by Lynda Aicher
Series: The Boardroom #2.5
Also in this series: After Hours, Blind Trust, Strictly Confidential
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 16, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
No limits. No refusals. No out.
She’d be his—for one night.
Bailey Brown wants more. More risk. More passion. Her experiences in the Boardroom—open, hedonistic sex with trusted but anonymous members—have been exciting, but that feeling is back. The one that pushes her, dares her to do more, risk more.
Jacob Anders has always been the Boardroom’s go-to guy—caring and thoughtful, he fulfills other people’s fantasies. It’s a role that suits his caretaker needs, even if it’s one that sometimes requires him to ignore the ache of his own desires.
But now Bailey is offering him everything he’s ever wanted. Total control. Absolute trust. It’s a heady feeling, and a huge responsibility.
How far will he go, and will it be enough?
I went into this book with a little bit of trepidation because the first novella in the series didn’t actually have an HEA, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the rest of The Boardroom series. Luckily, there is one, though, unfortunately, it felt underdeveloped. Since there’s very little spillover from the rest of the series, this could easily be read as a standalone.
His sharp command shocked her eyes open. Any ounce of control she might’ve gained was lost when she lowered her arms back to her sides. She had no power. No say. A spike of panic kicked her heart rate up before his hand fisted in her hair once again. The tight hold wiped out the tension and quieted the noise.
The awful, persistent backdrop of ridicule and failure she’d heard her entire life.”
Bailey has a constant running litany inside her head of how much of a failure she is, and the only time it seems to stop is when she’s able to cede control during a scene. She convinces Jacob – the man known for his talent at fulfilling requests for other members of The Boardroom with kindness – to sign a contract basically giving him full control over her for a night. While they’ve participated in scenes together before, Bailey’s conflict about her desires runs deep, causing her to seesaw between gleefully demanding what she needs and then running away when she gets it. Can what they have in The Boardroom last beyond one night, or will they both back away from what they feel again?
This novella does basically consist of one long sex scene (not necessarily a bad thing, it’s freaking steamy!) and while I think Ms. Aicher excels at showing character development through sex, we don’t have a ton of previous character backstory to build on. I vaguely remember Jacob from the previous books but I don’t remember Bailey at all, so why Bailey feels like such a failure is never actually explored. I think it would’ve been a lot more successful for me had we seen them interacting earlier in the series, and if Jacob had more of a backstory than just being the go-to guy. They do have great chemistry, and there’s definitely a level of understanding and trust between them that made the novella quite sweet to read.
Overall, it’s a quick steamy read, though it left me wishing for more. I’d give it three-and-a-half stars, rounding up to four.