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DARREN Ever since my partner died, my life has been spiraling out of control. I’ve lost everything important to me, and now I’m losing the company he and I built. Investors are breathing down my neck, dictating my every move, and now they’ve hired some young, starry-eyed brand consultant to make me more palatable to the general public. He’s ambitious, optimistic, and kind-he DARREN Ever since my partner died, my life has been spiraling out of control. I’ve lost everything important to me, and now I’m losing the company he and I built. Investors are breathing down my neck, dictating my every move, and now they’ve hired some young, starry-eyed brand consultant to make me more palatable to the general public. He’s ambitious, optimistic, and kind-hearted. Everything I’m not. And despite my best efforts, he’s starting to get under my skin. I’m not averse to mixing business with pleasure, but if he’s looking for more than a one night stand, he’s going to be sorely disappointed. JAMIE It’s always been my dream to work for Arion, one of the most innovative, fast-paced tech companies in the world. But now that my dream’s become a reality, I’m realizing it’s not what I thought it would be. This isn’t a think tank for genius minds, it’s a mess of red tape and bureaucratic bullshit. And billionaire CEO Darren Wilkes, the man I’ve idolized for years, is way more arrogant and aloof than I ever thought he’d be. Unfortunately, he’s also a lot hotter than I thought he’d be. He’s definitely got the dark and brooding thing down pat. Somehow I have to ignore all that, though, since I’ve been given the impossible job of rehabilitating his public image. I never expected to make it past Darren’s prickly exterior; to find the man who’s suffering beneath it all. But no matter what happens between us, I have to keep my head--and my heart. I can’t afford to fall for my boss. Business as Usual is a steamy romance between a jaded CEO and the man who helps him learn to take a chance again. This is a full-length, standalone novel.


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DARREN Ever since my partner died, my life has been spiraling out of control. I’ve lost everything important to me, and now I’m losing the company he and I built. Investors are breathing down my neck, dictating my every move, and now they’ve hired some young, starry-eyed brand consultant to make me more palatable to the general public. He’s ambitious, optimistic, and kind-he DARREN Ever since my partner died, my life has been spiraling out of control. I’ve lost everything important to me, and now I’m losing the company he and I built. Investors are breathing down my neck, dictating my every move, and now they’ve hired some young, starry-eyed brand consultant to make me more palatable to the general public. He’s ambitious, optimistic, and kind-hearted. Everything I’m not. And despite my best efforts, he’s starting to get under my skin. I’m not averse to mixing business with pleasure, but if he’s looking for more than a one night stand, he’s going to be sorely disappointed. JAMIE It’s always been my dream to work for Arion, one of the most innovative, fast-paced tech companies in the world. But now that my dream’s become a reality, I’m realizing it’s not what I thought it would be. This isn’t a think tank for genius minds, it’s a mess of red tape and bureaucratic bullshit. And billionaire CEO Darren Wilkes, the man I’ve idolized for years, is way more arrogant and aloof than I ever thought he’d be. Unfortunately, he’s also a lot hotter than I thought he’d be. He’s definitely got the dark and brooding thing down pat. Somehow I have to ignore all that, though, since I’ve been given the impossible job of rehabilitating his public image. I never expected to make it past Darren’s prickly exterior; to find the man who’s suffering beneath it all. But no matter what happens between us, I have to keep my head--and my heart. I can’t afford to fall for my boss. Business as Usual is a steamy romance between a jaded CEO and the man who helps him learn to take a chance again. This is a full-length, standalone novel.

