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.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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Second Chances: Beautiful Mistakes – Felice Stevens
The other side of loathing might be lust …
Or love …
Desire: What Wolf struggles with from the moment he sees Spencer Hawkins the first day of college.
Fear: Not a word in Wolf’s vocabulary except when it comes to facing his feelings for Spencer.
Lust: What he gives in to that changes everything between them. And his life forever.
Denial: Something Wolf is all too familiar with—denying who he is and who he wants. It’s better this way, even if it’s tearing him and his friendship with Spencer apart.
Hide: What Spencer does best. He hides from everyone, especially himself and the crazy attraction to Wolf he can’t shake.
Walls: Spencer throws them up to protect himself from all the hurts life heaps on him—his mother’s death, his father’s indifference, and the men who share his bed and walk away.
Betrayal: Not by just anyone. By Wolf. The one man he can’t forget. Or forgive.
Want: Spencer wants to live in the moment, but he can’t stop thinking about that night. And it doesn’t help that he and Wolf keep knocking heads…and locking lips.
Love: What these two idiots need to realize is happening between them. What started out as their ugliest regret could end up being the most beautiful mistake they ever made.
Sometimes, you meet one character in a story and you just know right off the bat, their own book is going to blow you away.
This is what happened with Wolf. I met him in Second Chances, Book 1. He barely said two sentences when I immediately latched on to him. Then seeing his antagonistic interactions with Spencer, I was super eager to find out what was going on between them. So much so that I didn’t wait to finish the first book and completely skipped the second. I jumped right to their story.
Beautiful Mistakes is an angsty, slow-burn, frenemies to lovers romance of mega-lawyer Garrett Wolf and fashion stylist Spencer Hawkins. The tumultuous history of the two started way back in college. They were rooming with two other students, Elliot and Chess.
For some reason, Wolf found himself attracted to Spencer. He couldn’t understand why because he has never been attracted to anyone. He never acted on it, not wanting to be just another one-night stand to the very active Spencer.
Fifteen years later, the four are still friends. Elliot is now a freelance journalist and Chess, a college professor. Wolf still wants Spencer.
Second Chances is a character-driven series. One of the things that makes Beautiful Mistakes the best installment is that both Wolf and Spencer are very compelling characters. They stood out individually and as a couple. The biggest hurdle of the first book was I didn’t care much about Elliot’s and Win’s issues. Here, I was heavily invested in Wolf’s welfare. I really, really wanted him to be happy because our boy is too hard on himself.
Wolfie is the workaholic of the group. An enigmatic, dominating presence, he tends to be serious, scowly, blunt, and aloof. He has a deep, dark secret he spent his entire life running away from. And trying to make up for. He also thinks there’s something wrong with him because no one seems to interest him at all. Excerpt for one very infuriating man.
He kept his desires strictly under lock and key for years, thinking he’s not good enough for Spence. Until one moment of weakness in Milan. Then, he ghosted the next morning. They kept that magical night a secret from their friends. Spencer was hurt by Wolf calling it a mistake. Things were progressively going downhill for them. It got so bad that Chess and Elliot had to stage an intervention.
Gad! Spencer is annoying! The two tried, boy, they really tried, to talk things out. Several times too. My heart went out to Wolfie. It’s already difficult enough to explain his painful family history, much more about his complicated feelings for a friend. The idiot Spencer would interrupt with a ridiculous comment that would totally derail the conversation. It’s frustrating as hell!
Spencer also has some family drama he prefers to leave in the past. He might be silly and outrageous, but he’s talented, ambitious, and driven. I loved the way his personality jives with Wolf’s sardonic humor.
They clash because Spencer is a flamboyant, life of the party. His motto is the more, the merrier. Meanwhile, the demisexual Wolf doesn’t approve of Spencer’s cavalier way with sex. He insists his friend deserves so much more than randos. Me! Me! Poor Wolfie cries silently. Unknown to him, Spencer was also attracted to him since way back when. I wanted to crack their heads together.
The push and pull between the two men was intense! They had that crazy good annoy-you-because-I-want-you-so-bad chemistry that makes the enemies or in this case, frenemies to lovers trope a joy to read. When they finally realized why they liked pushing each other’s buttons so much, BAM! Fireworks!
I struggled with Elliot and Win’s story, The List. It didn’t have enough hook to keep me engaged. I also wasn’t so keen on Chess and Andre’s book, Footsteps of the Past. I would have loved to read about an established couple but Chess is kind of meh. However, these two couples make great supporting characters in the third book. I love how the four college friends plus the men in their lives built this lifelong bond with each other.
If there’s one book that badly needs an epilogue, this is it. I can’t believe it left Wolfie and Spence standing in front of a window. I need more!
Still, Beautiful Mistakes is a well-written finale. It flowed just right and hit a perfect balance of emotional notes. The book is deep and moving. Many times, heartbreaking. But it’s also funny, snarky, sweet, and heartwarming.
The way Wolf and Spencer zing throughout the book! The way they became each other’s rock when the past caught up to them. How right it felt when they finally came to terms with their feelings and let each other in. It’s beautiful and damn near perfect!
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
I might have jumped the line but Second Chances is best read in order. Witness hopeless romantic Elliot find his ideal match in hotshot detective Win in The List. Watch long-time boyfriends Chess and Andre rediscover why they’re stronger together in Footsteps Of The Past. All the while, you can enjoy the delicious USTs building up between the bickering dorks. The first two books have rave reviews so I think you can’t go wrong with this series.
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