Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I’m reviewing Just Business by Anna Zabo. I have to say this was a book that was a delightfully surprising BDSM romp, but it wasn’t erotica. The story was very much plot driven, which made it well worth reading. Kind of like the first book in this series, Takeover, the BDSM aspect isn’t mentioned at all before you buy it, so if you’re not careful and don’t read between the lines (I was suspecting it after reading the first one) you will get !Surprise!BDSM, which I find to be lovely, but it’s something for the buyer to be aware of. While it was warned “Mature Audience” in the blurb, that does nothing to hint at the content. At 226 pages the book is a nice, medium length that goes by very quickly. I finished the book in a little less than two evenings.
Let’s check out the blurb.
Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….
Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?
The character development in this story surpassed even that of Takeover. I like that Just Business can easily be stand alone. I’m all for twining together books of a series, but if someone wanted to pick up a harder BDSM story (which I think this qualifies as because we have sex parties and play rooms) you could skip Takeover and go directly to Just Business without being fundamentally lost. I think some of the nuance of the book might be missed, but everything would be understandable.
I grew up near Pittsburgh, which is the setting for this book, so, as with Takeover, I was enthralled reading descriptions of places I know. There’s always something very exciting in seeing a place you know described by someone else in print. Zabo even talks about Jewish culture in Pittsburgh, which I got to see first hand when I was invited to a Passover dinner while I was in town during a psychology conference about a bjilliion years ago. I had a great time that night, and I’ll always remember it fondly.
I loved the BDSM element of this book. I particularly enjoyed the way Zabo explored the nuances of the different kinds of “Doms” that are out there. Eli is fundamentally different from Michael in her last book, which is fantastic. I also liked the evolution of the relationship between Sam and Michael that we get to witness in the background of this story. She paints very visceral images of Sam at the BDSM party Eli and Justin’s relationship really takes off at.
We’ll use the sex party as a jumping off point. The imagery surrounding the sex and sex play in this book is out of this world. I was literally holding my breath during some of the scenes, one where there’s no sex at all between Eli and Justin at the office. Justin is filing. The author managed to make FILING SEXY. That takes a special sort of talent, and needs kudos all around. If I could make filing sexy, I might still have an office job. (Actually, no I wouldn’t. Dressing up every day kills my soul.)
The characters, aside from being lovingly grown and constructed, were also described extremely well. It wasn’t overkill, but I had no trouble getting an image in my head of who they were and what they looked like. I also was extremely pleased, as I often am when this happens, that they weren’t “perfect”. Eli had a disability of sorts and Justin had lots of issues. It was wonderful to see the characters working around their problems.
The Few Things that Bothered Me:
I would say, just like the last book in this series, there were more grammatical and editing errors in this book than any other pro-published book I’ve read lately. I try not to lump different kinds of books together, and maybe it isn’t fair, but I give Indy Authors (who sometimes can’t afford an editor) far more leeway in this area as well as with formatting. This book was published by an Imprint of Penguin house and it seems that they just aren’t putting that effort out there with the editing process. I absolutely delighted in this book, but every time I came across a large error it ripped me out of the scene I’m reading. I can’t remember exactly where they all were in the book, but there were enough of them that several days later it stands out as a complaint with the work, which I guess is really good. I loved the book and the writing, and had very little that I didn’t really dig on there.
One of the things that I didn’t like, perhaps was how quickly Justin ran cold. He was fine and then it was like a light switched and he wasn’t. I guess he wasn’t fine, fine, but he seemed to turn on Eli at the drop of a dime and it didn’t flow well with the overall story for me. I got over it though as the story progressed. I was just like, dude, get a therapist already.
I outright adored this book. I ranted about this book to friends and posted it to a rec group I’m a part of and wish I could do it all over again. If anyone ever asks me for a good BDSM book with a Happily Ever After, this will be on the top of the pile of recommendations. I also think I’ll likely end up rereading this book at some point because it was just that good.
Check out my book The Shape of Honey!
Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.
Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.