30 review for Business As Usual

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

    ***2.75 Stars*** Let me start off by saying that this book is well written. The writing is not in question here...but what I've noticed with this author is that she hasn't quite figured out how to balance the plot with the romance. And the balance here is way off. Years ago, Darren and his partner Ethan started Arion, a tech company. The company was built on Ethan's genius and Darren's money. They were the tech world's dream duo, two technology nerds building forward-thinking and high-end compute ***2.75 Stars*** Let me start off by saying that this book is well written. The writing is not in question here...but what I've noticed with this author is that she hasn't quite figured out how to balance the plot with the romance. And the balance here is way off. Years ago, Darren and his partner Ethan started Arion, a tech company. The company was built on Ethan's genius and Darren's money. They were the tech world's dream duo, two technology nerds building forward-thinking and high-end computers and tablets. However, what very few people knew, was that Darren and Ethan were partners outside of Arion. The two were also partners in life and love. Unfortunately, that all changed three years ago when Ethan died of an overdose. Darren now simply exists. He exists in his bare and sterile apartment, and he exists in a company now run by a board of directors turning Ethan's dreams and ideas into cheap products looking to pad the bottom line. Jamie is brought in to help with the company's marketing and brand image. He can't believe that he got a job working at one of the most high-end tech companies...and given a once in a lifetime chance to work with Darren, someone he's admired for a very long time. Initially, he's taken aback by Darren's cold demeanor, but he soon sees there's more to the stoic CEO. Darren and Jamie feel an attraction right from the beginning, but what really draws them in is their mutual respect for each other. Darren assumed that Jamie would be another cookie cutter social media enabler, but what he found instead was a man with ideas, passion and drive when it comes to the tech world. And Darren hasn't felt a sense of purpose, or someone's energy he could breathe in since Ethan's death. When the two begin working on a secret project, late nights in close quarters start adding fuel to the attraction they already felt. And soon, they can't fight the pull. Darren feeds off the passion Jamie has. He starts to feel himself awaken, lifting out of the fog he's been in since Ethan's death. And Jamie begins to see sides of Darren that he rarely shows anyone. Small glimpses into a wealthy man who hides his vulnerabilities behind his bank account. Darren and Jamie don't have many conversations getting to know each other. There are some sprinkled in, but what really bonds them is the work they're doing. I needed more romance...I need more of a connection outside of computers, projects, business, technology, etc. When the big climactic moment in the book comes, I just couldn't buy into the depth of emotion that these two said they felt. Also, while the sex scenes were very well done, they too were void of any real heartfelt emotion. It just felt like two guys fucking. There is ZERO affection in this book. No simple touches, no kisses to greet each other, no hugs, no morning's wrapped up in each other's arms....nothing. My heart didn't have much to grab on to. On top of that, I have to admit, Ethan is a cloud hanging over the majority of this book. And even when those clouds part and the sun shines through, I just didn't feel it. I didn't fully believe Darren when he sorted through his emotions. Like I said, this author can definitely write a good book, but the balance between the romance and everything else is off kilter. The premise is there, and this had the potential to be a really great story, but unfortunately the execution left a lot to be desired. ***ARC, courtesy of author, in exchange for an honest review***

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fabi

    After a month long dry spell of slogging through or setting aside book after book that could barely hold my attention, I finally slid into home base when Alison Hendricks hit it out of the park with Business As Usual. A fantastic m/m adult contemporary romance novel. Set in an ultra contemporary corporate tech world we meet our two MCs. Darren is the CEO and co-founder of a high-end technology firm. We meet him at a low point in his life when he's lost his love and business partner to an overdose After a month long dry spell of slogging through or setting aside book after book that could barely hold my attention, I finally slid into home base when Alison Hendricks hit it out of the park with Business As Usual. A fantastic m/m adult contemporary romance novel. Set in an ultra contemporary corporate tech world we meet our two MCs. Darren is the CEO and co-founder of a high-end technology firm. We meet him at a low point in his life when he's lost his love and business partner to an overdose and their dream company has been taken over by investors and a board of directors that don't hold the same principles as the ones he and his partner envisioned. Darren is nothing more than a figurehead in his own company. He has become apathetic in his work and in his life. ...depression to me is something without much of an explanation. It comes and goes as it pleases, with no root cause and no immediate solution. It’s not sadness or grief, just a thick sea of nothingness. This apathy I’ve found myself in has a name. It has a face. It has a smile that brings out the dimple on its left cheek. Jamie is a bit younger. Still trying to make a name for himself as a marketing strategist when he lands a contract with Arion. It's a dream come true for Jamie because not only is he a big fan of their products, he's also had a good crush on the CEO for a long time. It's dangerous. I know it is. I'm not the kind of guy who does casual. Eventually my heart gets involved, and when it does, I fall hard. Too bad that same CEO proceeds to immediately crush Jamie at their very first meeting. When these two men get together magical sparks fly. Sometimes they're pretty and glittery. Sometimes they're hot and steamy. Sometimes they burn and leave ashes in their wake. But, all the time, there is magic in the air when these two breath it together. I can't possibly say enough about how well written this story is. Real characters, perfect flow, life portrayed with it's twists and turns. All of it presented flawlessly. I was entirely carried away into the world of Business As Usual. A huge thank you to Ms. Hendricks not only for gifting me an ARC but also for writing such a wonderful story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marion

