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A brash assistant. Justin White has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed in the corporate world despite his colorful hair and eyeliner. Too bad his new employer’s prickly domineering CFO thinks otherwise. A cold executive. Haunted by an accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli Ovadia needs things neat and controlled. Justin is messy, whip smar A brash assistant. Justin White has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed in the corporate world despite his colorful hair and eyeliner. Too bad his new employer’s prickly domineering CFO thinks otherwise. A cold executive. Haunted by an accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli Ovadia needs things neat and controlled. Justin is messy, whip smart, and pushes all of Eli’s buttons. But taming that brash man is out of the question. A fiery affair that may burn them both. One hot encounter at the office unlocks their smoldering desire, and sends them spinning into a relationship neither expected, but is that enough to overcome the scars of their past? This ~80,000-word novel was previously published, and has been lightly edited.


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A brash assistant. Justin White has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed in the corporate world despite his colorful hair and eyeliner. Too bad his new employer’s prickly domineering CFO thinks otherwise. A cold executive. Haunted by an accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli Ovadia needs things neat and controlled. Justin is messy, whip smar A brash assistant. Justin White has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed in the corporate world despite his colorful hair and eyeliner. Too bad his new employer’s prickly domineering CFO thinks otherwise. A cold executive. Haunted by an accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli Ovadia needs things neat and controlled. Justin is messy, whip smart, and pushes all of Eli’s buttons. But taming that brash man is out of the question. A fiery affair that may burn them both. One hot encounter at the office unlocks their smoldering desire, and sends them spinning into a relationship neither expected, but is that enough to overcome the scars of their past? This ~80,000-word novel was previously published, and has been lightly edited.

30 review for Just Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    This was my first Anna Zabo book, and I read it as a standalone. I was hesitant, I admit. But, what the hell, right? Well, joke's on me. Because this book? Is a total WIN. I loved everything about it: the dual third-person POV, the vulnerability of the MCs, the intensity of the play scenes, the tenderness, Eli's demanding cat, the enemies-to-lovers trope, the SEX, dear god, the SEX ... hell, even the angst. This book is raw and it's real, and it's so very, very good. Eli walks with a limp and ca This was my first Anna Zabo book, and I read it as a standalone. I was hesitant, I admit. But, what the hell, right? Well, joke's on me. Because this book? Is a total WIN. I loved everything about it: the dual third-person POV, the vulnerability of the MCs, the intensity of the play scenes, the tenderness, Eli's demanding cat, the enemies-to-lovers trope, the SEX, dear god, the SEX ... hell, even the angst. This book is raw and it's real, and it's so very, very good. Eli walks with a limp and carries his cane like armor. He's been accused of being cold and distant. But Eli heaves the weight of the world on his shoulders. A car accident killed the first boy he loved and left Eli ... crippled, but not in the way he thinks. And Justin, he of the spikey hair, dark eye liner, and chipped black nail polish ... Justin is fiercely independent and swears he'll never be owned again. The dance between Justin and Eli is ever so sensual. They both have so much to offer, but they slink around the edges, fearful, trepidatious. Because what if it doesn't work? And what if it DOES? Justin's cruelty toward Eli took my breath away. Justin lashes out. His anger isn't aimed at Eli, not really, but it was painful to watch nonetheless. I loved both of these men. They are damaged but smart, scared but WILLING and strong, so strong. The connection and chemistry between them are palpable. Just Business features some of the best BDSM scenes I've ever read: rough and harsh, laced with pain, but also LOVE and so much devotion. "Is this what you wanted?" Justin's mouth opened in wordless pleasure, his fingers indenting the leather padding of the sawhorse. So beautiful. This moment was theirs. He'd not do this to another. That first scene at the party where Eli whips Justin in front of everyone and then carries him, limping, nearly falling, but still HOLDING him, protecting him? It made me gasp. I liked Sam and Michael too, even though I didn't read their story (but I will and soon!). And the ending? Had me crying like a fool. Because. Hard-earned PERFECTION wrapped in a bow and sprinkled with fairy dust. GAH. Also, Eli is Jewish. And that is just the cherry on top of this sexy, delicious sundae. This——this was the opposite of what heartache felt like. So much joy, Eli thought he might crack apart from the lightness and fullness of it, or burst into flames, or ... live.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    Re-read July 2016 - love this book! Hurt/healing/comfort mixed in with some seriously hot BDSM and we're got a winner in Just Business! Eli Ovadia is a sexy, Dominant man working as the CFO at Sam's (from the first novel Takeover) new company. He walks with a cane because of a car accident injury from his teens where 3 of his friends died. He has never gotten over their deaths and blames himself for the accident. Justin White is a collage student on the fast track to corporate success. Sam and Eli Re-read July 2016 - love this book! Hurt/healing/comfort mixed in with some seriously hot BDSM and we're got a winner in Just Business! Eli Ovadia is a sexy, Dominant man working as the CFO at Sam's (from the first novel Takeover) new company. He walks with a cane because of a car accident injury from his teens where 3 of his friends died. He has never gotten over their deaths and blames himself for the accident. Justin White is a collage student on the fast track to corporate success. Sam and Eli hire him as an assistant in their office and the sexual tension between Eli and Justin ramps up to explosive levels. Justin had been is a D/s relationship back when he lived in California and it had turned out badly. His Dom slowly turned their relationship from D/s to D/slave and made sure to alienate all of Justin's friends and family. Francis, his former Dom, was also very wealthy and Justin vows to never let himself be caught up in a relationship like that again. To help alleviate his attraction to Eli, Justin visits a local BDSM club for some anonymous sex. Of course Eli is there and the two of them participate is a public scene. Justin is hooked, even though he has vowed to keep himself away from Eli. The story progresses with quick, delicious scenes between the two men and both begin to have feelings for one another, but Eli is leery because of his disability and the guilt over the death of his friends and Justin is still trying to avoid becoming Eli's plaything. There power exchange eventually comes to a head and the angst is overwhelming. There is some great healing/comfort that follows and the epilogue is glorious. I can highly recommend this book to BDSM fans and lovers of hurt/healing/comfort. This book had both in spades and I actually liked it better than the prequel! This review is also posted at Gay Book Reviews

