Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Avery Hextall, a junior architect at a prestigious firm, is thrilled when his design is chosen for a new performing-arts center—even if it means working closely with his insufferably uptight project manager, Malin Lacroix. When a chance encounter in the boss’s office proves that Lacroix is anything but cold, Avery is determined to learn more about the real man beneath the aloof veneer.
Despite their growing attraction and their increasingly kinky encounters, the enigmatic Malin remains as emotionally distant as ever. Worse, Avery’s friends are convinced Malin thinks of Avery as a dirty secret and nothing more—a secret that might destroy both of their careers.
But the real secret is a single moment in time that haunts Malin and keeps him from committing to the life he wants with Avery. In order to move on, Avery must help Malin come to terms with the tragedy in his past before they can work on building a future together.
Review: When I started this book I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. Initially Avery’s POV and voice for this story seemed a little much. Very in your face from the first page. Then tension and anger at Malin were amped up. But as you get to know him and settle into the story he’s actually very witty and entertaining. He’s kind of manic and says whatever comes in is head. No filter. Which I found endearing and funny. Definitely an intriguing character whose antics kept me turning pages.
Avery is starting out his career. His newest proposal for a project is the one he’s put his everything into. When it’s rejected he goes off on his boss Malin in an majorly embarrassing way. Malin puts him in his place which only makes Avery hate Malin more but weirdly enough, it also gets him hot. From here Avery battles his hate horny thing he has for his boss. Who he doesn’t even know if he likes guys. Avery is bisexual and open to sex. The desire to punished by his boss morphs into something kind of desperate and dark. I also thought at first these two went too far for my liking but again the author brought it all around smoothly. The first couple of sex scenes are fairly rough and violent but Avery loves it. Malin too. It’s a sort of a messed up sexual awakening for them both. Avery has always liked sex. Sometimes he’s liked it rough. But he’s finally found a partner who likes giving it to him and one that holds his interest. It’s scary but so good for Avery initially. Malin hasn’t been interested in anyone sexually for a long time. So Avery coming onto him really jolts his world and I don’t think he necessarily likes it.
So the sex and Malin and Avery’s relationship starts off kind of iffy in the seemingly cruel way Malin treats Avery and Avery allows himself to be treated. Even if he likes it he realizes there’s feelings involved and Malin doesn’t do feelings. He barely lets Avery know him. I can say there was a point in the beginning I wondered if I’d ever warm to them but by the end I did. I totally understood Avery’s friend’s perspective on how Malin was treating Avery as a sex toy. I liked that Avery checked himself because of their help but ultimately did want he wanted. He made it work for him. Their ways aren’t for everyone but they worked it out and are happier for it. By the end I was all in for them. I love their banter and how Avery brings out a playful side of Malin. A sweeter side Malin had resolved to never show another again.
I thought how the author brought all the around was pretty brilliant. It was almost a hard right turn that could feel jolting but didn’t. Malin is always going to be Malin but with Avery he’s a little softer. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up liking this book. Avery is always entertaining and his thought process is lively and quick. He seems so obvious and easy going but he’s really quite complex. Malin kept me wondering about him the entire book. He may not be for everyone but he’s what Avery wants. I really enjoyed their maybe not so traditional love story. I think together they were just so good once they really let it be known what they wanted and who they were. I definitely recommend this one. Don’t let the BDSM scare you off. It’s not really my thing but this is so much more than that. It’s two men who thought they didn’t even like each other finding their HEA together.