    4.5 Stars! I really enjoy Alison Hendricks work, but I think this is her best writing yet. Business as Usual is an adult contemporary romance...with a bit of kink. Darren Wilkes is 40, enigmatic, well dressed, successful...and has been mired in depression and apathy since the death of his personal and professional partner three years ago. Once the CEO and part owner of a revolutionary tech company, he is now relegated to the back burner by the board of directors and shareholders of Arion. Social me 4.5 Stars! I really enjoy Alison Hendricks work, but I think this is her best writing yet. Business as Usual is an adult contemporary romance...with a bit of kink. Darren Wilkes is 40, enigmatic, well dressed, successful...and has been mired in depression and apathy since the death of his personal and professional partner three years ago. Once the CEO and part owner of a revolutionary tech company, he is now relegated to the back burner by the board of directors and shareholders of Arion. Social media consultant Jamie Barnes is hired to help with a major product launch, and help revamp Arion's company image. It's his dream job. He's a big fan of the company, and an even bigger fan of Darren Wilkes. He is totally crushed when during his first presentation, Darren shuts him down. On the insistence of the board, Darren reluctantly agrees to work with Jamie to alter his image and make him more accessible. The resulting long hours working together brings out their undeniable chemistry. “We've had some time, but the moment Jamie appears on my doorstep, I can't seem to keep myself from wanting him. And because I've never been particularly good at impulse control, I then can't stop myself from having him. In every way, in every room, in every position possible.” Their chemistry is sizzling. The sex is off the charts HOT! Darren is big and strong and dominant, and Jamie is happy to be dominated in the bedroom...or the hallway...or the shower...but Jamie can't afford to loose his head, or his heart. (This is not a BDSM book. Spanking is as Kinky as it gets, but the boys like it rough!). I really enjoyed Business as Usual. The story of a jaded CEO and the man who helps him learn to take a chance again. The writing is solid. There is lots of emotion and some angst-but it's not at all overwhelming. Darren and Jamie's journey to HEA is hard fought, but so worth it. The epilogue was wonderful and wrapped things up beautifully. Highly recommend. *An ARC was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    2.5 stars I have to agree with Mirjana's review . The romance is definitely NOT well executed. With Ethan (the dead lover of Darren) as a shadow that looming over the book since the very beginning, I didn't feel like Hendricks was able to convincingly portrayed the progress of Darren to fall in love again with Jamie. I wasn't convinced that Darren was able to let go; that climactic scene (view spoiler)[where Darren told Jamie that he loved him (hide spoiler)] was devoid of any emotion, IMHO. Wh 2.5 stars I have to agree with Mirjana's review . The romance is definitely NOT well executed. With Ethan (the dead lover of Darren) as a shadow that looming over the book since the very beginning, I didn't feel like Hendricks was able to convincingly portrayed the progress of Darren to fall in love again with Jamie. I wasn't convinced that Darren was able to let go; that climactic scene (view spoiler)[where Darren told Jamie that he loved him (hide spoiler)] was devoid of any emotion, IMHO. While I understand that people have a type -- and maybe in some sense, there is a similarity in Jamie's attitude that calls him to Darren -- but I couldn't feel the connection, the emotional connection that is. It was VERY DRY. In fact I was so detached with the couple I didn't realize that I was in the middle of a sex scene! I was like, "wait, they're doing it?" I liked Jamie enough but he wasn't able to lift up the whole story for me. I quite enjoyed Hendricks previous football series -- they're easy to read, and sometimes I need those kind of books. This one is definitely NOT a favorite, sadly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cory

    I always love a good story where they don't necessarily get along too well in the beginning and then slowly get together. This one didn't disappoint! I always love a good story where they don't necessarily get along too well in the beginning and then slowly get together. This one didn't disappoint!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Santy

    When Fabi reviewed this book and loved it, I just KNEW I had to check it out because most of the time we're either on the same page or have very similar views when it comes to books. Even when we're not, I really enjoy her thoughts in her reviews. Initially, I thought it was a new-to-me author but then I realized that she wrote the East Shore Tigers series which I've loved so far so I said, "This must be fate" . With these two things going for it, I was sure this would be a great book and I wasn't When Fabi reviewed this book and loved it, I just KNEW I had to check it out because most of the time we're either on the same page or have very similar views when it comes to books. Even when we're not, I really enjoy her thoughts in her reviews. Initially, I thought it was a new-to-me author but then I realized that she wrote the East Shore Tigers series which I've loved so far so I said, "This must be fate" . With these two things going for it, I was sure this would be a great book and I wasn't wrong. Everything went well for it. The writing, the pacing, the corporate intrigue, secondary characters, the steam, EVERYTHING. Speaking of steam, this was much hotter than the East Shore Tigers series . I'm guessing because it was NA and this was full adult? Well regardless of the reason I enjoyed the hell out of it!! Next steps for me are to find as many books by this author as possible and read ALL of them! And to top it all off, her work is free on KU ! Win!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Otterpuss

    I struggled to get into this book in the beginning. A lot. I felt like I was getting a shit load of technical information but very little about the characters. I did eventually warm to the story. I liked Jamie. I admired his tenacity and his courage. Darren  (or David as my brain insisted in calling him...) I found trickier. Not because he was unlikeable or because he was tortured by his loss or because he treated people with indifference...he was all of those things and more. I found him tricky I struggled to get into this book in the beginning. A lot. I felt like I was getting a shit load of technical information but very little about the characters. I did eventually warm to the story. I liked Jamie. I admired his tenacity and his courage. Darren  (or David as my brain insisted in calling him...) I found trickier. Not because he was unlikeable or because he was tortured by his loss or because he treated people with indifference...he was all of those things and more. I found him tricky because I felt his pain. I understood his apathy. His lack of interest. And it hurt me. The problem I have is the lack of connection. Jamie and Darren don't spend time getting to know each other, they are either working or screwing, there's nothing else, so it's really difficult to buy into them as a couple because there is no romance at all. Absolutely none. No dates, no talking about anything other than work, no cooking or watching TV together, no lazy mornings snuggled up together, no gentle touches, sweet kisses or lingering looks. Nothing. Don't get me wrong, the story is good, it's well written and the sex was hot but I need more than that to be invested in a couple. I need a connection and unfortunately there wasn't one. ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mirjam