  3. 4 out of 5

    Optimist ♰King's Wench♰

    1.5 Hearts (rounded up) Just Business started off great! The kinky sexual innuendos slung between Justin and Eli were fun, sexy and had me chomping at the bit. I just knew this was going to be the book that took Zabo to the next level. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. There were a couple of hiccups in the beginning, but I was enjoying myself so I raised an eyebrow or two but largely ignored them. They wend up at the same kink party and two things happened: (1) I got bored; (2) we took a hard 1.5 Hearts (rounded up) Just Business started off great! The kinky sexual innuendos slung between Justin and Eli were fun, sexy and had me chomping at the bit. I just knew this was going to be the book that took Zabo to the next level. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. There were a couple of hiccups in the beginning, but I was enjoying myself so I raised an eyebrow or two but largely ignored them. They wend up at the same kink party and two things happened: (1) I got bored; (2) we took a hard left in BDSM sponsored by Disney. Eli is the finest, most sought after and, coincidentally, most elusive dom in all the land, I mean Pittsburgh. For reasons. I'm not exactly sure what those reasons are, but I'm assuming we're supposed to just go with it. Fine, fine. What the hell, right? Though I'm fairly certain that the finest dom in all the land wouldn't fuck a sub's face in public without first having had the limits talk, but maybe I'm being too persnickety. Then I got to 42% and read this: I love their pain, love making them feel it. How they move, how they sound. I-how can I not be a monster? People aren't like this! NOnononononononononononoNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! There's a whole party's worth of people that are monsters then! Way to be judge-y, Eli. If Eli's the finest dom in all the land that implies he's been around, knows the ropes, one might even presuppose that he's made peace with his deviance. I guess one should never presuppose. So, my interest took a nosedive. Reading manufactured conflict a.k.a. a BDSexistentialM crisis is not my cuppa. I decided to take a break hoping when I came back it was all a mirage. Was not to be. I came back to Justin inexplicably comparing Eli to his former abusive dom on top of Eli's woes! I still can't make heads or tails out of this comparison. It's nonsensical. It came out of left field. I was left with no choice but to deduce that it, too, is as bogus as Eli's BDSexistenialM crisis. I realize traumatic events can crop up at unexpected times and wreak havoc and both of them have had a rough go of it and I do empathize with that; however, that doesn't excuse the lie of omission nor does it give one free reign to overgeneralize and pigeonhole another. ANY relationship should be based on trust, especially one wherein you're surrendering your body to the desires of another and that other could very well be wielding a whip. Justin should've trusted Eli enough to tell at least a portion of the truth, enough to let Eli know where landmines might be. This combined Eli angst/Justin ridiculousity nonsense builds over the next twenty percent, inflaming my ire to dangerous levels. All the time building toward a crescendo of epic Theater of the Ridiculous proportions. It's so absurd that I started to think I was reading AU instead of contemporary. Justin willfully (IMO) loses touch with reality and starts making all sorts of bizarre comparisons that have no basis in reality. They make medications for this. They're called anti-psychotics. Or therapy. Let's try some therapy, shall we? Naturally and incomprehensibly, they still want each other, despite the cray cray and make their torturous way to an HEA. My only hope is they will move to an isolated island with all the other whackadoodles so they don't infect the rest of the population. Who knows if this is airborne. Needless to say, I didn't connect with either of these MCs. The BDSM dynamics didn't work for me, though they were occasionally titilating. The kinky sexual innuendos at the beginning were the bright spot and deserving of a half star. I'm not so callus as to say that I wasn't affected by the resolution, but it still felt like a Disney movie with an oversimplified resolution to complex relational issues. The Judaism aspects were interesting. I always enjoy learning new information regardless of topic, but Judaism is not what brought me to this party nor was it enough to save it. A frustrating and disappointing read for me, but judging by early reviews I'm in the minority so... grain of salt. An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

    10/20/17 - Listening to the audio book because I've missed Eli and Justin and figured it was time to revisit ♥ ♥ ----------------------------------------- ***4.5 Stars*** I don't even know how to write a review that would give this book justice. All I can say is... Eli, a sadistic Dom, is dealing with survivor's guilt and a host of other issues resulting from a car accident when he was a teenager. Justin, a masochistic submissive, is trying to overcome the ghosts of a past relationship with an abu 10/20/17 - Listening to the audio book because I've missed Eli and Justin and figured it was time to revisit ♥ ♥ ----------------------------------------- ***4.5 Stars*** I don't even know how to write a review that would give this book justice. All I can say is... Eli, a sadistic Dom, is dealing with survivor's guilt and a host of other issues resulting from a car accident when he was a teenager. Justin, a masochistic submissive, is trying to overcome the ghosts of a past relationship with an abusive Dom. As much as they try, their pull and all consuming need for each other can't be denied. "Eli?" Eli stroked his throat, and worked his way down to Justin's chest. "Yes?" "Take everything I have tonight." A whisper of words. Eli's smile was as bright as it was deadly. "Challenge accepted." Little by little their relationship evolves into more and it's clear that they're the perfect match to the other. But sometimes what the heart wants isn't enough. What happens when old triggers take hold of your heart and rip it to shreds? This book....THIS BOOK!! It gave me the ugly cry. UUUUUGLY! I was not expecting this much intensity...this much emotion. This book was just MORE. MORE of everything I expected...the BDSM, the pain, the connection, the heartbreak, the vulnerability, the love...all of it had a tight grip on my heart. I had a hard time prying myself away from reading. And when I wasn't reading, I couldn't take my mind off of Eli and Justin. They had so much to overcome, so much to move past...but so much love to give. Is this book for everyone? No. While the first book had BDSM elements in it, this one was more graphic with the scenes. Was it necessary? Absolutely. The S&M is an inherent part of who Eli and Justin are rather than an extension of their sex lives. The intensity of those scenes added a deeper layer to an already emotional story. This was a story about so many things...self-acceptance, trust, forgiveness, pride, partnership, devotion, passion and love. This - this was what the opposite of heartache felt like. So much joy Eli thought he might crack apart from the lightness and fullness of it, or burst into flames, or...live. Even though this is the second book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    DW

