It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London. That is until HE sat down next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me. I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming. If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart. Let the battle begin…
In all this time, I had yet to see Gabriel without a shirt. He hides his body like a pious Victorian, never letting me see anything other than him fully dressed and polished. Now I know why. Had he let me get a glimpse, I might never have been able to form a coherent thought around him. This man’s chest is a work of art. It’s every fantasy I’ve had about a man’s body made real. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I’m not about to complain. God, he looks touchable. Olive skin, tight little brownish nipples, a smattering of dark chest hair over the most incredibly honed— “You’re staring.” His tone is dry. “Yes, I am.” I drag my eyes up and find his expression bemused. A thick brow lifts. I try to mimic the look and fail when both of my brows lift as one. His lips twitch in amusement. He shifts his weight, causing his abs to clench. Good Lord. He’s not some overdeveloped gym worshiper, just solid and strong, that perfect balance between defined musculature and healthy male— “You’re still staring, Sophie.” “You think it’s easy looking away from all this splendor?” I ask his belly button, licking my lips when he huffs out a laugh and just a little bit more of his lower abs are revealed, slanting toward the thick bulge of his cock, which is lamentably hidden behind his slacks. “You’re impossible,” he mutters, though there is humor in his voice. He strolls farther into the room and then practically kills me when he sits in one of the low-slung armchairs. That body, sprawled out on display, those thick, long thighs braced as if to take me in his lap—it’s too much. I want to straddle him and lick my way from the hollow of his throat to the tip of his cock. He eyes me as if he knows what I’m thinking, and the air thickens. So many things we left unsaid. I’m remembering his lips now, surprisingly soft, but strong with purpose. From the way his lids lower, I wonder if he’s remembering things as well. But he doesn’t move. Tension glides over his body and snakes around the room. I feel it in my throat and down my spine. We’re closing up again, retreating. Slowly, I toe off my shoes and set my gear down, never breaking eye contact. “I was being completely honest,” I tell him. “I see you like this and I want to stare forever.” He snorts, shaking his head even as he rests his temple on his knuckles. “What do you mean ‘like this’?” “Undone.” He tenses. It does lovely things to that chest. I focus on his face, mainly to maintain some semblance of decorum. “You think this is me undone?” he asks quietly. “It’s a start.” I reach for my camera bag. “Will you let me photograph you?” There is safety to be found with the camera between us. A way for both of us to hide until we’re comfortable around each other again. “You’re serious?” “You sound surprised.” Holding my camera, I sit in the sofa opposite him. “Don’t tell me no one has asked to take your picture before.” “They’ve asked. I never saw the point.” He shrugs. “I’m not the story.” You’re my story. You always were. “This is just for me,” I say instead. “No one else.” His shrewd gaze pins me. “Why do you want this?” So I can have a bit of you forever. “Pictures capture moments in time. I want this one—when you finally let me see a sliver of the man behind the clothes.” His nostrils flare on an indrawn breath, and he slowly lets it out. When he speaks, his voice is a rasp. “Take the pictures.”
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.
4.5 Stars - One of the best
Review Copy Provided by Author
I don't even know where to start with this review! I wish saying that Managed was fun, sweet and a different type of romance would be enough, but it's not.
The Fun - literally from the first page, the characters of Sophie and Gabriel jump off the page and you can almost "see" how they feed off of each other.
The Sweet - The fact that these two have sparks flying all over the place, but both fight acting on it combined with their "need" for each other in an intimate sense is completely swoon worthy. I loved that both Gabriel and Sophie decided that the other was important enough to their life that they would "take what they could get" even while assuming the other didn't want to take their relationship to the next step.
The Different - To the world Gabriel is "Scottie" - he has walled himself off behind the professional persona. We spend a good portion of Managed watching him struggle with himself and the changes that just being near Sophie is causing in his façade. Not only do we get to see him grow in the romantic sense, but we also get to see him explore his emotions more fully and blossom as a person.
If you enjoyed meeting the crew of Kill John in Idol (book 1), you will love the more in depth picture you get of them here in Managed. This is definitely Gabriel and Sophie's book, but the strong secondary cast plays a vital roll in the story. I knew going into this book that I liked Ms. Callihan's writing, but Managed tugged at my heartstrings and made me anxious for the next VIP installment.