    “Partners in every sense of the word.” Darren Wilkes, 40, CEO of Arion, a revolutionary tech company that he started with his deceased partner and lover. Losing him hurled Darren into a depression I just don’t care anymore. It comes and goes as it pleases, with no root cause and no immediate solution. It’s not sadness or grief, just a thick sea of nothingness. This apathy I’ve found myself in has a name. It has a face. It has a smile that brings out the dimple on its left cheek. My business part “Partners in every sense of the word.” Darren Wilkes, 40, CEO of Arion, a revolutionary tech company that he started with his deceased partner and lover. Losing him hurled Darren into a depression I just don’t care anymore. It comes and goes as it pleases, with no root cause and no immediate solution. It’s not sadness or grief, just a thick sea of nothingness. This apathy I’ve found myself in has a name. It has a face. It has a smile that brings out the dimple on its left cheek. My business partner and the love of my life, Ethan Samuels. Darren has found himself yet another unimportant man in a suit with a tie instead of the the CEO and part-owner of a revolutionary tech company being consigned to be a shell CEO by the board of directors and shareholders of Arion who, in fact, are trying to get rid of him but first need to get his image and, consecutively the company back on track. To accomplish this social media guru, James Barnes, is hired. I was going to be Arion’s new brand consultant, in charge of overhauling their image and making them more accessible for the next generation of consumers. Jamie is thrilled to have the chance to work for the company and its CEO who he admired for so long. But much to his shock Arion is not the energetic and cutting-edge technology business he was hoping for, their new product is inferior and his idol, CEO Darren Wilkes, is a rude, cold and bitter arsehole. When Jamie comes across office gossip about Darren treating him like he's the newest exhibit at the zoo. he starts to pay close attention concluding that Darren is a hollow empty but handsome shell and Jamie really wants to put the passion, excitement and fire back in his eyes. Darren & Jamie start to work closely on projects they are both passionate about and their mutual attraction grows stronger. that connection that courses between us like an electrical current. He stands behind me as the water hits my chest, his hands moving over my body, soaping me up with a washcloth. He kisses and licks and bites, first my neck and then my shoulder, all while rolling his hips against me The story is told from both Darren’s and Jamie’s POV, it flowed nicely and was well written with some really hot sex scenes. Darren’s desperation regarding the loss of Ethan and being the powerless CEO was palpable. He starts as an aloof, rude arsehole but turns out to be openly caring and considerate. Who will do anything to put a smile on my face. This is my first book of Alison Hendricks and it definitely will not be my last. With Darren by my side, I know I’ll get there. He won’t let me give up. And I won’t let him forget it. He carries me to the large couch in his office and his hands work on my fly.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nichole (DirrtyH)

    So this book has gotten pretty lukewarm (and a few downright bad) reviews from my friends. But I actually liked it. The first half is all corporate politics, which may be boring for some (a lot of) readers, but was actually interesting to me. Boy howdy do I ever know what it's like to work for a company that starts out feeling like a small business with that fun, family feeling of a startup that then gets sold to investors, and then the culture morphs into that "we don't care about anything othe So this book has gotten pretty lukewarm (and a few downright bad) reviews from my friends. But I actually liked it. The first half is all corporate politics, which may be boring for some (a lot of) readers, but was actually interesting to me. Boy howdy do I ever know what it's like to work for a company that starts out feeling like a small business with that fun, family feeling of a startup that then gets sold to investors, and then the culture morphs into that "we don't care about anything other than the bottom line and that includes our employees" mentality. It's soul crushing. So I was actually on board for all of that. If you're not into it, you're going to be bored out of your mind for 50% of the book. (Literally. Nothing romantic happens until at least halfway in.) The second half was a big jumble of stuff that was somewhat hit or miss for me. This is where the romance took place, and there were parts that worked and parts that didn't. It's your typical "this is just sex" relationship that becomes more. I skimmed all the sex because I wasn't interested. And then when the two characters start admitting feelings.... it all felt a bit cold to me. Abrupt. Like there hadn't been enough earlier in the book building toward it, so it felt manufactured rather than earned. And then of course you have Darren finally getting closure with Ethan's death. Again, hit or miss and mostly for the same reasons. I feel like the conclusions he came to were good, but there had been absolutely no build-up to them so it felt like all tell, no show. Like "okay, if you say so, author." We've been given zero evidence of any of it. But whatever. We need to accept that he's over Ethan so he can go be with Jamie so I guess we just have to buy it. I did like how it all came together in the end. The epilogue is sweet and I loved that (view spoiler)[they ended up starting a company together. (hide spoiler)] That at least didn't come out of nowhere. There was foreshadowing and buildup or whatnot for that outcome and it made sense. For me, I just really like Alison Hendricks. She's not one of those writers that's going to blow you away, but she consistently delivers stories that push the right buttons for me and so she's built up that good will to where I will probably read anything she writes. Or at least give it a shot. Bottom line: This book is kind of a jumble. Some worked, some didn't. Ultimately if you can get on board for the first half you should at least moderately enjoy it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Passick Lumsden