    Oh Eli... You beautiful Dom you!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️

    3.75 Stars Just Business was an easy, not-too-angsty MM read that hit the spot. Both MCs have a fair amount of psychological baggage from past tragedies. Both men stumbling about life with certain fetishes but no ability to commit to one person. But one night the two stumbled upon each other and all the stars lined up... Eli is a CFO in a small firm. When the barista of the downstairs coffee shop applies for a job as a personal assistant to Sam, the owner of the company, Eli is ruthless in his 3.75 Stars Just Business was an easy, not-too-angsty MM read that hit the spot. Both MCs have a fair amount of psychological baggage from past tragedies. Both men stumbling about life with certain fetishes but no ability to commit to one person. But one night the two stumbled upon each other and all the stars lined up... Eli is a CFO in a small firm. When the barista of the downstairs coffee shop applies for a job as a personal assistant to Sam, the owner of the company, Eli is ruthless in his interview. Anyone that can make it through the interview process with him and still want the job is hired. Justin is different than what you'd call corporate America. He's got longish messy hair, black chipped fingernails, eyeliner, and goth clothing. Clearly he will clean up for the interview, right? I loved the love/hate, push/pull between Eli and Justin. Two total opposites colliding in every way. Eli suffers with a bad old leg injury and walks with a cane. Something about his personality, coupled with the use of a cane, made him appear much older than his 33 years. Then you've got the casual gothic Justin who appears to be a giant kid. Just one more difference between them. But there's one thing they both have in common...they crave...The Scene. Eli likes to dominate. Justin likes to submit. Yin and Yang Third person POV is my least favorite but I deal with it if it's done right. The biggest reason for the deduction of a star was because the focus of each character flip-flopped without much delineation. Also, there were time jumps from one paragraph to the next- sometimes days ahead. I like to have a clear idea who we are referring to and what place in time we are at. Multiple times in this book, I had to backtrack thinking I'd skipped a page or needed to focus more to figure out, "Oh, we're talking about Eli now." It made it choppy and confusing. But Just Business, all in all, was an enjoyable read. It does have some mild BDSM elements (caning, flogging, bondage) but the love story overshadows the MM erotica. I look forward to more from this author in the future. Now I'm off to read Sam and Michael's book. Backwards, yes. Advanced copy received by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time

    4.5 Stars! Favorite of the series so far. I was a little worried because I knew the BDSM elements in this one were going to more prevalent then in book 1. And while most would still probably call this one BDSM-light, for me it was venturing in to the medium zone. A bit out of my comfort level but it was well worth it. Justin and Eli had a bit of an enemies to friends to more thing going on. They also worked together. I liked the work environment. I liked seeing Sam and Michael from book 1. But it 4.5 Stars! Favorite of the series so far. I was a little worried because I knew the BDSM elements in this one were going to more prevalent then in book 1. And while most would still probably call this one BDSM-light, for me it was venturing in to the medium zone. A bit out of my comfort level but it was well worth it. Justin and Eli had a bit of an enemies to friends to more thing going on. They also worked together. I liked the work environment. I liked seeing Sam and Michael from book 1. But it was the emotional connection between Justin and Eli that really made this one stand out. Some of their "scenes" together were really intense. But I liked that they didn't play their roles all day, every day. Sometimes things were soft, gentle....other times they were hard, rough. It was a great mix. The conflict however did make me rage a bit. Let's be mature and have an actual conversation, mkay. And it went on too long for my personal liking. That's the only reason I'm not giving this one a full 5 stars. Because I really, really liked it otherwise.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shile

    2.75 It's me not the book......stars The story was engaging at the beginning, I got to like the characters, the banter, the innuendos between the characters was entertaining, the enemies to lovers trope and I was off to a good start. Then the story took a nose dive…. The sex was hot at first , then it became too much and I got bored. The miscommunication. Justin’s reaction to Eli came out of nowhere, given the fact that up to this point we are told something happened to him in the past, and like El 2.75 It's me not the book......stars The story was engaging at the beginning, I got to like the characters, the banter, the innuendos between the characters was entertaining, the enemies to lovers trope and I was off to a good start. Then the story took a nose dive…. The sex was hot at first , then it became too much and I got bored. The miscommunication. Justin’s reaction to Eli came out of nowhere, given the fact that up to this point we are told something happened to him in the past, and like Eli we do know what happened. Like why not just talk! people talk.! If Justin didn’t trust Eli enough to tell him what had gone wrong . . . that didn’t just kill the D/s relationship, it tore apart every other connection they had. I know we are told that Eli was distant and cold but unless I read him wrong he was the opposite, he was kind and caring, and older than his age. Justin’s character frustrated the hell out of me he was supposed to be this fun, independent generally a cool guy but to me he came off as selfish and bratty and in need of very many therapy sessions. IMO Justin should have groveled. At around 72% The story got back on track we are told what happened in the past to Eli and Justin and it was traumatic but I felt nothing because I had already lost interest. I was in the mood for some Bdsm-kink unfortunately this did not deliver. This frustrated me… “I need to . . .” “His name was Francis. He ..... . “It’s just… What? please finish the sentence. On the plus side I loved Lavi the Cat.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This can be read as a stand alone. This was when me I started. Oh goody, a BDSM romance between co-workers. I am gonna get me some spanking! But no... this book did not deliver. It started out really good, but somewhere along the way I started to dislike Eli. We have Justin, a snarky man, wearing eyeliner and black nailpolish, yet takes his school very seriously and is thrilled when he gets to work for Anderson Consulting. Even though he has trouble managing his attraction to the CFO of the company, This can be read as a stand alone. This was when me I started. Oh goody, a BDSM romance between co-workers. I am gonna get me some spanking! But no... this book did not deliver. It started out really good, but somewhere along the way I started to dislike Eli. We have Justin, a snarky man, wearing eyeliner and black nailpolish, yet takes his school very seriously and is thrilled when he gets to work for Anderson Consulting. Even though he has trouble managing his attraction to the CFO of the company, Eli. Eli and Justin have to work together, but it is clear they rather tear each other’s clothes off. Because both are unaware the other is a Dom/sub, they go to a BDSM party. Without the other knowing of course. And what do you know, they see each other there and a hot public scene ensues. This is not a relationship without angst. Justin has been severely traumatized by a former Dom and Eli has his own demons to battle. And even though the two made a good pair, I just couldn’t get used to Eli and his manners. Doms are people, it is as simple as that. But sometimes authors tend to write Doms that remind me of middle aged school teachers. Just… too correct. With the suites and the stiff and cool behavior. I don’t want that. I don’t care if it is Dom-ish, I don’t like it. No, not really. I kept picturing Eli as somewhere in his fifties and Justin early 20. But they were only 2 years apart. I just didn’t feel it. I have to admit, I was intrigued enough to want to read on and at least I wasn’t bored.

