Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ARC Review: Life Under New Management by Jane Davitt

Taking a bar job in an exclusive hotel is a stopgap for Andy. He’s an actor and his big break is coming soon—he knows it. His hot new boss Ethan is strict, demanding and totally off-limits but Andy can’t stop thinking about him.

When Andy learns of Ethan’s need to be in control of his partner—in bed and out of it—he’s stunned by the intensity of his reaction. He wants Ethan guiding him, bringing order to his chaotic life. And he sees that Ethan needs him too, though they can’t be open about their feelings.

Ethan deals out deliciously perverse consequences for misbehaving, but when it comes to incentives, he knows just what to offer to have Andy on his knees begging for more.

But some secrets can’t stay that way for long. And when difficult choices arise, for once Andy can’t turn to Ethan for guidance. This time, he’s on his own.

Dani's rating:

This book is a grade A mind fuck.

Andy is lazy, whiny, ungracious, and scattered. He floats through life on his looks and surface charm, and doesn't apply himself to his acting career any better than he does to housekeeping or bartending.

When Andy interviews with the cool, don't-bullshit-me Ethan for a bartender position at the prestigious, upscale hotel where Ethan is a manager he gets a metaphorical kick in the arse.

Ethan, who's at least a few years older than Andy, is all about control and structure. One speck of lint can throw him into a quiet rage. The lemons have to be sliced JUST SO and jeans folded with the seams lined up.

Andy lusts after Ethan, but Ethan pushes him away and gives him the cold shoulder. Ethan doesn't just want a sex partner. He wants a man he can control completely, not a submissive exactly, but someone he can groom and advise, someone who will give himself over with no complaints.

That someone probably shouldn't be Andy, but the two give the relationship a go anyway. They have to keep it secret because Ethan is Andy's boss.

This book is all about the power exchange, Andy giving, Ethan taking. Or maybe it's the other way around?

Andy does not take kindly to being told what to do, but he's a kinky fucker, and as he learns to trust Ethan, he cedes control.

Ethan is so collected at all times, I wanted to shake him. He rarely shows emotion. He takes Andy in for grooming, sets him up on a fitness program, and waxes his arse crack (this is very clinical and not particularly hot).

Ethan wants sex to be CONTAINED and to HURT. He uses weighed clothes pins, gags, and paddles. He pours lemon juice into wounds. Andy loves getting spanked, and Ethan loves to administer pain. He gets off on Andy's suffering and tears. And Andy gets off on it too.

"Pain slut," Ethan said . . . "I love seeing you cry . . . the way you beg is addictive."

I expected this book to be HAWT, and there is certainly sex aplenty. Many of the scenes are crazy sensual, and both men grow as people.

Since Andy is the third-person narrator, Ethan feels like a distant presence. I really wanted Ethan's POV. At one point the book skipped ahead a couple months, which didn't help me believe in the relationship beyond the sex.

What really worked for me is that Ethan and Andy's kinks aren't seeped in darkness. The story isn't heavy and angsty and brooding. It's real life. With spanking and pain.

I really liked Andy's awesome roommate Henry, who added some delicious humor to the book. The writing was strong, and I loved the ending.

Weak with lust and love, Andy caught the bottle. "God, I love you so fucking much when you're like this"

"I'm always like this," Ethan said.

"Starting to see that," Andy muttered.

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An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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