her, and when they discover they’re strongly attracted to each other’s pheromones, they start a secret relationship, because he’s younger and she’s his boss. He’s handsome and well-liked, but he has his own secrets. He also discovered her blog, although that seems to be quickly forgotten in the plotting.

Saving Sweets for After-Hours

There’s a lot that could happen here, and a lot that could go wrong. This first volume is mostly setup, with all this happening, plus she gets drunk one night with him. I wanted to see more about the smut blog and the contrast between what her readers think and who she really is, but the story seems to be moving more towards an office affair.

Reika starts out competent, at least at work, but that’s also forgotten as she gets embarrassed and ditsy and runs away. I missed that early version of the character. I don’t think she should have to be just one or the other; the contrast was intriguing, when she was more of both.

I fear that what was interesting about the first chapter may disappear as the series moves on in a more standard, traditional fashion. I think there are enough “working woman secretly wants a man to sweep her off her feet and take control” stories out there already. And the drunk evening as an excuse for some physical contact is too old-fashioned and stereotypical.

The author’s afterword mentioned how “everything I write turns into some junior high romance… I wanna write about adult negotiations.” Good luck with that. At least she’s aware?

There’s a preview at the publisher’s website. Volume 2 is out later this month. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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