  10. 4 out of 5

    BWT

    This should have been an easy 5 star audio book for me. Hurt/Healing/Comfort with hot sex, two likable MCs and narrated by Iggy Toma? No brainer! Of course I should love it. And I did - for the most part - really enjoy the first 65%, with only two notable exceptions. 1. I'm not a fan of an author dangling a past hurt carrot. I can deal with that for a chapter or two, but I become annoyed when there's an obvious serious hurt in a character's past that is affecting their present, but I'm not told w This should have been an easy 5 star audio book for me. Hurt/Healing/Comfort with hot sex, two likable MCs and narrated by Iggy Toma? No brainer! Of course I should love it. And I did - for the most part - really enjoy the first 65%, with only two notable exceptions. 1. I'm not a fan of an author dangling a past hurt carrot. I can deal with that for a chapter or two, but I become annoyed when there's an obvious serious hurt in a character's past that is affecting their present, but I'm not told what it is but left little breadcrumbs to follow until I finally get to the "big reveal"...which I'll be honest I have usually stopped caring long before the reveal is...revealed. 2. Miscommunication. I have said it before and I'll say it again - when a simple conversation could clear up mountains of manufactured angst...it drives me nuts. Absolutely CRAZY. BUT! Then it took a turn into whatville and stayed for a while. So, no. That part didn't work for me. Not kidding, I was so angry I wanted to hurt something. Seriously, one single moment of being open, honest, and having a conversation...but no. I was hoping the HEA could shake off my grim and rage-filled mood after that...seriously wondering if there was anything the story could do at that point to get back on track or if it had lost me forever. The end is then filled with as much fluffiness and sweetness as can possibly be crammed into a short period of time, with everything wrapping up perfectly. For me, it was too little too late. I was still so mad over the rest, I couldn't even enjoy the sappy sweet ending. I'm sure there are others who will not have the same issues I had with it. Those who love the angst that comes from miscommunication. I'm just not one of them. Ultimately though, this is an audio review - and the audio was lovely. I loved Iggy Toma's narration and enjoyed his performance thoroughly. For those who love hurt/comfort/healing with lots of hot sex and likable MCs, and miscommunication doesn't send you into a rage - you should give this a chance. Audio copy of Just Business provided by Publisher in exchange of an honest review. This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendys Wycked Words

    This was an oke read, but I really didn't care much for Justin. He kinda pissed me off. I did like Eli, eventough he was described as the cold one. I really felt sorry for him... 3,5 stars from me. The sex was oke, but bdsm doesn't get me all hot and bothered....but that's just personal preference and I knew this was a bdsm book when I started it. This was an oke read, but I really didn't care much for Justin. He kinda pissed me off. I did like Eli, eventough he was described as the cold one. I really felt sorry for him... 3,5 stars from me. The sex was oke, but bdsm doesn't get me all hot and bothered....but that's just personal preference and I knew this was a bdsm book when I started it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eugenia

    What a tasty BDSM treat! Yummy! Truly, believe me. What made it even more delicious was Iggy Tomas incomparable narration. This second book pick up several months after the first in the series and focuses on Eli, Sam’s CFO at his new consulting firm, and Justin, Sam’s new assistant. What starts out as a seeming enemies to lovers soon turns into something else. The first part of this book had UST rocking off the charts. The second half had A LOT OF SEX. A LOT. BDSM style. It also had a lot of issu What a tasty BDSM treat! Yummy! Truly, believe me. What made it even more delicious was Iggy Tomas incomparable narration. This second book pick up several months after the first in the series and focuses on Eli, Sam’s CFO at his new consulting firm, and Justin, Sam’s new assistant. What starts out as a seeming enemies to lovers soon turns into something else. The first part of this book had UST rocking off the charts. The second half had A LOT OF SEX. A LOT. BDSM style. It also had a lot of issues both for me as a reader and for the characters and their pasts. As a reader, many parts in the later half were repetitive. It got old hearing the same thoughts run through a character’s head—especially Justin. You know how talking out your worries and fears can help? Well none of that happened until the very ends—frustrating non-communication drives me bonkers. Eli also had his own issues to work out, which he tried to do....unlike Justin. Regardless, Iggy’s reading made this book for me, I’m not sure I would have been quite as forgiving had I simply read it. I liked the story and LOVED the scenes......SUPER HOT!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Arbitrary - AttentionIsArbitrary M/M Blog

