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    REVIEW: Hostile Takeover by Lucy Lennox

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    Hostile Takeover – Lucy Lennox

    It was supposed to be a prank. A silly frat boy dare.

    One hot moment in a hidden storage closet. One kiss. No consequences.

    But if you get that close to a man with fire in his eyes, you’re gonna get burned, and I was no exception. One taste of Grey Blackwood ruined me for life.

    The way Grey sees it, I was the one who did the ruining. I humiliated him. Wrecked his life. Destroyed his future.

    Doesn’t matter that he’s clawed his way back and then some. Doesn’t matter that he’s already top of the Wall Street food chain. The man’s ruthless. Heartless. And he likes his revenge served cold.

    Now he’s taking down the companies owned by every frat boy who did him wrong. And when he comes for my family’s company, the quiet life I’ve built for myself far away from Manhattan comes crumbling down, too.

    But when Grey’s standing in our boardroom, threatening a hostile takeover and demanding I negotiate on behalf of my family, I don’t see an enemy. I see the chance I’ve been waiting for.

    The chance for another night in his arms, and hopefully a whole lot more.

    Let the negotiations begin.

    Hostile Takeover is a full-length, standalone novel.


    The blurb for this book grabbed me immediately. Hostile Takeover promised all sorts of vengeful enemies to lovers goodness. I am happy to report that it made good on its promise.

    It started with a drunken dare at the country club. Ellison York was egged on by fellow elite frat boys to do something naughty in the closet with the first person who entered the room. To the supposedly straight Ellison’s shock, in comes Grey Blackwood, the server, sometimes caddy, and scholarship student in their university. Also, his super-secret crush.

    To Ellison’s surprise, Grey was very willing to kiss him. He had no clue he was Grey’s super-secret crush too. They would have done more if not for Ellison’s dad and the rest of the frat boys walking in on them. Grey was promptly fired, lost his internships, lost most of his connections, and almost lost his standing as a student. Ellison stood silently by as it all happened.

    Fifteen years later, Grey, now a billionaire venture capitalist, takes over York Capital as revenge. He demanded Ellison work as his PA. He intends to make the most of this cold dish and this is where the real fun starts.

    Grey got more than he bargained for with Ellison. For one, he (and I) didn’t expect present-day Ellison to be such a cheeky bastard, Grey was so prepared to make the other man’s life miserable but it’s hard to hate on Ellison when he made things fun. He even managed to negotiate a deal to win some of the York properties back. He’s also very determined to launch his own takeover of Grey’s heart.

    Ellison’s very, very sorry for being too cowardly to speak up that he was the one who initiated the kiss with Grey all those years ago. Unknown to Grey, this had led Ellison to create his passion project, a boarding school for underprivileged students. This, in turn, led to my favorite part, the scene where Grey learned how much he meant to Ellison ever since the beginning, I was as blown away as Grey.

    This book is tight and intense, with the kind of electric chemistry that crackles through the pages. I loved the secret crush connection they had in the past, even if it was ruined by scandal. It’s a delight to see the sparks reigniting even as they antagonized each other. The fake boyfriend plus bisexual awakening made the USTs even more explosive.

    Grey realized Ellison wasn’t the spoiled rich boy he thought he was. Ellison slowly but surely earned Grey’s trust. I loved how the transition from enemies to lovers was executed, especially the way it was built up so effortlessly and flawlessly. It was very satisfying watching these two men go from dancing around each other to finally acknowledging that they fit perfectly.

    It’s not a Lucy Lennox book without some nasty bad guys and high drama. The bad guy comes in the form of Ellison’s evil dad, a manipulative, scheming man. He blackmailed Ellison into working as York Capital’s corporate lawyer, a job he knows his son hates. This man is also responsible for putting, yet again, a wedge between Grey and Ellison.

    I’m not a fan of the misunderstanding trope. I felt that the conflict in the third arc could have gone differently instead of the miscommunication and separation route. However, it paved the way for my favorite scene mentioned earlier and for some desperate, heartfelt groveling.

    Hostile Takeover is a fun page-turner that has you rooting for Grey and Ellison and occasionally wanting to smack their heads together. It’s a delicious combination of second chance romance, enemies-to-lovers, bisexual awakening, and fake boyfriends tropes. I dare say it’s one of Lucy Lennox‘s best books.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: How Dare You
    Artist: Malinda
    Album:


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    HOSTILE TAKEOVER

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    REVIEW: Sleight Of Hand by Charlie Cochet

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    The Kings: Wild Cards: Sleight Of Hand – Charlie Cochet

    Former Special Forces Green Beret, Sacha “Joker” Wilder, is well-versed on the subject of demolitions. As a silent partner of Four Kings Security, Joker spends his days working alongside his brothers-in-arms and his best boy, Chip—a bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois with sass. Years of military and private security experience have prepared Joker for almost anything, except the explosive attraction between him and Giovanni Galanos.

