by Shayla Black
Published by Berkley Books on February 7th 2017
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Jolie Quinn is a woman in charge. Her no-nonsense attitude has made her a rising star in the fashion world and her brand a household name among the Dallas elite. Nothing will stop her from achieving her goals—not even the gorgeous British security contractor who seems just as interested in seeing her personal assets as he is in protecting her professional ones.
After a tragedy left him broken, Heath Powell made a rule of staying unattached. But Jolie challenges him in a way he can’t ignore, and he isn’t used to backing down from a confrontation—especially when the reward for winning could feel so good. As passion blazes between them, the stubborn, confident beauty arouses more than his desire. She touches his heart.
When a mysterious enemy threatens Jolie and her company, Heath is the only person Jolie can trust to help. But working with him to save her business might put her dangerously at risk of falling in love…
The moment I read the blurb for this book, I knew I was going to like it. Holding on Tighter is the twelfth book in Black’s Wicked Lovers series. Jolie Quinn is a rising fashion designer who is at the brink of unparalleled success with company Betti. After a rash of burglaries threatened her business, she enlists the help of security expert Heath Powell.
Heath is former MI5 who has no plan on sticking around after the job is done. He doesn’t want or need the encumbrance of a relationship. He takes what he needs for that night and doesn’t hesitate to walk away. His philosophy has served him well until he meets Jolie.
Despite the obvious spark of attraction between them, Heath and Jolie are wary of starting anything. But both have been informed by their pasts. Jolie by her mother’s revolving door of failed relationships, which made her cynical and distrustful, and Heath by the tragic and violent passing of his wife. Their relationship started off rocky, to say the least. Jolie is the kind of woman that normally wouldn’t attract Heath. And Jolie, with her cynicism is a bit of stuck up. Both have good reasons for not starting anything. But when Jolie’s life was threatened Heath steps in daring her to trust.
First off, I love Jolie Quinn. She’s tough, smart, ambitious and ruthless but with a hint of vulnerability hidden underneath. It’s not impossible to find a heroine in romance is accomplished but I have to admit that CEO heroines aren’t as plentiful as its male counterparts. So the fact that Jolie is a business woman with lofty dreams is a breath of fresh air.
Second, the chemistry between the Heath and Jolie are off the charts hot. They both have strong personalities and they both give it as good as they got. I like the dynamics between them. Heath is a natural dominant (although not exactly a Dom in a strict sense) but he’s a force of nature. He likes his women pliant and submissive. Jolie no submissive bone in her body and is too independent and self-reliant. And yet they work.
Heath recognizes Jolie’s need for independence. He revels in it knowing that when she submits, she does it because she trusts him and not because she was a natural at it. I really enjoyed that aspect in their relationship. They are equals in every way.
That said, this book is not without its flaws. The ending was a bit of a cheesefest and the epilogue was just confusing. I for one love cameos from characters from the previous books in the series. But not all of them at the same especially when there has been 11 books to the series already. I felt lost and that satisfying feeling that usually comes along with reading an epilogue dissipated.
Still, I enjoyed it very much and would definitely recommend it.
Heath jerked back to face her and leaned in so close their noses nearly touched. “Am I wrong?”
She refused to stroll down that memory lane. “Does it matter?”
“I daresay it does. But we’ll come back to that. If you were merely mistrustful of men, you would have waited until tomorrow and delivered a well-placed warning to keep me away from your sister.
Instead, you came after me. And when you found me with another woman, your temper flared. If I merely lived up to your expectations of being a womanizing prick, that shouldn’t make you angry at all, simply smug at being right. But you were livid. I doubt all that displeasure is on your sister’s behalf. In fact, I suspect, Ms. Quinn, that you have more than a passing interest in me. You were jealous.”
Apprehension raced through her veins. He was uncomfortably close to the truth. “You’re egotistical.”
“But I’m right.” He gave her a tight smile. “For the record, if I intended to disregard policy and pursue a woman in the office, I wouldn’t bother with your sister. As you say, she’s naive and provides no challenge. But you . . . You would be far more interesting. Pretty, strong, smart, not easily bendable. Color me intrigued.”
She tensed. “I’m your boss.”
“Temporarily. We’re both adults. Surely neither of us are prone to torrid emotional attachments. We could keep business separate from personal, couldn’t we?”
Normally, she’d say yes. But working with him constantly buzzing around her, asking questions, and watching her every move had already dented her focus. “I have no intention of becoming your next conquest.”
“I never planned to pursue you.”
Jolie wondered why, then dismissed the question as she buttoned her red coat. “Perfect. There’s nothing left to say except I’m sorry for intruding on your evening. I hope we can forget this by morning.”
She had to get out of here. She’d overplayed her hand and needed to regroup, to think about how to treat him tomorrow. The last thing she wanted was for Heath Powell to decide she was a challenge he should convert into his next bed partner after all. Normally, the sexual urges of a man wouldn’t concern her unless she was interested. If so, she found a way to have him for a night or two, then ended it.
Something told her that nothing with Heath would ever be that simple.
But when Jolie turned her back on him and headed for the parking lot, he snaked an arm around her middle and pulled her against his big, steely body. “I never planned to pursue you . . . but I’ve changed my mind.”