    ~ ~ ~ I've read Anna Zabo before, and while I've enjoyed her writing I was not prepared for this leap in her skills. This was a deeper, fuller story than I expected. Steamy attraction, surrounded by tension, right out of the gate, had me wanting to see what these two would get up to once the leather came out. I couldn't have been more wrong in thinking this was just another spank and wank bdsm story. So wrong. THE CHARACTERS Justin White - If Justin was a submissive, he was likely a horribly ~ ~ ~ I've read Anna Zabo before, and while I've enjoyed her writing I was not prepared for this leap in her skills. This was a deeper, fuller story than I expected. Steamy attraction, surrounded by tension, right out of the gate, had me wanting to see what these two would get up to once the leather came out. I couldn't have been more wrong in thinking this was just another spank and wank bdsm story. So wrong. THE CHARACTERS Justin White - If Justin was a submissive, he was likely a horribly bratty one. Every one of Eli's nerves sang at that thought. Eli Ovadia - "Eli was a wall of indifference." THE STORY Eli's parents, his tragic youth and his cold demeanor butted up against Justin's job, school and family stress, plus the damage his ex-"lover" left him with, all adds up to a difficult tangle to work through. Zabo didn't set herself up for simple solutions and she didn't take the easy path. By the end of the book you will believe that these guys belong together. I read this book over a month ago and have started this review several times. It was always going to be a positive review, but the hangup comes with deciding what I can tell you about the story. I can summarize the characters well enough, but the story is so much more than I was prepared for that I've been pondering it all this time. My initial inclination was to review this as a sexy romance. But it's so much more. (I keep saying that, don't I?) I expected kink. I expected emotion. I expected passion. But I didn't expect the deeply explored and fleshed out reasons for their troubles.The trust issues that both these men have are debilitating and form the basis for the entire book. There is solid reason for these issues, and the author does an excellent job at revealing the depths of their scars. Eli with his debilitating guilt. Justin with his misplaced (but well earned) assumptions. Ms. Zabo gave me a richly developed relationship story when I was expecting a role in the hay. I should have known better. "I was teasing, Justin." Gone was the mask and what lay behind it was far more complicated. THE WRITING At times I was very angry with this book. Justin had misconceptions about Doms and I wanted to scream at the author, "No, don't categorize all of them." But I just had to read on to see what the whole story was. There were valid reasons for Justin's beliefs, and it proves that Zabo had control of this story all the way through. This is solid storytelling with sex that fits the relationship, not the other way around. Sex scenes that help the characters learn about each other even when they get it all wrong. And that's a rare thing to see in m/m romance. How often is sex the tonic that heals all wounds? Instead, here, it exposes raw pain that has to be healed with patience and understanding. Eli, at times, came off as too dramatic and even over-drawn, but as he begins to soften, the reasons behind his intensity become clear. His misery and pain reached me. Seeing Eli get a bit of hope was so sweet, but it all comes at a cost. And as for the provocative, titillating bdsm theme? All I'll say here is that there is a scene involving Eli's cane that is NOT to be missed. ~ ~ ~ I would like to thank Anna Zabo for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review. ~ ~ ~ Take a look at my Male/Male Romance Book Blog: http://www.attentionisarbitrary.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    JustJen "Miss Conduct"

    4.5 star review by The Blogger Girls. This book follows Takeover, and while Michael and Sam are involved, this can easily be read as a stand alone. I definitely recommend you read their story as well, however, to give you a good idea about how the players all ended up where they are. Eli is a bit of a cold fellow, though he has some very solid reasons that explain his behavior. A tragic accident when he was a teen left him permanently damaged physically, as well as a bit emotionally, and he has bu 4.5 star review by The Blogger Girls. This book follows Takeover, and while Michael and Sam are involved, this can easily be read as a stand alone. I definitely recommend you read their story as well, however, to give you a good idea about how the players all ended up where they are. Eli is a bit of a cold fellow, though he has some very solid reasons that explain his behavior. A tragic accident when he was a teen left him permanently damaged physically, as well as a bit emotionally, and he has built quite a strong wall around himself as protection. Justin is pretty much the opposite. After an abusive relationship left him and his career in shambles, he made a complete 180 and took his life back. He is currently working in a coffee shop, sporting a goth look and maintaining his vow to never be owned by someone else ever again. So, Eli and Justin are like oil and water. Justin works up the courage to apply for a job with Sam (and Eli) and passes the interview with flying colors. Eli does not make it easy for Justin, but it is clear that Justin easily gets under Eli’s skin. They both find it hard to resist, but they continually fight it – sometimes rather heartbreakingly. When they let it go, they are unbelievably hot together. As I said, neither can resist the pull for long, even when their fears and emotions get in the way. Of course, lack of communication plays a big part. I really enjoyed this story, as it had a little bit of everything – damaged characters, disabilities, enemies to lovers, smoking sex scenes, and a bit of angst. The HEA was a nice touch as well. I definitely recommend picking up this series. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here and hope to see all of these guys again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Edited Jan 24, 2019 to add content warnings (that I can think of) behind spoiler tag. To be released in June 2015. This is the followup to Takeover and features Justin and Eli. Sam and Michael are fairly important characters in this book as well. It will also have BDSM elements, FYI. CW: (view spoiler)[On page sex. On page BDSM. Pain and impact play. Workplace flirting. BDSM party. Voyeurism. Description of top-drop. Homophobia from parents. Disowning by parents. Past abuse of a main character by pr Edited Jan 24, 2019 to add content warnings (that I can think of) behind spoiler tag. To be released in June 2015. This is the followup to Takeover and features Justin and Eli. Sam and Michael are fairly important characters in this book as well. It will also have BDSM elements, FYI. CW: (view spoiler)[On page sex. On page BDSM. Pain and impact play. Workplace flirting. BDSM party. Voyeurism. Description of top-drop. Homophobia from parents. Disowning by parents. Past abuse of a main character by previous "Dom". Minor descriptions of therapy. PTSD due to trauma from car accident, including flashbacks. Death of childhood friends. Hospitalization. Near car accident in present time (car spins on snow, no one physically injured). Disassociation. Some reconciliation with parents. There's probably some binary gender language in there, too. There's a lot of angst in this one. And things I'd probably fix/change a little, 'cause I've learned a lot in 4 years. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather the Queen of (Smut)Books

    Wayyyyy better than the first. Thanks J for the rec. On to the next one!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Wow! Anna Zabo did it again! Loved Justin and Eli's story just as much as Michael and Sam's. Another book (and the 2nd one in a row) for my top favorite shelf!!! Wow! Anna Zabo did it again! Loved Justin and Eli's story just as much as Michael and Sam's. Another book (and the 2nd one in a row) for my top favorite shelf!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