    It would appear that Alison Hendricks' writing is maturing, and maturing well. The characters in this book are believably flawed, but endearing, and the emotional highs and lows meander in a comfortable pattern, never dipping into either maudlin angst or cheesy Hallmark sentimentality. The insights into the running of a public corporation were fascinating and properly researched. The reader is introduced to the ludicrousness of answering to clueless investors without once being force-fed the ide It would appear that Alison Hendricks' writing is maturing, and maturing well. The characters in this book are believably flawed, but endearing, and the emotional highs and lows meander in a comfortable pattern, never dipping into either maudlin angst or cheesy Hallmark sentimentality. The insights into the running of a public corporation were fascinating and properly researched. The reader is introduced to the ludicrousness of answering to clueless investors without once being force-fed the idea that anyone involved is a cartoon villain. It's real people, real situations, and real emotions woven into a tale about moving on, finding one's self, and not giving up. The sex scenes are pretty hot, too. *I was provided a free e-arc of this book in exchange for a review. That's not why I rated it so well. You should know me better by now... ;-)*

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dara Nelson

    Can I give this a resounding yes? A fist pump in the air? A cheer, a whoop, a thank you? All of those are deserving for this wonderful, hard fought, beautiful, heartwarming, uplifting story. At times it had me on the edge of tears while so many others had me rooting for Darren and Jamie and finding that happy that they both so clearly deserved. Just perfect. I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ⚣Michaelle⚣

    Very sweet, sexy and at times a little heart-breaking. I do have to admit that by the 3/4 mark I was hovering around a 3.5 star rating, but then something happened that I didn't expect, and I loved it. (view spoiler)[See, I thought for sure that Darren would just ride out the storm and take back control of his company when the Epsilon failed. Only, I didn't see the double-cross coming. And that move royally pissed me off. It also really irked me that he didn't fight it, didn't go off script with t Very sweet, sexy and at times a little heart-breaking. I do have to admit that by the 3/4 mark I was hovering around a 3.5 star rating, but then something happened that I didn't expect, and I loved it. (view spoiler)[See, I thought for sure that Darren would just ride out the storm and take back control of his company when the Epsilon failed. Only, I didn't see the double-cross coming. And that move royally pissed me off. It also really irked me that he didn't fight it, didn't go off script with the resignation press-conference, putting the blame at the feet of the board members and telling them off for ruining the image of a once well-respected brand just to get rid of him. I didn't expect him to wash his hands of the company as a way to start fresh. Trying to keep that endeavor alive, to keep Ethan's legacy alive, was actually keeping him from moving on. And I kinda ended up loving that he staked a claim for the patents he and Ethan filed in order to start a new company. Taking some of the good work they'd accomplished and then building a new computer, a new company with Jamie. I think it was a brilliant move by the author, because otherwise it would always seem like Jamie was the Epsilon to Ethan's Zephyr - something lesser, a stand-in instead of a separate and new thing equally worthy of love. Jamie deserved that. The one thing I wish we'd gotten more of was Jamie's struggle with starting a new company again, how he dealt with the doubt and insecurity after failing on his own so long ago and letting his father down. But after thinking on it, that extra bit would have slowed down the pacing. (hide spoiler)]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    I LOVE Alison's books and find she writes really well but with this one I did struggle to connect to begin with. Darren is a CEO of a successful technology firm Arion that he started with his (secret) lover and business partner Ethan. Ethan had troubles and this led to an untimely death that Darren just can't get over. He is cold and distant, simply walking through life, just getting by. Jamie is an up and coming younger man who idolises Darren and the work he and his company have has done. Jamie I LOVE Alison's books and find she writes really well but with this one I did struggle to connect to begin with. Darren is a CEO of a successful technology firm Arion that he started with his (secret) lover and business partner Ethan. Ethan had troubles and this led to an untimely death that Darren just can't get over. He is cold and distant, simply walking through life, just getting by. Jamie is an up and coming younger man who idolises Darren and the work he and his company have has done. Jamie jumps at the chances offered to him to join Arion, and bring new life into a wavering business which Darren has let go after Ethan's death. However, when he meets Darren he is confused, not only by their instant attraction but also by the coldness Darren exudes. Now, as I said, this one takes a bit to get onto. The characters are well written but there's a lot of cold techno stuff that detracts from the story itself and sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to see how and why this is developing the way it does. That being said, personally I think Alison has tried to get the reader to be as stand-offish and cold as Darren is and feel it from his point of view rather than the bright eyed view of Jamie. The sex is hot and rough and very well written but again, I think this 'roughness' comes from the coldness Darren is feeling and is difficulties in letting go of Ethan and his memory. As they realise, Darren particularly, that there's more than just sexual attraction with each other I find the book itself softens slightly and we begin to see and enjoy more of the actual story. By the end I simply wanted it to not be as rushed as it was...I wanted more time to explore! I will admit this isn't my favourite Alison Hendricks novel but still certainly worth a read and adding to your TBR pile! I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reading Copy of this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Caipi

