Afterburn/Aftershock – A Book Review


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. afterburn

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.

~ Blurb from the back of the book

OK, first up, a confession. I find it hard, really hard to enjoy a romance novel. Not that I look down on the genre or anything like that. It’s just that I like the romance to be wrapped in a story that’s a lot more than about the romance, if you get what I mean. There just needs to be a bigger story than just a couple meeting, falling in love, fighting, and then getting their happier ever after.

So, honestly, I can’t say this pure romance novel worked fully for me, but overall I can say for its genre it’s a good book.

Now with that disclaimer out-of-the-way, off to the review.

[title subtitle=”A Little Info about the Publication”][/title]

But first, a little information about this imprint.

Cosmopolitan magazine, in conjunction with Harlequin Romance, has started a series called Cosmo Red-Hot Reads, which is

A new line of sexy, contemporary stories featuring fun, fearless women who know what they want from their lives, their careers and their lovers!

This book is one of these. It’s a two-part series – Afterburn and Aftershock combined together in one book.

[title subtitle=”My Review”][/title]

The story’s heroine Gianna Rossi is in the restaurant business. No, she doesn’t run a restaurant (but her family does). She works as an assistant to a high-flying lady boss who puts together deals between chefs and hotels.

Now, I wasn’t aware of such a profession before I read this book, nor did I have any idea that the celebrity chef business was such a high-profile and glam one. But this book and all the characters in it just ooze glamour.

Gianna and her boss are working on a particularly important deal when it gets scuttled by a business rival and his friend. Turns out both men are ex-lovers of Gianna and her boss.

So begins a game of wits where both women fight to make their deal work in spite of the complications brought in by the men.

Jackson (Jax) Rutledge is the typical alpha male hot hero in the mould of Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey (without the BDSM), and if you liked Christian Grey you will like Jax also. He’s a youthful billionaire coming from a famous political family (a sort of conservative Kennedy family), whereas Gianna is a regular down-to-earth girl from a loving family who aren’t all that glamorous.

When Jax and Gianna eventually get together in the end of Afterburn, there are tons of open issues between the both of them. How will they sort out the differences in their lifestyles and more important, their value systems?

The next book Aftershock deals with that issue, and I really liked this book very much. Jax and Gianna are living together and their business competition has died down, but there are so many new relationship teething issues and I love that the book goes a bit beyond the happily ever after for the couple and gives us a peek into what’s next for the pair.

There are a couple of interesting plot twists, and lots of hot scenes between the pair before things eventually work out between them.

The nice thing about the ending is that unlike most books, it is the hero who ends up making most of the changes, foregoing some of his ambitions in order to build a life with Gianna. Nice, I like that.

Overall, I liked this book. It’s got a bit too many explicit sections for my taste but that goes hand in hand with romance novel territory these days. But I did like the story build-up overall, and the characters of Jax and Gianna and the secondary characters are all well drawn out and fun to read about.

Huge thanks to Harlequin Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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