    Slick and Leigh's reviews posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews LEIGH'S REVIEW - 5 Stars and Purest Delight Award I put down my kindle when I finished this book and wanted to cry because I did not want to leave my little world made up of Eli and Justin! I LOVED these two heroes, I salivated at the kinky hot sex, I adored this book, and I bow to Anna Zabo for writing a story that was so wonderful I didn’t want it to end. Just Business is one of those stories that felt utterly perfect to me. Maybe Slick and Leigh's reviews posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews LEIGH'S REVIEW - 5 Stars and Purest Delight Award I put down my kindle when I finished this book and wanted to cry because I did not want to leave my little world made up of Eli and Justin! I LOVED these two heroes, I salivated at the kinky hot sex, I adored this book, and I bow to Anna Zabo for writing a story that was so wonderful I didn’t want it to end. Just Business is one of those stories that felt utterly perfect to me. Maybe because none of the characters were without faults. No one was larger than life, no one was infallible. Everyone was flawed and human and perfectly wonderful in all of their imperfections. Justin was like a breath of fresh, coffee-shop scented air. As the MBA student that falls for his company’s dominant CFO, he was the perfect contradiction. He was quirky and smart and sensitive and reminded me of a puppy that I wanted to cuddle. With his guy-liner and bratty submissive tendencies, Justin appeared to be the complete opposite of the ultra-stern Eli. Shaped by past tragedy and an upbringing that caused him to appear severe and ruthless, Eli showed none of the playfulness that his lover exhibited. But Eli was a pleasant surprise to me. He had so much empathy and compassion in him, wanting so much to care for Justin that by the end of the book, I couldn’t imagine how I thought him to be a cold man. These two men turned the labels of Dominant and submissive on their head with their play and their behavior, as they allowed their need to give the other person what they craved dictate their roles. Eli was always the Dom, but when Justin began to feel a sense of insecurity, Eli was there to give him the power he needed in the relationship to feel stable. And when Eli’s past would haunt him, Justin was there to care for the Dom that would normally refrain from showing weakness. This was a sexy BDSM kink tale and romance wrapped into one. And if things couldn’t get any better, I got to see Sam, and his boyfriend Michael again! (If you haven’t read Takeover, go grab it now!) With so many characters that I wanted to take home and keep forever, and a M/M love story that made me sigh out loud, I don’t think I could have adored this book any more than I did. SLICK'S REVIEW - 5 Stars and Purest Delight Award Things I’ve come to really appreciate as someone with a voracious appetite for reading are books that feature fresh plots, characters that are flawed but likeable, men who can be alpha or dominate without being an a**shole and books where the characters grow, change and learn about themselves or from their past mistakes. Anna Zabo’s Just Business has all of those qualities and then some and it is an outstanding story and one of my favorites of 2015. Two men both with baggage and to be honest some PTSD symptoms navigate their way through life as they deal with their pasts all while falling in love. This book was deep, dark, and emotional but throughout it there were moments of clarity, of hope, of acceptance and of understanding and while their journey was difficult the outcome was spectacular. Graduate student Justin White wants nothing more than to work for S.R. Anderson consulting and to make a decent enough wage to help his sister and his family after everything they helped him through and he’s willing to do whatever it takes even work with the cold as ice man that works with the owner; the one that evokes all kinds of feelings in him. An accident at 16 that took the lives of his lover and two good friends left Eli Ovadia with more than a physical limp. While he has some close friends, Eli chooses to close himself off from most people including those he’s been intimate with over the last 18 years but there is something about Justin that rocks him to the core and that scares him more than his need to see him on his knees in front of him. There is something satisfying about two seemingly very different people being attracted to one another and that set the stage well for this story. While Justin can wear a suit well he’s way more comfortable in his jeans, t-shirts, mussed hair and eyeliner and Eli is a three piece buttoned down suit all the way kind of man. However from the moment Justin interviews with Eli there is an underlying current that sizzles between them, one that takes on a life of its own and one as a reader you know is going to lead to one incredible and sexy scene. This book is written in third person but we are still treated to the intimate thoughts and fantasies of these two men which only drives the heat up. It is obvious that Justin is a sub but has been hurt and hasn’t been in the lifestyle for awhile just as it is obvious that Eli is a Dom with a sadistic side and loves the mind-fu*k. I’d like to say these two had an easy time being together but they didn’t. They had a lot of issues to work through both individually and together and through it all we watched them overcome, accept, and grow and in the end come out much stronger together than they ever were apart. Sometimes a hard road leads to the best and sometimes unimaginable outcome making the journey worth it. From the very beginning to the very last words Just Business was a book I could not put down, one I felt deep in my soul and one I’m not likely to forget. Bravo Ms. Zabo, take a bow!

  19. 4 out of 5

    ☆☆☆~Bev's World of Books~☆☆☆

    ***Audio Review*** Like Iggy's interpretation of Eli [💜] and Justin. There were tears and annoyance too at Justin's abject failure to see that Eli was nothing at all like his ex Francis [😠]. Am absolutely positive that I couldn't cope with a Master/Slave relationship either ...I'm too fond of doing what I want when I want, without some joker telling me how to do it 24/7. 😊 I was a little disappointed that nothing was said about what happened after the last story finished. Was the guy running it c ***Audio Review*** Like Iggy's interpretation of Eli [💜] and Justin. There were tears and annoyance too at Justin's abject failure to see that Eli was nothing at all like his ex Francis [😠]. Am absolutely positive that I couldn't cope with a Master/Slave relationship either ...I'm too fond of doing what I want when I want, without some joker telling me how to do it 24/7. 😊 I was a little disappointed that nothing was said about what happened after the last story finished. Was the guy running it convicted of fraud or money laundering?? Anyhoo, I guess Sam left them after whatever happened happened, and started his own consulting firm and Michael was left in charge of Four Rivers after they were taken over by Dr Malik's firm. 5 stars from me. Eli and Justin, the MC's of this story are new characters, and I fell in love with both of them, but Eli in particular. Both had harrowing tales to tell, and I have to admit to not knowing a lot about the Sephardic Jewish faith at all, but the way Eli's parents treated both him and his young dead lover's parents was absolutely disgusting...talk about the higher moral ground, or lack of it in their case. Was it any wonder that Eli needed therapy after the accident that left him injured, killed his young lover and 2 more friends, and left him listening to them dying?? Oh, and still needing therapy 18 years later?? As far as Justin was concerned, well if I was being a teeny tiny bit uncharitable, I could say that some of what happened to him in his previous D/s 'relationship' was down to him and his acceptance of the things that that a**ehole did BUT no-one, absolutely NO-ONE has the right to think of another person as a possession. Was I surprised that he completely mucked things up and ran away from Eli without them talking things out?? Nope, we women know how most of these men tend to be verbally challenged, and of course thinking with their little head... not the larger one on top of their shoulders. I was very angry that he left Eli broken and in pieces, thank God for Michael and Sam's friendship. The scenes the two did together were hot and tasty, and it was patently obvious that there was more than sex between the two, right from the start. A lovely ending too, an ah bless ending, and I will admit to some ugly crying while reading this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ula'ndi Hart