    A nice romance, but all the business talk was just too much for me and also quite unrealistic at times. 3,5 stars

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    The first part of the book was too focused on the company, its products, lack of revenue, the board members, etc. It was so boring and repetitive that I almost DNF. I would have liked to read more about the relationship between Darren and Jamie.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John-Torleif Harris

    I know that this is fiction, but this book brings to mind all of the ridiculous things that corporate boards do in companies with the excuse of protecting the shareholders that inevitably does the exact opposite because they decide to scrap the values that made the company what it was before they got there. In this book, the tech company Arion is known for quality, high-end computing devices that are durable and will stand the test of time. The company was founded by Darren & Ethan, but after Eth I know that this is fiction, but this book brings to mind all of the ridiculous things that corporate boards do in companies with the excuse of protecting the shareholders that inevitably does the exact opposite because they decide to scrap the values that made the company what it was before they got there. In this book, the tech company Arion is known for quality, high-end computing devices that are durable and will stand the test of time. The company was founded by Darren & Ethan, but after Ethan died, the majority shares of the company went to shareholders while Darren was kept as the titular CEO, but essentially stripped of responsibiliy. The board has authorized the development of a low-end tablet/laptop combo that under-performs against the middle of the road peers in both categories, and yet, despite all indicators, the board deliberately pushes forward with the release - probably to deliberately marginalize Darren even more. Jaime is a brand consultant who is brought in to help sell a device that contradicts everything that Arion stood for. Naturally, Darren is immediately antagonistic to Jaime. But as they work together, Darren learns to respect Jaime and Jaime becomes the only person to see Darren for who he is, and not just for what he can provide. I have to say that there is one thing that I absolutely disliked about this book, and is the reason that I didn't give it 5 stars. That thing is Jaime's best friend and roommate, Cass. Every time she talked, I felt my levels of frustration rising. She continually made assumptions about both Darren & Jaime and we never saw any instance where she actually listened to Jaime or seemed to respect him. I think that I was supposed to be glad that he had a friend that was so concerned for him, but (at best) I was ambivalent to her, and generally I felt very hostile. Both Jaime and Darren had to learn to bend without breaking in this book. Each had suffered disillusionment recently that had shattered his sense of self-worth, which made having a healthy relationship with one another a bit challenging. In the end, Darren and Jaime do realize that they are stronger together than they are apart. And (hopefully) Darren's control of key patents signals the demise of a company that rejected it's own identity. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Klaudia

    "Business As Usual" is a MM romance by Alison Hendricks. Darren Wilkes is a CEO of Arion. Few years ago he lost his partner and he's been going through the motions ever since. That is until he meets Jamie, who's assigned to help Arion with marketing. Jamie had a crush on Darren for a long time, it doesn't subside when he learns that Wilkes isn't the nicest person. But after working together he's starting to see a real man under this arrogant facade. I enjoyed this story. It was quite engaging, so "Business As Usual" is a MM romance by Alison Hendricks. Darren Wilkes is a CEO of Arion. Few years ago he lost his partner and he's been going through the motions ever since. That is until he meets Jamie, who's assigned to help Arion with marketing. Jamie had a crush on Darren for a long time, it doesn't subside when he learns that Wilkes isn't the nicest person. But after working together he's starting to see a real man under this arrogant facade. I enjoyed this story. It was quite engaging, so I had difficulties with putting it down! (reading at work? guilty as charged) The plot was well paced and believable, even though ending felt a little bit too rushed for me. As for Jamie and Darren, they were both likable. Yes, even Darren with his withdrawn demeanour. The chemistry between them was palpable. My heart broke few times for both of them, but they also made me smile. I'd definitely recommend this one!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Earlyn

