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Book Review: The Refusal by Eve M. Riley


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When I began reading this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. Workplace romances aren't usually my thing, and I was expecting an alpha hero with a superiority complex. While our hero does act alpha in the boardroom, he has no problem letting a woman take the lead alongside him, and he was amazingly sexy in his vulnerabilities. I loved how the romance was slow burn, so unexpected in the twists and turns, and I stayed up until 1am to finish the book. I value my sleep, but this book was well worth the baggy eyes in the morning.


Jo Williams is no stranger to arrogant men. Working in a male-dominated profession - IT security - she has had to work really hard to gain respect in her field. When she gains a contract at a well-known tech company run, she is both thrilled and nervous. This could mean big things for her, so long as she doesn't do anything stupid. Like fall for the boss. Janus Phillips is H-O-T. His type is a hot blonde with big boobs, not a nerdy redhead with a flat chest. But as soon as they meet, sparks fly. Soon Jo is dodging his advances, and Janus, the man who can get anyone he wants, is having to work extra hard to get the one woman he thinks might be the perfect one for him. If only the cameras weren't constantly on them and her reputation was at stake.


I adored this couple, from beginning to end. Jo first meets Janus in the elevator, and she realizes instantly who he is. With a natural instinct to play with people, she pretends that she has no idea who he is, and Janus shows his vulnerable side for the first time. Instead of being offended or smirking, he blushes and looks uncomfortable. I loved this introduction to his character, because it set the scene for how their relationship would play out. Janus is a smart dude - someone equated to the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. However, he is way more into the technical side of coding than the business intricacies, and while he can manage his company, he misses what fun he had in college with his best friend. Meeting Jo is like a breath of fresh air for him. She isn't intimidated by him, makes him laugh, and she has quirks that drive him wild with lust. But the media portrays him as a playboy, and that's who Jo thinks he is. For a large part of the story, he has to battle that image, and Jo doesn't make it easy. She doesn't understand why he's attracted to her, because the poor thing is insecure herself. She knows she's smart but when it comes to men, what is there to attract them? Of course, we as readers see how wonderful she is and Janus sees it to, but it takes time to make Jo see it. She was a sweetheart, to everyone she met, and she and Janus deserved the beautiful happy ending that they got.


Janus' best friend get his book next. At first, I was apprehensive that he would get his own book, as I'm not a fan of guys who do drugs and he came across as a drug-addicted bum...at first. But then you see his character slowly develop into a really intelligent guy who just doesn't have direction in his life. I'm excited to see how his relationship develops with Jo's friend, and hopefully we get to see more of Jo and Janus as well.


**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**