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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I chose Malinda’s How Dare You for the book because it all started with a drunken dare. The song talks about being drawn to the other person despite one’s attempt to keep at arms length. This reminds me of the enemies to lovers situation between Grey and Ellison.
Okay, twist my arm
There’s no harm
In admiring your charm
Okay, today is not the day for emotion and foreplay
You’re safer in my imagination
But don’t you worry
I’ll lock you in a world of my creation
And bury the key
How dare you
How dare you make me question if I had it all
I thought I had it made but that ain’t true
If I don’t have you
This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.