André Ellison is a one-man financial advisor, and running his own firm isn’t easy. After being forced to leave his former firm, he struck out on his own, which was always his intention, but not quite this soon. When an opportunity arises to partner with his former firm for a big project, André is reluctant, but he knows that if he gets the account, then it would go a long way to keeping him financially stable. Even if that means working with one of the firm’s interns to put together the project and present it.
Marcus Thompson is beyond focused. He knows what he wants from his career and he isn’t going to play any games. Getting chosen as one of the interns to work on a potentially big project is not what he wants. It doesn’t fit into his long term goals. but he’d be a fool to turn it down.
Both men need to blow off steam, wind up at the same club, and take an interest in each other. A night to remember follows. But it’s a surprise when, come Monday morning, Marcus is assigned to work with André on the presentation they have three weeks to prepare for. The tension between them simmers under the surface, and ultimately they decide they just need to get through this project before they can see where things between them will lead.
But machinations are at work that might derail their chance to get the job. Marcus starts questioning everything he ever thought he wanted, while André is trying to figure out how he can have Marcus in his life and trying to let go of his own baggage. But when a communication failure tears them apart, will they be able to work it out?
This is the second book in Jayce Ellis’s High Rise series, but it really does stand alone, with only one quick cameo of the couple from the first book. In fact, I liked this second installment even better than the first. Both the MCs were wonderfully fleshed out, the pacing was spot on, and the big miscommunication was not the one I expected, which gave it a nice twist. But more on that in a minute.
I really enjoy the author’s voice, and I think she does a fantastic job creating characters that are downright believable. It would be easy for these guys, and all the secondary characters, to step off the page into real life. There’s an honesty and realness to them I really enjoy. That’s even more true here, as both André and Marcus are aware of their hang-ups, even if they’re not sure how to get past them. I liked that they had similar baggage, and that ultimately they found a way to work past it.
The chemistry between the MCs was fire. These guys sizzle and spark from the first meeting, and the sexual tension between them as they work together simmers beautifully. Marcus is working out a lot in his own mind about what he wants out of life, and his attraction to and how he feels about André really makes things clearer for him. He doesn’t know how to go about getting what he wants, but his love for André is a pivotal factor. André, as well, grows as he falls in love with Marcus. And I loved how good they were for each other, but especially Marcus getting André to to relax and take time away from the grind of work.
Now, as for the miscommunication that temporarily drives them apart. There was a set up here for something else to happen, and admittedly, I had a moment of thinking it was too easy and too cliché. But what Ellis did here was twist things around, and give these guys another reason to take a break, while they both figure out what to do. I don’t want to say too much about it, since I found it so refreshing for it not to be the obvious thing. I would still rather have seen them actually converse instead of walking away and having to come back together, but this was an interesting way to go about things. And their reunion put a huge smile on my face.
All in all, this is an easy recommendation. The characters are awesome and real, the pacing well done, and everything came together to work for me. If you haven’t yet had a chance to experience Ellis’s writing, then I highly suggest you pick this one up.