Fazil is off to Seattle for a business trip. Perhaps going to the other side of the country will help him forget his recent break-up with his girlfriend. Sure it was mutual, but seeing her with another guy so quickly still stings. Once on the job site of the company they are trying to save, Fazil encounters Todd, his high school boyfriend and first love. Todd was the boy that broke his heart and Fazil left town 15 years ago and never looked back.
Todd spent years trying to find Fazil, but all of his letters and messages remained unanswered. He went through a rough time after Fazil left, but never got over the love he always had for Fazil. When revelations, past transgressions, and the truth are finally revealed, the men have to choose to put the past behind them and navigate a long distance relationship where communication is still an issue.
Due Diligence picks up the Takeover series with a new storyline for two new MCs. The question will be can it be read as a stand alone? The relationship between Fazil and Todd certainly stands on its own in this book, but Eli, from book two, has a substantial role here and it would be helpful and offer the best flow to have at least read book two, but it’s not absolutely imperative.
I struggled with a good portion of this book and it never fully captured my attention. Todd and Fazil were best friends and boyfriends in high school, but let everything else around them take precedent. Their breakup was a full on misunderstanding due to no communication and I could go with it to a point as they were teenagers. But at one point Fazil muses that, “he’d never thought to ask Todd the truth,” and I had a harder time buying into Fazil completely and absolutely cutting off Todd. Todd had tried to find Fazil for years but Fazil deleted all of Todd’s messages and never opened his letters and it was extreme.
They meet again by chance and the sparks ignite immediately. There is a lot of hurt these guys have to get through, but they do talk and appear to move on from it fairly quickly. Although Fazil is so down on himself and never understood why Todd ever wanted to be with him at all. They spend time sightseeing in Seattle (which was not all that interesting) and then spend some alone time together with dirty talking and kinky play (which was a bonus).
All of this is going on within a few days while they are working together in a hostile work environment as Fazil and Eli are auditing the company that Todd works for. I couldn’t reconcile why Eli, a C-level executive, was sharing a hotel room with Fazil. A lot of time is spent revolving around the project at hand and I felt like I had been dropped into a deal already in progress as there were some key components missing for me with the business transaction. The office is rampant with racism, as Fazil is Turkish, and anti-Semitic comments, as Ei is Jewish, and the issues continue to escalate, but without any true backstory on the perpetrators. When these issues escalate out of control, Fazil returns home and many promises are made between him and Todd, but old patterns resurface. The issues going on with Todd’s job were extreme, yet he never thought about leaving. He was trying to convince Fazil to leave his dream job so Todd could stay in the toxic environment he was in and their thought processes all went sideways for me.
One area that consistently pulled me out of the story was the amount of blushing all of the characters did. From blushing, flushing, turning red, heat rising, face on fire, or feeling their embarrassment cover them like bright red wrapping paper there was an inexplicable and severe amount of blushing going on from the main characters, even when they were alone looking in the mirror, to random characters working in the office. When Fazil and Todd were alone together they had good chemistry, but the bedroom scenes weren’t enough to pull this book together for me and it’s not a book I will easily recommend.