Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: Just Business by Anna Zabo

By Anna Zabo
4 Stars

Available at:

File Size: 913 KB
Print Length: 266 pages
Publisher: InterMix (June 16, 2015)
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English

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


“ Blurb -
Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….

Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?

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.


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."

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.

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.


Anna Zabo, the author of Takeover, writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. She also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna Zabo's website

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I would like to thank Anna Zabo for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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