Justin is almost finished with his MBA. He might not look the part working in a coffee shop and wearing eyeliner and black nail polish, but he is smarter than most people give him credit for. When Justin is hired to be an assistant to Michael, a CEO of a well respected company, it also means interacting with Eli, the company’s CFO. Justin has a hard time keeping himself together around the dominant Eli and all of their interactions are erotically charged. Justin is hesitant though to get involved with Eli since they work together and Justin still bears scars from another dominant and wealthy man.
Eli lives each day with the constant reminder of a tragic accident that left his leg permanently injured and his heart broken. Having no contact with his family, Eli needs to be in control at all times. His desire for Justin has his control slipping and his heart opening. Although they both enjoy the dominance that Eli brings, it may also be what drives Justin away and his past may not allow him to move on.
Just Business is marked as the follow-up to the author’s previous book, Takeover. While Sam and Michael, the MCs from that book, do appear here, this book can be read as a stand alone as it is primarily Justin and Eli’s story. If you do want to know each and every connection in the book, then it would be advised to read Takeover first.
If you are looking for a book that has heated D/s scenes, then this book would be an excellent choice. The first time the men are together is during a public scene at a party. The scenes are rough and raw while still being sensual and tender. The author also does an excellent job of getting into Justin’s head during these scenes to expose what he needs and what he feels while in the moment.
The interactions between Eli and Justin ooze with sexual tension and their attraction is palpable and intense. Every moment, every look, every gesture, offers another opportunity to increase their desire for each other. While I get that this is fiction, some of their banter in the office did reek of inappropriateness. But, the intensity of their attraction was almost visual and worked really well as a whole.
On the outside, the men are opposites. Where Justin has a goth look and is outspoken, Eli is carefully ordered and closed off. However, appearances are most often deceiving as the men both share their own brand of pain. Eli carries physical scars as well as a tremendous amount of survivor’s guilt that has consumed him for years. Justin has a past lover that inflicted damage on him that he can’t move past. It’s these scars and needs that bring them together as well as push them apart.
There was a lot I enjoyed about their interactions, yet there were some areas that I struggled with. Justin’s story is teased out almost one line at a time throughout the entire book. While it does help the impact of the full reveal at the end, it did slow down the progression of his character in the story. Also, parts of his story weren’t fully concluded. We are told that Justin owes his parents a considerable amount of money, and that he carries a huge burden of guilt, yet, except for one plane ticket, we are not told where the rest of this debt is from. Eli’s story, with regards to his family, also left some unfinished gaps for me. The men move onto a physical relationship that involves bondage without talking about their needs much. The only thing they discuss is hard limits and that comes after their first scene together. When everything does blow up, the conversation is a long time coming as both men are so wrapped up in their own pain. Their struggle is real and finding their back to each other is then well done.
Just Business is a good choice for a story of two damaged characters willing to succeed on their own terms, with some intense and heated play scenes, and a hard earned happy ending.