Slick Competition

Mandy Harbin
Slick Competition
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Ellora's Cave
Release Date
June 2013
Erotic Romance, LGBTQ

Mitchell Hill might be gay, but working for a business specializing in sexual products for men makes it hard for him…in more ways than one. When his new boss announces a contest to find an innovative product to launch nationally, Mitchell blurs the line between personal and professional by deciding to submit a lubricant he'd created for himself. One problem—he has to get the approval of his boss's sexy assistant, a man he hasn't been able to stop thinking about, in very carnal ways, since first seeing.

Kayden Wright has heard nothing but insane ideas about products until newcomer Mitchell walks into his office. He's thrilled with the lube idea…and turned-on by the man before him. He always maintains a professional demeanor—he needs this job to deal with the mountain of medical bills piling at his door. But when Mitchell kisses him, he loses his steely control. Not easily willing to trust others, Kayden mistakes innocence for treachery and the two men start a roller-coaster relationship filled with lies, deceit…and smoldering sex.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Dec 19, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
94 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes the ogre in the fairytale turns out to have a heart of gold, but more often he's just a guy everyone loves to hate with good reason. Unfortunately, the only gold the ogre in this story covets belongs to the supposed hero.

Mitchell Hill, with his newly minted master's degree in biochemical engineering, moves to New Orleans to work for Beau Broussard's sex products empire. Mitch has a mountain of college debt to pay, so he works as a well-paid product development specialist for Beau and further reduces his debt working in a hospital lab.

When Beau announces a competition to come up with a new product, Mitch thinks he has the perfect thing: a new lube designed expressly for gay men. All Mitch has to do is convince Beau's assistant, Kayden Wright, that this is the winning product, and the ten thousand dollar prize is his.

Mitch, however, doesn't count on a couple of things. First, little does he know that he and Kayden will hit it off and become an unofficial couple, despite Kayden's ogrish reputation around the company. In fact, Mitch thinks he's found the real Kayden, the kind and caring Kayden.

But the second thing Mitch doesn't see coming is that Kayden, who needs money for his extremely ill grandmother, will stoop to claiming Mitch's lube is really his in order to win the prize money.

I was fine with the story until this point. As a reader and a believer in the tale, I now have to have some really good reason for Kayden to be worthy of the trusting Mitch or all bets are off. Having Kayden need the money for his grandmother's cancer treatments isn't enough, especially since Kayden has a good job, with excellent pay as the only assistant to the corporation's founder, and he's living with his grandmother supposedly rent free.

If Kayden's treachery isn't enough, Mitch turns into a bad guy also. When Kayden comes to apologize and says he will come clean to Beau, Mitch retaliates uncharacteristically in a very brutal manner. Now suddenly the story has two ogres and no heroes, which means my sympathies are outta here.

So in the end, the character rumored to be an ogre among the workforce confirms everyone's suspicions, and the hero, who gives him the benefit of the doubt and falls for him, turns out to have a nasty streak. Now who am I supposed to love and root for?

Consequently, this story with a fairytale premise doesn't end happily for me even though the ogre and the pseudo-hero end up apologizing for their behavior and walking off into the sunset together. For me, trust needs more words than "I'm sorry" and more time to rebuild than is given in this novella.
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