    4.5 lovely stars. Darren is a lost man. He has lost not just his business partner but his lover, and now his Board is trying to make him loose the business he and Ethan created. They bring an upstart in the form of supper sexy Jamie Barnes. As much as Jamie has always admired Darren and the work he has done, be cannot believe how cold and impersonal he is in person. that is until the gets to know the real Darren. Jamie sees the man behind the disguise and he wants to know him a lot better. Forces 4.5 lovely stars. Darren is a lost man. He has lost not just his business partner but his lover, and now his Board is trying to make him loose the business he and Ethan created. They bring an upstart in the form of supper sexy Jamie Barnes. As much as Jamie has always admired Darren and the work he has done, be cannot believe how cold and impersonal he is in person. that is until the gets to know the real Darren. Jamie sees the man behind the disguise and he wants to know him a lot better. Forces at work has made it easier for them to work together and an undeniable union happens. However Jamie thinks that Darren cannot let go of the love he has for Ethan. I loved how they finally found themselves and make the way for their HEA I must mention I got this as an ARC for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    T.A. McKay

    I have a checklist when I read a book....and this one pretty much ticked them all! The writing was fantastic but to be honest thats what I come to expect from this author. The story was a break away from the last series and I don't think thats a bad thing. I will admit it took me a minute to get into the story but I think that was me. I read the other series not that long ago and I just had the stuck in my head. But I kept going and Im so glad I did. The characters, the relationship between them I have a checklist when I read a book....and this one pretty much ticked them all! The writing was fantastic but to be honest thats what I come to expect from this author. The story was a break away from the last series and I don't think thats a bad thing. I will admit it took me a minute to get into the story but I think that was me. I read the other series not that long ago and I just had the stuck in my head. But I kept going and Im so glad I did. The characters, the relationship between them, it all just worked for me!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    4.5* this book was gifted by the author for an honest review. First I apologize to Ms. Hendricks for taking so long to review her book after she generously shared it with me. For some reason I could not initially continue reading this book. I first stopped at 7%, then 13% before picking it back up today. Once I began reading today I couldn't stop. The story hooked me and I really enjoyed it. I guess the initial introduction of the MCs didn't appeal to me. I see now the author had to establish th 4.5* this book was gifted by the author for an honest review. First I apologize to Ms. Hendricks for taking so long to review her book after she generously shared it with me. For some reason I could not initially continue reading this book. I first stopped at 7%, then 13% before picking it back up today. Once I began reading today I couldn't stop. The story hooked me and I really enjoyed it. I guess the initial introduction of the MCs didn't appeal to me. I see now the author had to establish the baseline of who these two were and how they would act with each other. This book had more steam than her previous books, and the sexy scenes were well done. Other than a too quick scene near the end that felt too rushed between the MCs, this story was a great mixture of the business world and romance. I like the new direction Ms. Hendricks is heading and look forward to reading more of her stories in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book is good and I liked it but the main reason it can't be a five star book for me is that it's missing crucial scenes that had they been there would have made the book hella great. As the reader we miss the connection, the cuddles, the waking up together, all the moments that seemingly made this relationship go from fuck buddy to falling in love is not on the page. We are told about them after the fact (after their great misunderstanding) and that doesn't have the same effect for me. It's This book is good and I liked it but the main reason it can't be a five star book for me is that it's missing crucial scenes that had they been there would have made the book hella great. As the reader we miss the connection, the cuddles, the waking up together, all the moments that seemingly made this relationship go from fuck buddy to falling in love is not on the page. We are told about them after the fact (after their great misunderstanding) and that doesn't have the same effect for me. It's a good concept, the storyline was good for me, but I did not feel a connection between these men because a lot of the tender moments that happened the reader doesn't get to experience with them. It was a little better than OK but not much.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Skye

    I think if you’re looking for a romance with a good amount of hidden, hot sex – this is for you! It took me forever to get through this because I just didn’t connect well with the characters’ involvement with one another. I think that the writing was good, but this just didn’t spark any fires for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    LIGHTSONG13

    Absolutely detested this >:-/!!!!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    DNF @ 3%. Alternating 1st person, present POV isn't really my jam. Pair that with Darren's apathetic voice, half a chapter worth of a pity party and half a chapter of boardroom talk, and I'm done. DNF @ 3%. Alternating 1st person, present POV isn't really my jam. Pair that with Darren's apathetic voice, half a chapter worth of a pity party and half a chapter of boardroom talk, and I'm done.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tanja

