When Adam Kingston’s father dies, he fully expects to take over the company and be able to turn it around. But he’s shocked to learn that his father left half of the company to Nate Thomas. Adam and Nate can’t stand each other, and their ideals don’t mesh. They have very different ideas about what it will take to get the company financially solvent again. Adam is stubborn, spoiled, and hardheaded, and he won’t listen to a thing Nate says.
But when Adam sees a pair of panties that Nate obviously wants to keep hidden, the dynamic between them shifts just a little. When one argument leads to a heated kiss, it shifts even more. Adam can’t deny his attraction to the other man, but when they act on it, Adam panics. To add to the stress, they can’t seem to compromise on any decisions where the company is concerned.
But as Adam and Nate continue to fight, they get closer, and their relationship moves to another level. Nate is everything Adam needs in a lover and partner, but he lets his stubbornness, and his anxiety, keep them apart. When Adam goes a step too far, he pushes Nate away for good. Or so he thinks. Adam needs to figure out how to not only apologize to Nate, but how to get Nate to realize that he’s falling in love. Without his anxiety crashing down around him. If he can, Adam just might save his company and his relationship.
I’m quick to pick up most anything Silvia Violet writes, as I know I’ll get well drawn characters and a good story. I enjoyed Lace-Covered Compromise in a lot of ways, though this story is not without its issues for me.
Adam is an entitled, stubborn, spoiled jerk. Part of that isn’t his fault, as he was raised a certain way. His relationship with his father was crappy. But he also uses that as a front to hide his more tender emotions. I liked that Adam was a layered character, and over the course of the story, his depths were revealed. He endeared himself to me early on, and I thought the author did a good job of making him a sympathetic character. A large part of that is his relationship with his best friend, Valerie, because their banter allowed the reader to see his real self underneath his assholery. Adam won’t be a character everyone likes, but he worked for me.
Enemies to lovers is a trope that I am very choosy about reading, since I often find it not to be as well done as it could be. Violet handles it well here. There’s definitely an animosity between the MCs, and it’s convincing. But underneath that, their chemistry sparks and sizzles, so it was entirely believable that their attraction was just as real. There was good character growth and relationship development. And since Nate really was an all-around good guy, his understanding when Adam finally opened up was well done.
I liked that Nate wearing panties and lipstick wasn’t a huge point in the story. It was just a part of who Nate was, and he was unashamed and unapologetic about it. Adam never thought lingerie on men was particularly arousing, but on Nate, and with Nate’s confidence, it became a huge turn on. There’s also some dominance play between them that really worked, and it made sense to me how Adam would need the release of not being in control. And Adam’s bisexuality was nicely handled as well. Though Adam kept his sexuality a secret, it wasn’t because he was ashamed. It was because of how it could affect his career, and really, Adam is all about the bottom line. This was in keeping with his character.
But as I said, I had a few issues with the story. The biggest one being Adam’s anxiety and near panic attacks. While there was some realism here, it also felt a little bit like a plot device, and I didn’t feel like it was given as much development as it deserved. Adam mentions toward the end that he’s seeing a therapist, but this is the first and only mention of it. He also seems to talk himself back from the brink of panic with ease, which didn’t track with how severe he made things sound. Everyone who has anxiety handles it differently, but it read a a bit too easy for me.
These guys also seemed to fall in love a bit too quickly. The chemistry between them was great, and channeling that into sex and a relationship made sense. But for me, that last leap into real love was a reach too far. I needed a bit more grounding, and to see them in more situations where it wasn’t arguing or having sex to really believe the love.
But overall, I enjoyed this story. I was rooting for Adam to get exactly what he needed, and for him to finally be happy. And Nate goes a long way to providing that. These guys work together, and while the story is not without its problems, it’s a good read.