Review: After Hours – Lynda Archer

Review: After Hours – Lynda ArcherAfter Hours
by Lynda Aicher
Series: The Boardroom #1
Also in this series: Blind Trust, Signed Over, Strictly Confidential
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 22, 2018
Genres: Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Boardroom. After hours, it’s where Bay Area moguls indulge their fantasies. Ties are loosened. Inhibitions, too.

Assistant Avery Fast watched from a distance, mouth gaping, blood roaring wildly in her ears as she stared at the naked woman on the table before her. At executive Carson Taggert ordering a man to pleasure her. It made her feel guilty, embarrassed…and hot.

Carson watched and waited. Waited for Avery to notice him in the Boardroom. Waited for her to like what she saw. Waited to see what she’d do the next day. And the next. He couldn't let her go—not when she'd seen what goes on in the Boardroom. He couldn't stop thinking about the desire in her eyes, the flush on her cheeks, her obvious arousal.

Getting her to join was easy. But now Carson wants Avery all to himself.

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4 stars icon contemporary icon romance icon

Avery is stunned when a late night search for a misplaced file has her stumbling into an orgy in one of the company conference rooms.  even more unexpected is how turned on she is by it, and, worst of all, that she recognizes one of the participants as an executive at the company.  After explaining the rules of The Boardroom – the exclusive, somewhat anonymous kinky sex club – Carson’s so intrigued by Avery’s reaction that he invites her to watch a scene with him.  Carson isn’t looking for any sort of relationship, and he’s clear to Avery that it’s just an opportunity for them to explore the voyeurism they both enjoy.  Though Avery is scared and half-ashamed, she’s never let fear rule her actions, and eventually she agrees, starting a ridiculously steamy exploration of her desires.

“This is still just sex,” he responded on reflex. “Just the Boardroom.” But was the repeated reminder for her or himself?
Her sigh was heavy with annoyance. “Did I ask for more?” She blew out a small puff of disgust. “No. I didn’t,” she answered for him. “So you can stop reminding me. It’s just about the sex. I get it.” She opened the door, a sly grin on her face when she looked back. “And it was really damn good tonight.”
She winked and sashayed out the door. His bark of laughter shot through the room before he followed her down the hall.”

This is, at heart, an extra-steamy office romance, a trope that can go either way for me.  When the consent issues are well-done, like they are here, it’s pure catnip to me.  The book doesn’t shy away from the fact that there’s a power differential between the two (Avery is an assistant to another executive at the company), and there are no easy answers for either character.  Both characters also deal with their own roadblocks to having a relationship.  Carson is extremely anti-relationship, due to incidents in his past, and resists categorizing his feelings for her for as long as possible.  Avery, on the other hand, though she tries to work through it, is ashamed of her desires, well-aware of the dual sexual standards for men versus woman.  She can’t resist the need that draws her to Carson, however, and the heady powerful feeling she gets from taking ownership of her desires.  These two are perfect for each other, and the sexual chemistry between them and the slow development of their relationship was wonderful.

“Stupid, damn morals. Don’t be in the wrong. Apologize for your behavior. Expect the best of others. Be kind. Be nice. Be quiet. Be, be, be…
When was it okay to be mad? To speak out? To demand better?”

Other than the main relationship, the pacing was perfect and the secondary characters were well-developed and interesting.  There were several that I would love to see have their own book!  Overall, I think this is a great first entry in the series, and I will definitely be picking up the second!  Highly recommended if you’re looking for an office romance that explores empowering sexuality and navigates consent issues with a deft touch!

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