    Darren is broken by the death of his partner. Not only did he lose the love of his life, he also lost control of the company they founded together. He goes through the day-to-day motions, apathic and full of grief. His company hires Jamie as brand consultant for their new product launch. Jamie jumps at the chance to work for the company (and the man) he admired for so long. But it isn’t what he expected. The company is not the vibrant and challenging business he was hoping for, the new product is Darren is broken by the death of his partner. Not only did he lose the love of his life, he also lost control of the company they founded together. He goes through the day-to-day motions, apathic and full of grief. His company hires Jamie as brand consultant for their new product launch. Jamie jumps at the chance to work for the company (and the man) he admired for so long. But it isn’t what he expected. The company is not the vibrant and challenging business he was hoping for, the new product is inferior and his idol is a rude and bitter man. As Darren will be the face of the launch campaign the two men will have to work closely together. There is no doubt about the sexual attraction. When the two man meet sparks fly and the sex scenes are hot. There is so much more, though. They see each other as no one else does, beneath the masks they put up for the outside world. They connect on every level. The characters are extremely likeable and well developed. You can’t help but like Jamie. He is hard working, genuine and full of integrity. He hides his fears beneath a layer of joy and optimism. You even fall for Darren despite his cold and harsh demeanor. You feel his pain over the loss of his lover. He is struggling so hard to make peace with the past and to let Jamie in. The process of self-reflection and self-analysis is heartwrenching. This book is exceptionally well written. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, that will grab you from the start. You won’t be able to put the book down. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    avid reader 1

    This is the first I have read by this author. From the first page, I was sucked in and did not want to put it down until it was finished. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the business aspect of this storyline. I found myself tense as I waited for the next ideas or roadblocks that were thrown at the main characters and was cheering or groaning right along with them. The secondary characters at the business were altogether unsavory which made Darren and Jamie’s later success even mo This is the first I have read by this author. From the first page, I was sucked in and did not want to put it down until it was finished. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the business aspect of this storyline. I found myself tense as I waited for the next ideas or roadblocks that were thrown at the main characters and was cheering or groaning right along with them. The secondary characters at the business were altogether unsavory which made Darren and Jamie’s later success even more of a celebratory occasion for me. There was not too much technical jargon, which made for a smooth and interesting trip through their business world. Darren’s grief and inability to let go of a past love was heart wrenching. The author used a soft touch as she led him from his past into his present, allowing him to grow into his love for Jamie gradually. I felt his relief, joy and fear as the worst of his grief was dispelled as he allowed himself to move on to someone else, someone even better suited for him. Jamie is just an all around good guy. I liked every aspect of his character, even the fact that he wore his heart on his sleeve. I felt the confusion and joy he was dealing with as he recognized the depth of his feelings for Darren, as if I was there. His pain at their breakup could have been debilitating but the author bestowed an optimistic outlook upon him that assured us that whatever happened, he would be ok. And by the way, the sex was smoking hot. I am voluntarily reviewing the free advance reader copy I received from the author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Dicenzo

    I loved this book!! Might be one of my favorite books by this author! I was drawn into it from page one. You just couldn't help but feel for Darren, to have lost his best friend and lover, although very few knew that part. He is slowly being pushed out of his own company. Jamie is a new hire by the board to help them market a new device. Darren and his company have been Jamie's dream for as long as he has known of them. When these two meet, sparks fly, but not the kind you hope to have, at least I loved this book!! Might be one of my favorite books by this author! I was drawn into it from page one. You just couldn't help but feel for Darren, to have lost his best friend and lover, although very few knew that part. He is slowly being pushed out of his own company. Jamie is a new hire by the board to help them market a new device. Darren and his company have been Jamie's dream for as long as he has known of them. When these two meet, sparks fly, but not the kind you hope to have, at least at first. But when Jamie just keeps pushing him, Darren finally starts to let him in. I reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denise GremoryKohta

    This was the most compelling story of Alison Hendricks yet. James and Darren are strong well thought out characters. On the surface it appears to be equally told through both. As you read though, Darren is really the driving for. With little bits revealed along the way. We learn these things ahead of Jamie so we feel his confusion. Not only is Darren older. He has experienced such pain from his past plus what he sees as his own failings. Jamie's past isn't detailed as plainly and that works grea This was the most compelling story of Alison Hendricks yet. James and Darren are strong well thought out characters. On the surface it appears to be equally told through both. As you read though, Darren is really the driving for. With little bits revealed along the way. We learn these things ahead of Jamie so we feel his confusion. Not only is Darren older. He has experienced such pain from his past plus what he sees as his own failings. Jamie's past isn't detailed as plainly and that works great here. His pain may be deep to him. It's not final. He is the more open of the pair. Leading Darren a brighter path to follow if he can beat his demons. This is by far my favorite book by this author. A read a didn't realize I'd savor so much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    **I received a copy from the author in exchange of a honest review** I honestly liked the change of eastshore players, this was a lovely story about finding love even when you think you can, eventhough everything that has happen in your life has make you not believe in love. I loved their relationship and how Jamie was able to break every wall Darren put to get to his heart! I hope tha authors keeps making this type of books, apart from the eastshore tigers!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda Susan Buerkett

    A great book Allison is new to me. But will be no more . I can't wait to read more of her books. Everything about this book, characters, plotting, love scenes etc were great. I could hardly put it down. . Loved it. A great book Allison is new to me. But will be no more . I can't wait to read more of her books. Everything about this book, characters, plotting, love scenes etc were great. I could hardly put it down. . Loved it.

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