Do you know what a book hangover is? Ever heard of such a thing?
This book did it to me. Twice. There are two stories in this book. Seriously, it did.
Never mix business with pleasure. Never bring politics into the bedroom. In a way I did both when I took Jackson Rutledge as a lover. I can’t say I wasn’t warned.
Two years later, he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. Under the tutelage of Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn’t the girl he once knew, but he hadn’t changed. Unlike the last time we’d drifted into each other’s lives, I knew exactly what I was dealing with… and how addictive his touch could be.
The inner circle of glamour, sex, and privilege was Jax’s playground–but this time, I knew the rules of the game. In the cutthroat business world, one adage rules all: keep your enemies close and your ex-lovers closer…
Add it to your Goodreads:
Purchase on Amazon:
|I have read many Sylvia Day books and while they have their similarities be it characters, locations or story lines, each one never ceases to amaze me. She is so talented.|
FYI – I read the one book version of the two stories.
In Afterburn we meet Gianna Rossi who is the youngest in a large family that is loving, supportive and close to each other. They own and run an Italian Restaurant, one of the best in town. Gianna wants to put her degree in Restaurant Management to good use and learn from one of the best in the industry, Lei Yeung. It all started with a job interview where Gianna learns really quick to make the most of the few minutes she had in front of the restaurant icon. She took full advantage of those few minutes to impress and shin,e winning herself the job of her dreams.
While working for Lei Yeung, Gianna learns the mean and dirty ropes of opening restaurants and signing celebrity chefs for the restaurant. She also learns from the expert how to play the games when finding talent. Gianna becomes a force to be reckoned with, just like her boss. Learning how to manipulate people to do what is needed, yet keeping the humane side of it and doing the right thing, thanks to her family upbringing and their continued closeness throughout the story.
Enter Jax Rutledge, her former fling when she was in college in Vegas two years ago. He had walked out on her one night and was never heard from again. Although she “hates” him for what he did to her she has no idea what it did to him or his side of the story. All the old feelings and pain return when she sees him at a work related event. While she thinks he doesn’t see her, not acknowledging her presence that night, he certainly sees her. But had he seen her all along? Over the last two years? Had he kept tabs on her unbeknownst to her?
Jax is intricately tied into the new restaurant deal that Gianna is trying to manage but on the other side, the enemy. The side trying to tear her deal apart. Because of his involvement she is forced to change course many times and question her newly ignited feelings for Jax. When his actions come too close for comfort, even her boss questions her decision to be with him. Is he sabotaging her? Is he protecting her? Is he doing it to repay a favor or is there another driving force altogether? But Gianna gets tough. Just when I thought she was going to be another weak female character, she decides to go head to head with this wealthy, well-known businessman without backing down. Even up against his very political family with many political and financial ties, especially Parker, the patriarch. But can she remain the Rossi family member that is an honest and good person while fighting this dirty battle?
Aftershock gives more details about the relationship between Jax and Gianna while Afterburn brings the business side to light. Gianna and Jax have heated sex scenes, almost too many at times. Gianna even questions if that is all she is to him, a quick lay, a good fu*&. There is so much about Jax she doesn’t understand but as she starts to unravel the layers does she like what she sees? Can she live in his world? As much as she thinks she can, he is pushing her in the opposite direction trying to protect her and hide her from his world, on purpose. He’s been hurt once already. Badly. Made the wrong decision. He vows not to be hurt again. Never again.
In her frustrations to learn more about Jax and his family secrets she makes a mistake that leads to serious trouble with dangerous repercussions. She takes it upon herself to try and fix her “mistake” and in the end, looking back, she doesn’t even know who she was when she made the choices she did to protect Jax. She turns to her family for love and support. Family grounds her, especially her brothers. She can and does always turn to her brothers for love and support. And they love her and continue to look out for her best interests, broken heart or not. They come to her rescue more than once. I love Vincent. Such a good brother for doing what he needed to defend his sister.
When I started reading this I wasn’t sure how the characters were going to turn out. Was Gianna going to be another helpless female who depended on the male to help her succeed. Was Jax another typical asshole who used women to get what he wanted or needed. In this case, Gianna finds her independence, learns from her boss and actually matures from that relationship as Lei teaches her about life from her own mistakes. That relationship was a pleasure to watch grow and the mutual respect and trust was refreshing.
Gianna also took responsibility for her own mistakes or actions, realizing that her job and succeeding at her job was her prize, her measure of success, her ultimate goal. And she did that without hurting the other players (chefs) in the mix. I loved her honest, caring side making her more believable as a character. She promised Chad that she’d have his back and when times got crazy she did the right thing by him, honoring her unwritten promise, even when it wasn’t what she wanted to do. Even when Jax came back in her life, she realized what he was doing to try to sabotage her boss and still held her own, aware of his actions, protecting herself while giving in to his passion and connection once more. Kind of can’t blame her. I was very proud of Gianna and how she stayed true to herself and family over what a man wanted her to become. In the end, her self respect taught Jax what was important to her and he learned from her as well, the hard way. White picket fences can be for everyone.
Very well written story as expected from Ms. Day. I enjoyed both aspects of the business relationship to the romantic relationship. Very well done! Worth the read.