Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just Business by Anna Zabo

Title: Just Business
Author: Anna Zabo
My Rating: A 

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Takeover #2
Main Characters: Justin and Eli
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: InterMix
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:

From the thrilling new author of Takeover, a steamy new novel about having all the control—and losing it…

Note from the author: This is the followup to Takeover and features Justin and Eli. Sam and Michael are fairly important characters in this book as well.

Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….

Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?
My Review:
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Takeover, and was worried that this second book wouldn't live up to that one. Good news...it did...completely. In fact, this one may be even a tiny bit better. I really enjoyed this book. 

This book features Eli. He's the CFO for Sam's company...the same Sam who was one of the main characters in Takeover. Eli is gay and when he was 15, he was in a car wreck which killed three of his friends, including his boyfriend, and left him crippled. In the aftermath, he confessed to being gay in his grief to his parents and they basically turned against him. Eli is a Dom who is big on control...obviously, but he doesn't like messy of any sort. 

Justin is all kinds of messy, but a lot of it is a ruse. He's a goth with guy liner, black hair, and black chipping nail polish. But what's that all hiding is a guy with a brilliant brain for business. He's on the cusp of earning his MBA and wants to work for Sam, but that puts him in the same sphere as Eli, a guy he can't help but be drawn to. Oh, and Justin just happens to be a sub, too. A match made in heaven, right? Not so much...Justin's last Dom abused him and Justin has some big trust issues. 

Eli and Justin are so perfect together. I loved watching their relationship develop, even knowing that something would happen to disrupt that perfection. And when it happened, my heart broke for Eli. He's not a guy who connects easily and to watch him have his heart broken without understanding why is really painful. But I just really fell in love with both these characters. 

As a bonus, Michael and Sam (especially Sam) feature heavily in this story. I loved getting to see them again. Sam is friends with both these guys and he's just such a nice guy. I love how he worked as a sounding board for both of them while also keeping both their careers stable...he's their boss, so he has some power. In fact, I loved the whole office dynamic and the coffee shop on the ground floor where Justin started out. There wasn't a single thing that I didn't enjoy about this book. I started reading it and honestly did not want to put it down again until it was done...and then I wanted to start re-reading it immediately. It was just an excellent m/m romance. I highly recommend it.

Like the first book, be warned...this book features pretty heavy BDSM scenes. Eli is a sadist, Justin a masochist. While that doesn't bother me (in fact, I found the scenes to be extremely sexy) I know that can be a hot button for some. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The bell on the shop door rang—and speak of the devil. Cane, gloves, but no jacket. Just his shirt and vest, which did nothing to hide the long lines of Eli’s body and everything to stir up Justin’s blood again. He held a large envelope. Probably outgoing mail.
“Shit,” Justin muttered. He set about frothing his milk. Really needed to find a fuckbuddy. By the time Justin finished making his drink, Eli was at the counter.
“I thought you had the day off.”
“I do.” Justin picked up his drink. “I’m kind enough not to make my boss work for me.” He nodded at Brian. “But he’ll happily take your order.” Looking away was hard, but if he stared at Eli’s canted lips, he’d need another trip to the men’s room. He slid into his chair.
Eli remained at the counter and ordered, but when he got his drink he tucked his mail under his arm and headed straight to Justin’s table. Despite not wanting Eli to sit, Justin moved his backpack. Eli placed his cup down—a latte?
Jesus. Eli never ordered one of those. “Isn’t that a little risqué for you?” The quip slipped out before he could shut his brain off.
Eli’s chuckle took Justin’s breath from his lungs. “I like to live life on the edge.”
“If that’s your edge . . .” This time, Justin clamped down on the rest of his words.
Eli merely smiled and handed him the large white envelope he’d been carrying.
What the fuck? Justin took it. Opened it. Slid out the papers— Holy shit.
It was an offer letter. Thirty minutes hadn’t even passed.
A quiet laugh from across the table made Justin look up. Eli’s smile lit up his whole face. “Well, that certainly was worth the hand delivery.” He sipped his latte.
Justin’s hands shook. Hell, his whole body vibrated. “How—I mean—”
“There are only six of us, Justin. Doesn’t take that long to make a decision.”
Justin pulled the letter out, got to the salary, and his mouth dried up. The offer was for far more than an assistant should receive. By several tens of thousands. That would solve—a whole host of problems. Bills. Debt. Mercy’s needs. Maybe allow him some cash to send to his folks.
“I do hope you’re worth every penny.”
His own words, thrown back. “Don’t you worry about that.” Justin shoved the letter into the envelope. “When are you expecting an answer?”
“I know your answer.” Eli leaned back and crossed one leg over the other. “We’d like the signed paperwork within a week.”
“That’s presumptuous.”
“Is it?” Eli stripped off his gloves, the leather stretching to reveal the flesh beneath.
Justin didn’t answer Eli. He wanted the job. They were handing him more money than such a position should pay. He placed the envelope on the table, wrapped both hands around his cup, and sipped, the sharp taste of the coffee clearing his mind and wetting his mouth. “Why me?”
The gloves hit the table. “Sam likes you. Engineering likes you.”
“But you don’t.”
Eli ran a finger around the rim of his mug. “Assumptions, Mr. White.”
Those words sank straight into his bones and tightened his balls. What would those fingers feel like on his lips, in his mouth? Stop it. “You didn’t seem impressed.”
“You have potential. Untamed talent.” Eli picked up his cup. “I’m interested in seeing that harnessed.” There might have been a grin around that last word, but any expression vanished when Eli’s lips met the rim of his cup.
Harnessed. Justin stared at Eli’s gloves. He didn’t know whether to despise Eli or flirt with him. “Is there a dress code?”
“Other than requiring clothes? No.” Eli put his cup down. “Engineering tends to dress casual. You’ve seen how Sam and I dress.” He gave a light shrug. “You’ll be interacting with customers on occasion, but you’ll have warning.”
“So if I came to work dressed like this”—Justin gestured at himself—“you wouldn’t throw me out?”
Eli smiled and there was warmth to it, enough that Justin’s own cheeks heated in response. “I prefer the suit on you, but no, I wouldn’t throw you out. Sam wouldn’t blink, either.”
He preferred . . . Shit. Not what Justin wanted to hear. I am so not having fantasies about this man. He took a breath. “Thank you. I need to read this fully. I’ll let you know in a day or two.”
“Of course.” He glanced over at Brian. “I’m guessing your current employer knows you’ve been interviewing?”
Behind the counter, Brian was trying very hard to look like he wasn’t listening to every word. “Yeah. He knows.”
Eli finished his coffee and stood. “Let us know when you can start.” He picked up his gloves and grabbed his cane. “I look forward to working with you, Justin.”
Hearing his name from Eli again drove the air from his lungs. The memory of his orgasm and why he’d come so fast sent a tremor through him. “Can’t wait.”
“Neither can I.” Eli’s grin was sharp. Wicked. Sexy. He turned and headed toward the door.
Well, shit. He had a job. And another raging boner for Eli. Justin drank his coffee. Turned on by a control freak. Not good, if his past was anything to go by.
Working for Sam Anderson might be more difficult than he thought. He touched the white envelope. For what they were offering, he damn well would excel at this job, Eli or no Eli.

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