Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Takeover by Anna Zabo

Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: 8/19/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 198
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars

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Michael Sebastian thought Curacao would be the perfect place to have a little fun in the sun—and between the sheets. So far, no one has struck his interest, until Sam Anderson walks into the bar. With one look at his tense body and expensive suit, Michael knows that this is a man in need of release. And Michael is more than willing to lend a hand.

Shattered by the most intense sex he’s ever had, Sam has to face the facts—one night with a handsome, dominating stranger is all he gets before returning to the closet he’s been suffocating in for years. But when Sam starts his new job as the CEO of a failing technology company, he discovers that Michael is one of his new employees.

While Michael is desperate for another night with Sam, he knows he shouldn’t get involved with his boss, let alone another man who can’t accept who he is. But as they’re forced to work together to save the company, the desire sparking between them becomes impossible to ignore…

My Review
Imagine a story in which
two strangers on vacation meet in a bar. They feel an instant, intense spark, and they act on. That sparks leads to a night of passion neither has ever experienced. But it's for one night only. They each go home, resigned to remember that night, knowing it will never happen again. Until...Monday morning rolls around, and the two realize they are now working together, one as boss and the other as employee. Though they know they shouldn't continue - it's not professionally ethical, they can't resist. It's a story we romance readers are very familiar with, yes?
Now remember that the two lovers are both men. That changes things up a bit. What I loved about Takeover was the author didn't necessarily write a "gay" story, it is a love story. I happen to enjoy m/m romance, but after realizing that what I've read is erotic m/m romance, I felt a bit guilty, like maybe I was only into it for the thrills and not the real heart of the story. If I remember correctly, Takeover is the first m/m romance I've read that is more mainstream, and the fact it read as a romance that happened to contain two male leads was really lovely.
That both main characters are men is just a fact, though it does lend to extra complications, which realistic, though unfortunate. Not only must Michael and Sam contend with a frowned-upon workplace romance, but they must also deal with the ramifications of homophobia. Michael, though not overly chatty about his personal life, is open. He's not had any big complications in the workplace, other than being cheated out of his position in the company by his former, closeted lover and company co-founder. Sam, though, is deeply, deeply closeted. As a CEO, he's seen and heard the slurs from his colleagues, and knows that if he should ever be exposed, the job offers will stop. Sam has also experienced brutality from homophobes, which gives him the extra incentive to keep his sexual preference private. Michael refuses to be with another man who refuses to be open, Sam doesn't see a way to be out, along with safe and employed. It's an extremely complicated, heart-wrenching situation. One I believe the author navigated very well.
Besides the workplace and social aspects of Takeover, it was such a good, sexy love story! Michael and Sam are so perfectly matched in this department. Sam is so wound-up by life and work, and as a man in near-constant power, he seeks a safe place to let go of his power, to submit to pleasure and the pleasure he gets from pain, both of which Michael is only too happy to give. Michael's a dominant lover and caring lover, always knowing exactly how much Sam needs. I've struggled before with reading about D/s relationships. This aspect only applies to the bedroom in this case, and I'm not sure it would even be technically classified as such. It wasn't about control or demands as much as it was about each man's preferences and giving that in a loving, respectful manner. Maybe I'm thinking too hard, but at any rate, I loved it.
By the way, Takeover was HOT. Damn.
Takeover was such a great story. The more I've considered since reading it, the higher I regard this story. Both Michael and Sam were dynamic, compelling characters whose attributes and flaws contributed to creating well-rounded men. I believed in them as a couple, wanted them to find a way to be wholly together. I understood the divide between them and what stood in their way as a couple. I thought how they grew and worked to find a way was believable and romantic. And I loved the ending. Takeover was an excellent standalone romance.
Based on the sample at the back of my eARC, it seems there will be another story in this same world, Just Business. This seems to be more of a companion story, and I'll say that I can't wait for more.

Favorite Quotes
  Michael stroked Sam's jaw with his thumb. "If anything I do gets to be too much, say 'yellow' and I'll slow down. Say 'red' and I'll stop. Understand?"
  A safeword? Lightning ran through Sam's veins. He couldn't be that lucky. "Yes." Sam leaned into Michael's touch. "And if I want more?"
  "You beg for it."
  "Sam." Michael whispered into his ear.
  "Did you find the answer?"
  The question startled Sam. He said nothing and Michael didn't pry. He rolled slightly to turn off the lamp on the side table.
  In the darkened room, Sam traced the lines of Michael's face in the faint glow from the windows.
  Trust. Security. Completion.
  This was what came after pain, after pleasure, this was what Michael gave him.
  He spoke his answer against Michael's collarbone. "You give me peace."
  Michael didn't speak, just held him tighter. Which was exactly perfect.

About Anna Zabo
Anna ZaboAnna Zabo writes erotic paranormal romance and fantasy. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. A lover of all things fae, and wonderful, she looks for the magical in the cracks of her city. We have hills. And trees. And rivers. And trains And I can see all these things from my office window.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

She reviews books under her non-pen name, since she's been on GR under that name since 2007...

In real life, she does not talk about herself in third person, though she did date a guy who did that.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. OH I do love that storyline. So entertaining watching the "fall out" and them dealing with it. I've still not really tried m/m. It just I don't think is really my thing though I am going to give it at least one go and see. I know so many of yall ladies who just love it. Glad this one was such a lovely romance :)

  2. I'm just like you, I happen to really enjoy M/M romance, so you can see how much your review intrigued me, huh? The story sounds good and so do the characters, plus it's a standalone and sometimes we need just that. I think I'll go for it! Thanks, Andrea :)

  3. I love the quotes & I'm glad to see more complex stories and not just m/m erotica.

    I'll definitely be reading this one.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  4. I've actually never read a m/m romance but I do want to give one a try one day and see if I enjoy it... this sounds like it might be a good one to start with. Great review!

  5. I tend to stay away from LGBTQ books because I'm worried they are perpetuating stereotypes and that I'm unknowingly picking up stereotypes. This actually sounds like a really sweet story that also deals with homophobia.
    Michael and Sam sound like they are a great couple.
    I'm glad you liked this, Andrea! :)
    Great review!

  6. This sounds good Andrea, and I have never tried a M/M romance but this sounds like the perfect place to start. I love the details on the cover. One is sharply dressed the other has wrinkled clothes..brilly.

  7. Omigosh, Andrea. I love the sound of Takeover...I love the fact that it's a love story that just happens to be between 2 men. It sounds complex and well written and I'm excited to read it. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. Lovely review, hon!

  8. I haven't read any m/m romance either. It's not because I don't want to it's just I have never got around it. I need to change that and this one sounds really good. I like the plot and it sounds really interesting and also I like the quotes! Great review, Andrea :)

  9. I haven't been in the mood to read any m/m books lately. I can barely tolerate the hetero stories lol. This sounds good but the D/s thing made me roll my eyes. Glad you liked it though

  10. While I don't really read M/M romance, I do appreciate the fact that it's, at heart, a love story, not a gay love story. Semantics, I suppose, but it's important. Two gorgeous men walk into a bar... :)

  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this.

  12. Wonderful review Andrea. I didn't request this one, but now I wish I would have. I've only read one other m/m romance and that was by Nyrae Dawn - and it was really good.

  13. Oh, Andrea! This sounds like my type of read! I"ll check it out! =)))


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