Michael Sebastian is in Curacao on his first real vacation since being demoted and screwed over by his partners. After five days on a tropical island, he still has not found someone that meets his standards for a one-nighter. Sure he has options to choose from, but he’s a bit particular. He’s not looking for the obvious submissive partner, nope, he’s looking for a man of power, a decision maker, the man no one would expect would bend over. As Sam Anderson walks into the bar, one look at his expensive suit and tense body and Michael knows that is the look of a man in need of serious release.
After a night of the best and most intense sex of his life with a gorgeous, dominant stranger, Sam has to pull himself together and return to the closet he has lived in for many years. Back to the corporate life and his new job as CEO of a failing technology company, only to discover that Michael is one of his employees.
While both are desperate for another night together, they know it’s a huge conflict of interest. Michael knows better than to get involved with his boss as well as with yet another man who can’t come to terms with who he is. Working together to save the company, however, their desire may just be too much to ignore.
Imagine you are on an island vacation, have sex with a complete stranger, and it’s just so right on so many levels. Then you return to work and that man is your new boss. Well, that’s what happens to Michael. And as he realizes this and his head is about to explode he thinks: Sam could not be his boss, not after Michael spent a night fucking and spanking the man. No way in hell.
And that’s only the middle of the second chapter.
I like Michael. He’s a good guy. Although he was a bit naive, he got a raw deal when his closeted lover and best friend screwed him over. He stayed on in a lower position because the company he helped found was everything to him. He’s good at his job and well respected by his peers, but avoids the suits that now run the business as much as he can. Sam is an interim CEO, his specialty is companies in trouble, and his frequent travel allows him to avoid relationships. Back in his college days he was out, but now he plays by the corporate rules and stays deep within the closet. Anyway, it’s safer in the closet, and he knows that all too well.
While reading this book I kept feeling like I was standing on the edge of what could have been a great book, but turned out to be just a good book. Takeover tries to be both a character driven story as well as a plot driven story, leaving neither side fully evolved.
The characters are only somewhat developed. We learn the story of Michael and his former business partners, but new information is offered at the end of the book that is not tied up or explained well. We know that Michael likes to dominate in the bedroom, has a bag of toys, and used to be part of the “scene.” We never get to learn or see any more of his experiences.
With Sam, we see hints of violence in his past and when his story all comes out, it lacked the impact it should have. And after many years of denying who he is, he decides Michael is the one that can change things for him. A good portion of the book Sam and Michael are not together and try to maintain emotional distance and a proper working relationship only to lose that fight in the company locker room. I was missing some more on page intimate time from them as they had great chemistry when they were together and would have had interesting stories to tell about their needs for dominance and submission. I liked both men and the few scenes we had with them exploring submissive play worked well, it just was not fully developed and was missing that little extra to pull it all together.
The takeover in the office plays into a large portion of the story as well. There is a shifty board of directors and a Ponzi scheme that Sam spends time researching, but it never fully plays out in the end. The writing itself was good, the shifting POV was well done, and the characters had so much potential. When the story was over, I was still just looking for more depth from both the characters as well as the plot.
I did like the style of Zabo’s writing overall. She has another book in the works, which she states is somewhat of a sequel to Takeover as both Sam and Michael appear in it, but the main focus is on another couple. It does have the sense of being more character focused and the excerpt offered has me looking forward to it. Takeover would be a good choice for likable characters mixed with the corporate world and a touch of submissive play.