Narrator: Joe Arden, Maxine Mitchell
Published by Everafter Romance on April 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
From the New York Times Bestselling authors of Cocky Bastard, comes a sexy new standalone novel.
It started out like any other morning on the train.Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.Who did the stuck-up suit think he was...God?Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.I might have picked it up.I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.I might have held onto the mystery man's phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk's office.I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.I didn't expect him to text back.I didn't expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.I didn't expect to fall for him―all before we even met.The two of us couldn't have been any more different.Yet, you know what they say about opposites.When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn't prepared for where I'd wind up when the ride was over.All good things must come to an end, right?Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.
I do not like the phrase “all the feels”. At all. That said, there’s a good chance that phrase was invented for this book. I can’t remember the last time I genuinely couldn’t wait to get back to a story. I was listening to the audio while I was at work, and every time someone called me or came into my office, they were taking their lives into their hands.
The meet-cute between Soraya (I looked it up to make sure I spelled it correctly since it’s not in the blurb and audio was no help) Venedetta and Graham Morgan was a little contrived, and it was a little more insta-lovey than I usually like, but none of that seemed to matter to me once we got into this book. Graham drops his phone on the train, and Soraya finds it and returns it to him. Eventually. First she spends a few days with it, going through the texts and pictures, and becoming more than a little intrigued by the man she sees there. Once she eventually tries to return it to him at his office (which she found by figuring out his name and Googling him) he refuses to come out, so in retaliation, she uses his phone to take a few pictures of her cleavage and her legs, and sends him a text from her own phone berating him for being an asshole.
That’s the part I thought was a little contrived. Graham rules his office with an iron fist. Everyone who works there is afraid of him, and his personal secretaries don’t last more than a day or two, so he doesn’t even bother to learn their names or treat them like human beings. No one is allowed to interrupt him before 10:00 because once he’s in the office he needs to decompress or something, so when Soraya shows up, marching past the receptionist who refuses to announce her and calling him from an office phone he’s his usual dick self to her. She tells him she has something she thinks he’s looking for, he asks her if it’s the cure for cancer, and when she says no, tells him to leave his office. But the whole thing with the phone bugged me. First of all, I suppose it’s possible that in 2016, someone doesn’t have some sort of password or fingerprint on their phone, so even though that seemed a little far-fetched, I let it go that Soraya was able to so easily open his phone and go through it. But when she calls him and says she’s standing outside his office with “something he’s probably looking for”, his phone doesn’t even register with him as a possibility. This is a man who lives on his cell phone. He doesn’t have a landline, he calls a driver every time he wants to go somewhere, he lives on takeout and coffee, but he didn’t notice his phone was missing, or if he did notice, it didn’t cross his mind that that could be what she had for him? Instead he just said “I need nothing!” and sent her on her way?
That was really the only part of this story that bugged me, though. Soraya was fun. She worked for a Dear Abby-like column called Dear Ida, as the assistant to Ida, who was by all accounts a horrible human being. Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward used her job there as a way to further the relationship between Soraya and Graham, which was really cute. She had an attitude and she wasn’t immediately impressed with Graham when he started texting her. She made him work to get her attention or even a date with her, and never let him treat her like he treated so many others in his life. She had some pretty deep-seated trust issues, but she knew it and tried to give Graham the benefit of the doubt most of the time.
For his part, Graham had some trust issues as well. He’d been with a woman, Genevieve, engaged to her in fact, when he discovered she’d been cheating on him with his best friend, Liam. Graham and Liam weren’t just best friends, they were also business partners, so Genevieve’s betrayal caused him to not only lose his best friend and his fiancee in one fell swoop, but also caused complete upheaval in his business as he bought out Liam and gained fierce competition from Liam’s own firm. (I have no idea what business Graham and Liam were in. It’s not really discussed beyond “the company” and “my company”, and “his company”. Graham discovered their betrayal by walking in on the two of them together, so he’s understandably gun-shy about getting involved with anyone again.
Those trust issues came into play later, but not in a way that I expected. Keeland and Ward took a few well-used tropes and flipped them around so I didn’t know what to expect. There was a situation I never saw coming until about 5 minutes before it happened, and it threw a wrench into everything. All of the issues Soraya dealt with growing up were involved, and all of them came roaring to the surface. I could see the decision she was making, and I knew how it was going to affect her and Graham both, and I just wanted her to stop. It was breaking my heart. I knew she thought she was doing the right thing, but she needed to try and see things from a different side, and doesn’t do until it’s way too late. Just talk to someone about it. It should be Graham, but if it’s not, then talk to a friend or his grandmother or anyone other than Ida, a woman Soraya says multiple times gives terrible advice, but for some reason is the only one Soraya will listen to. Anyone else could have given her a different perspective on things.
Overall, I loved this book. I haven’t read anything by Vi Keeland or Penelope Ward before, and I haven’t read Cocky Bastard, either, so I didn’t really know what to expect. As for the sex, there are a few pretty hot scenes, but there are more closed doors than I was expecting, too, which I think saved more room for these two characters to develop. My usual theory for on-page sex is the more and the hotter, the better, but I think having a little less here really worked. (And I just read the blurb for Cocky Bastard, and I’m pretty sure one of those characters makes a brief appearance here).
TL;DR – go get this book. Immediately.