    When Gio returns from his travels abroad, everyone is charmed by the handsome billionaire philanthropist, but in Joker’s experience, anyone who’s too good to be true usually is. Gio is hiding something, but the more time Joker spends around Gio, the more his walls start crumbling, leaving him exposed and at risk of losing his heart, something he swore he would never do. Love is for suckers, and that’s not him.

    For years Gio has dedicated his life to his charity work, helping people around the globe, but when things go horribly wrong during one particular trip, Gio decides it’s time to come home for good. The desire for family, and a certain ex-Green Beret with a chip on his shoulder, has Gio eager to restart his life Stateside. For all of Sacha’s blustering and griping, no one makes Gio feel safer. If only Sacha could see how right they are for each other.

    Danger lurks in the shadows as someone sets their sights on Gio, and secrets are forced into the light. If Gio and Joker are to have any kind of future together, they’ll have to face difficult truths, because where love is concerned, it’ll take more than sleight of hand to make things work.

    The Kings: Wild Cards series is a spin-off of the Four Kings Security series.


    Among the ex-Special Forces Green Beret co-owners of the Four Kings Security, cybersecurity specialist Jack is my favorite. But my most anticipated story is his best friend, Joker’s.

    Our boy Joker is the group’s wild child. He grabbed my attention from the start. He hates being called by his real name, Sacha. He boldly declared he was never going to fall in love, EVER. He is short of stature, with an even shorter fuse, sloppily dressed, occasionally skips showers yet still managed to be very adorable. Jack might be his brother but his best friend is Chip, his black, bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois. This lovable duo charmed their way into everyone’s hearts.

    When Gio made his appearance and Joker expressed his dislike of the do-gooding billionaire, I knew right off the bat that what these two have was something special. The author teased us with glimpses of their USTs-filled, long-distanced interactions in previous installments. Gio has always been upfront about his interest in Joker who he calls Sacha. This, despite never having met him face to face yet.

    Now home after a long stint abroad, he was very determined to show his beloved Sacha how good they could be together. Meanwhile, Joker was very determined not to fall for Gio’s considerable charms. Still, the very enticing billionaire has a way of breaking through his walls.

    The magic of Sleight Of Hand was how it brought Gio and Joker together in the most delicious and satisfying way possible even if we already know what to expect. I loved how naturally Gio and Joker fell for each other and the way Joker came to terms with his feelings. This was one of the most enjoyable and well orchestrated relationship progressions I’ve ever encountered. The chemistry was off the charts!

    Joker’s antagonistic approach to Gio stemmed from preconceive notions fueled by trust issues. Despite his best efforts to disliked the billionaire, he was attracted to him. The more time he spent with Gio, the more he realized how truly kind-hearted and sincere about his intentions the other man was.

    Gio is awesome! He is sweet, generous and caring. He is a self-made billionaire who’s always smiling and genuinely enjoys helping people. He has so much love to give. Joker was surprised at how much the billionaire cared for him. Also, the man loved his dog Chip almost as much as he did. So really, our boy stood no chance of resisting.

    I lived for that moment when things fell into place for Joker and he realized, oh fuck, he was indeed in love! With last person he expected to fall for. It was so damn GOOD!

    My favorite part was how the two showed they care. These are men who take action. And their gestures, no matter how grand or small, really showcased the depths of their feelings. Joker, for all his griping about Gio, always made sure the busy man had eaten properly. What Gio did near the end made me a bit emotional. It was a touching tribute that meant the world to Joker.

    The book is mostly romance with bits of action/suspense and mystery to move things along. The bad guy’s identity was very obvious but even with the elements of predictability, the story never felt stale to me. The plot moved fast while still giving Gio and Joker enough time to slow-burn their way towards each other (and make us squee).

    The book is written in that inimitable Charlie Cochet style that’s always humorous, engaging and immersive. There were a lot of ridiculous dialogues and gags. Also, very thorough with details, especially the actions, yet never dragging.

    The best thing about her books are the people and their wonderful dynamics. Joker and Gio belonged to a big family of ex-Green Berets, their boyfriends and their friends. Since the first time I meet this group in Jack’s book, Stacking The Deck, they felt very real to me. The author created such a fabulous cast, every one of them is memorable. And watching them interact with each other is always a treat.

    However, the real star of the show is Chip. I loved all his cute doggy antics! New dog Cookie is also a sweetheart. You need to see how Cookie came into the picture. This part is pure heart-melter!

    Sleight of Hand gave us everything we hoped for for our boys, Joker and Gio. Theirs was a fun, emotional, fluffy, sweet, delicious and happy coming together, with furry friends to light their way and human friends to cheer them on. Well played, Charlie Cochet!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Wild Heart
    Artist: Bleachers
    Album: Strange Desire

    P.S.

    Sleight of Hand is best read after meeting all the Kings, Jack and their fabulous Boyfriend Collective in the sister series, Four Kings Security and The Kings: Wild Cards Book 1, Stacking The Deck.


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    SLEIGHT OF HAND

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    BLOG TOUR: Penalty Kill by Genevive Chamblee (Excerpt & Giveaway)