    Overall book rating: 3.5 Audio Book: Iggy Toma - 3 Book Cover: 3.5 So I know I’m gonna be frowned upon because of this, I’m really sorry about that, but I can’t help how I feel. I really loved ELI. He just has that thing that draws my attention. “Cold and distant” usually means there’s something behind the mask and that was no different in this instance. Eli was cold, yes, but not THAT cold. He still has an openness about him, a willingness to share his pain and be vulnerable for the man he cares f Overall book rating: 3.5 Audio Book: Iggy Toma - 3 Book Cover: 3.5 So I know I’m gonna be frowned upon because of this, I’m really sorry about that, but I can’t help how I feel. I really loved ELI. He just has that thing that draws my attention. “Cold and distant” usually means there’s something behind the mask and that was no different in this instance. Eli was cold, yes, but not THAT cold. He still has an openness about him, a willingness to share his pain and be vulnerable for the man he cares for. Eli is not stubborn and set in his ways to the point where you would want to get frustrated at all. Justin. Well. He had the makings of a great character. I loved the eyeliner and the messy hair. I loved his attitude. I really like him... And then he turned into an immature asshole. And out the door went all my good thoughts about him. I could have dealt with him having a panic attack and needing to have a few days. But the “DRAMA QUEEN” WEEKS that followed. The hurtful bullshit he spewed at Eli, just made me lose my respect for him. He just never redeemed himself completely in my eyes. I’m sorry. I’ll give this a 3.5 solely for Eli. Because I love him. Also, it felt like there was a whole lot of detail, about things in the business, about contracts ect.. but then when Jason finally grows a pair and decides he might be wrong about his “illusion” it’s like, wham bam. The end. I’m not a fan of that either. I’m not a fan of time-skipping in stories. It has to be done really well, or it feels as if you are rushing to finish the book, and then you miss the good stuff between the MC’s who had such a hard time to finally get there shit together.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    Oh this was good. Really good. This was my first time reading this author so I had no idea what I was going to get. (Honestly I picked it based on the cover). The story is about Justin who is an older college student who ends up interning at Eli's business. The two instantly dislike each other but are equally attracted to each other. Both men are damaged and have a host of issues from earlier in their lives which make trusting another person hard. They stumbled around trying to have a relationsh Oh this was good. Really good. This was my first time reading this author so I had no idea what I was going to get. (Honestly I picked it based on the cover). The story is about Justin who is an older college student who ends up interning at Eli's business. The two instantly dislike each other but are equally attracted to each other. Both men are damaged and have a host of issues from earlier in their lives which make trusting another person hard. They stumbled around trying to have a relationship and making a mess out of it due to lack of communication. One thing I particularly liked about this book was that it focused on how bdsm relationships can not work without proper communication. That's something that is glossed over too often in the genre imo. This book pushed all of my happy buttons: broken, damaged boys, enemies to lovers, great sex scenes, some angst and of course a hea. I can't wait to read more by this author.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Such a delight. Review to come

  23. 4 out of 5

    ⚣Michaelle⚣

    4.2 Stars LOADS better than the previous installment.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this an A for narration and a B for content at AudioGals. Anna Zabo is a new-to-me author, and I picked up Just Business (book two in the Takeover series) because I’m on a narrator glom (and it was in the Audible Romance Package). It’s a steamy, BDSM-themed romance, and to be honest, isn’t something I’d likely have chosen to read or listen to had it not been for the fact that I’d happily listen to Iggy Toma announcing arrivals and departures at Waterloo station. Justin White is a cl I've given this an A for narration and a B for content at AudioGals. Anna Zabo is a new-to-me author, and I picked up Just Business (book two in the Takeover series) because I’m on a narrator glom (and it was in the Audible Romance Package). It’s a steamy, BDSM-themed romance, and to be honest, isn’t something I’d likely have chosen to read or listen to had it not been for the fact that I’d happily listen to Iggy Toma announcing arrivals and departures at Waterloo station. Justin White is a clever, ambitious young man studying for his MBA and working as a barista in order to make ends meet. One of his regular customers is Sam Anderson, the CEO of a small but dynamic consulting firm – and Justin has overheard him talking with his friend and colleague, Eli Ovadia, about the fact that he needs to hire a new assistant. Justin is barely keeping his head above water financially, between helping his family, his tuition and living expenses, and he really wants the job; he has the right education and experience and knows he could do a lot worse than learn how to run a business from Sam Anderson – so he gathers his courage and hands Sam the application he’s prepared. He’s invited for an interview and gets the job. You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .

  25. 4 out of 5

    ~Kristin~

    ~4 Stars~ Big breath in...that was quite the adventure. I have to be honest. The first half of this book was pushing my limits, I'm not a big fan of BDSM. Having enjoyed book one, I thought this would be more of the same. That wasn't really the case, this was much darker and had a decidedly heavier theme, it was definitely not just a bit of spanking. Justin won me over in the first half of the book, his past and all he'd gone through played right into my protector personality. But once we really ~4 Stars~ Big breath in...that was quite the adventure. I have to be honest. The first half of this book was pushing my limits, I'm not a big fan of BDSM. Having enjoyed book one, I thought this would be more of the same. That wasn't really the case, this was much darker and had a decidedly heavier theme, it was definitely not just a bit of spanking. Justin won me over in the first half of the book, his past and all he'd gone through played right into my protector personality. But once we really saw who Eli was, and I understood what his life traumas had done to him, the outward persona he projected at first sight wasn't who he really was. Yep, he won me over completely. I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish this one, and by the end I felt like I'd been on a roller coaster, I mean, damn....all the emotions!! I did end up enjoying it and loving both Justin and Eli.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Corporate exec + goth-ish brat + BDSM + angst. Quite good. Possible spoilers below. Up until the halfway point, 'Just Business' was 4 stars. The back-and-forth between Eli and Justin was hilarious. The secondary characters added to the story, helping create a corporate setting that wasn't too stuffy or boring. While this is the second book in the Takeover series, I had no trouble following along without reading book 1. The sex? My tablet screen was burning up. The BDSM in this book is exactly how I Corporate exec + goth-ish brat + BDSM + angst. Quite good. Possible spoilers below. Up until the halfway point, 'Just Business' was 4 stars. The back-and-forth between Eli and Justin was hilarious. The secondary characters added to the story, helping create a corporate setting that wasn't too stuffy or boring. While this is the second book in the Takeover series, I had no trouble following along without reading book 1. The sex? My tablet screen was burning up. The BDSM in this book is exactly how I like it. This wasn't 24/7 full-of-formalities kind of kink. It was fun, and hot. And there were hints of angst and a deeper story, so I was ready to read on. But the deeper story didn't entirely work for me. Two reasons really. First, while the relationship isn't insta-love, it was close enough for me to roll my eyes. Thinking about long-term when you hardly know someone, and have rejected any kind of relationship before? Maybe I'm just jaded, but I didn't buy it. Second, I started liking Justin less and less. I thought that he was being very unfair to Eli, putting him in the same box as his abusive ex-lover, without any reason. I don't think Justin entirely made up for that unnecessary drama by the end of the book. However, the last 20% was a lot better. Once Justin finally sat down and talked to Eli, things moved along in a much better direction. There's was still a lot of angst, but it didn't feel contrived like it had since the halfway point. Overall, I enjoyed 'Just Business'. I'd recommend it for folks who like the lighter side of BDSM and a hefty dose of angst.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fani *loves angst*

    6 stars Absolutely fantastic! I'm not a big fan of BDSM romances because I find that they most often than not, focus on the sexual part of the relationship and not the emotional -which is what interests me- but this one certainly delivered. So much angst, heartwrenching... it caught me by surprise and I loved every minute of it :) ---------------- Reread May 2017: Just as amazing as the first time, if not more. Can't get enough of Eli. 6 stars Absolutely fantastic! I'm not a big fan of BDSM romances because I find that they most often than not, focus on the sexual part of the relationship and not the emotional -which is what interests me- but this one certainly delivered. So much angst, heartwrenching... it caught me by surprise and I loved every minute of it :) ---------------- Reread May 2017: Just as amazing as the first time, if not more. Can't get enough of Eli.

  28. 5 out of 5

    * N aka

    I loved this one. The pain and comfort worked for me in this one, but I wish the communication breakdown wasn't such a pivotal part of the plot. Otherwise, very hot and sweet story. I loved this one. The pain and comfort worked for me in this one, but I wish the communication breakdown wasn't such a pivotal part of the plot. Otherwise, very hot and sweet story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josy

    re-read (audio) June 2017 ~ 3.5 stars ~ This time, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first time. Can't really say why but it kinda exhausted me. first read June 2015 ~ 4 stars ~ re-read (audio) June 2017 ~ 3.5 stars ~ This time, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first time. Can't really say why but it kinda exhausted me. first read June 2015 ~ 4 stars ~

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christi Snow

    My Review: I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Takeover, and was worried that this second book wouldn't live up to that one. Good news...it did...completely. In fact, this one may be even a tiny bit better. I really enjoyed this book. This book features Eli. He's the CFO for Sam's company...the same Sam who was one of the main characters in Takeover. Eli is gay and when he was 15, he was in a car wreck which killed three of his friends, including his boyfriend, and left him crippled My Review: I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Takeover, and was worried that this second book wouldn't live up to that one. Good news...it did...completely. In fact, this one may be even a tiny bit better. I really enjoyed this book. This book features Eli. He's the CFO for Sam's company...the same Sam who was one of the main characters in Takeover. Eli is gay and when he was 15, he was in a car wreck which killed three of his friends, including his boyfriend, and left him crippled. In the aftermath, he confessed to being gay in his grief to his parents and they basically turned against him. Eli is a Dom who is big on control...obviously, but he doesn't like messy of any sort. Justin is all kinds of messy, but a lot of it is a ruse. He's a goth with guy liner, black hair, and black chipping nail polish. But what's that all hiding is a guy with a brilliant brain for business. He's on the cusp of earning his MBA and wants to work for Sam, but that puts him in the same sphere as Eli, a guy he can't help but be drawn to. Oh, and Justin just happens to be a sub, too. A match made in heaven, right? Not so much...Justin's last Dom abused him and Justin has some big trust issues. Eli and Justin are so perfect together. I loved watching their relationship develop, even knowing that something would happen to disrupt that perfection. And when it happened, my heart broke for Eli. He's not a guy who connects easily and to watch him have his heart broken without understanding why is really painful. But I just really fell in love with both these characters. As a bonus, Michael and Sam (especially Sam) feature heavily in this story. I loved getting to see them again. Sam is friends with both these guys and he's just such a nice guy. I love how he worked as a sounding board for both of them while also keeping both their careers stable...he's their boss, so he has some power. In fact, I loved the whole office dynamic and the coffee shop on the ground floor where Justin started out. There wasn't a single thing that I didn't enjoy about this book. I started reading it and honestly did not want to put it down again until it was done...and then I wanted to start re-reading it immediately. It was just an excellent m/m romance. I highly recommend it. Like the first book, be warned...this book features pretty heavy BDSM scenes. Eli is a sadist, Justin a masochist. While that doesn't bother me (in fact, I found the scenes to be extremely sexy) I know that can be a hot button for some. I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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