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Michael Sebastian thought Curacao would be the perfect place to have a little fun in the sun—and between the sheets. So far, no one has struck his interest, until Sam Anderson walks into the bar. With one look at his tense body and expensive suit, Michael knows that this is a man in need of release. And Michael is more than willing to lend a hand.

Shattered by the most intense sex he’s ever had, Sam has to face the facts—one night with a handsome, dominating stranger is all he gets before returning to the closet he’s been suffocating in for years. But when Sam starts his new job as the CEO of a failing technology company, he discovers that Michael is one of his new employees.

While Michael is desperate for another night with Sam, he knows he shouldn’t get involved with his boss, let alone another man who can’t accept who he is. But as they’re forced to work together to save the company, the desire sparking between them becomes impossible to ignore…

173 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 19, 2014

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About the author

Anna Zabo

24 books573 followers
Anna Zabo (they/them) writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 373 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
November 15, 2018
The sexy times were very, very steamy which I liked way more than I should probably admit on goodreads, but the plot was super forgettable. Read this if ur feelin’ frisky
November 27, 2015

Read in May 2015.

Better late than never.

I read this book after I read Just Business, the second Takeover book. After meeting Michael and Sam in Just Business, I had to know their story.

This book is intense and fast paced with complex MCs and a well-developed plot.

Sam drove me a little crazy with his in-the-closet routine and how hesitant he seemed to be about the submissive side of his personality.

But when he and Michael are together, Sam is all there ... needy & wanting.

What begins as a one-night stand turns into more ... MUCH more.

The sex is get-down-dirty-fuck-me-right-now. SO HAWT!

I liked the second book a little bit better only because I absolutely loved Eli.

Don't do as I did and read this series in order (the third book comes out in June 2016!).
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,037 reviews587 followers
February 9, 2018
3.5 Stars

I enjoy reading this book but not completely. I couldn’t focus on the whole story and sometimes I had to read a page twice. I should say the writing was good enough that made me read this book to the end. Told in dual POV, 3rd person. It’s the first installment in the "Takeover" series and it can be read as a standalone. So I think it was just me not the book and I hope you like it!
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,758 reviews3,830 followers
February 8, 2015
In a word-wordy.

This is my first experience with this author and overall I enjoyed it. Was it memorable? Probably not, though I would read something else by this author. Like that anthology that's forthcoming.

I like the premise of a one night stand that turns into something. Michael and Sam meet in a bar in Curaçao, have an intense experience, maybe wish it could be more but know it's only one night. Let me tell you that one night was a helluva way to start off this book!


Naturally, their paths cross again.

Both Michael and Sam are surprised when Sam turns out to be Michael's new CEO and try to forge a platonic relationship but Pandora's box has been opened. This may be here nor there, but there was an awful lot of cock talk and not a lot of cock action which made them seem like two horny teens rather than two adults. I'd almost want to call this a slow burn were it not for their occasional sexcapades. There are many hurdles to overcome the first being Sam's sort of in the closet and Michael's last relationship crashed and burned because his lover was in the closet and Michael has vowed not to go there again.

I had issues with Sam's rationale for not correcting his colleagues on his sexuality. I get being prudent rather than Liberaceing out in the boardroom, but it's a contemporary book, set in the US. The same country that allows same sex marriage in 36 states and Sam's convinced that he'll be ruined in the business industry if he came out? I have trouble believing that and what's more it was agonized over to broken record levels.

The inverse power dynamics is the second hurdle. Sam is a sexual submissive/masochist in the bedroom but in the boardroom he's CEO, a well respected CEO at that. Not that I have exacting standards when it comes to romance novels, but this dynamic is actually quite common in RL and I couldn't work out why it was such a sticking point for Sam. It's not as though he and Michael would be posting sex vids on pornhub or anything. Get over it. No one cares. Personally, I liked how needy Sam was and how he craved what Michael could give him.

The third hurdle was they couldn't get out of their own way. Remember that scene in Cold Mountain? The rain scene with Renée Zellweger? "They made the weather then stand in the rain and say, 'shit, it's raining'!" They do that. It annoys me when people do that. Tons of words to accompany the rain making too. But, the upside was being shown them becoming friends, getting to know each other, building a relationship and how hot for each other they were even if it read a bit adolescent at times.

The corporate maneuvering could've been toned down. There's only so much I need to know about mergers, acquisitions and routing technology in my romance novels and the end game on this front was anticlimactic anyway.

So, it has good points and not so good points, but overall I enjoyed it.


A review copy was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,431 followers
September 30, 2016
3.75 Stars!

I've had this one on my TBR forever. I kept putting it off because of the BDSM elements. But book 4 in this series hit my feed this week and I thought it sounded good so I decided I would give this one a go.

And it was good. I can't say it wowed me, but I did like it.

And I would say this was BDSM-light. Just a little spanking and maybe one flogging (I think that's what you call it).

Relatively low angst I think. No crazy drama. Likable MCs.

It just didn't have that wow factor to rate it any higher, but no complaints either. I'll definitely be checking out the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Kati *☘︎・゚ readsRomance.
411 reviews84 followers
September 17, 2022
4.25**** stars

This was so much better than I anticipated.

See, I am so not a fan of the in-the-closet trope but I was promised a good role reversal and even got a hookup-with-a-stranger out of it - so I went in. And in the end I did not only loved the romance, the longing, the almost desperation Sam and Michael felt for each other but I was also totally invested in the plot surrounding the corporate events taking place.

Be mine. Impossible, wonderful things. He wanted to be this for Sam—master him when he needed it, clear his head, then give him his control back.


And he wanted Michael again. Inside his mouth, inside his body, in his mind, making him fly. Every day. Desire so strong it hurt his heart, stole his breath, and pained his soul.

What can I say, I love it when it gets intense. And it was hot. And the overall plot kept my interest the whole time. Not much else for me to want. I can totally recommend it, esp for all my fellow readers who enjoy bdsm play in their romances. I think it’s getting even more intense on that in the next books in the series.

The additional short story for Sam & Michael A Private Merger was included at the end of this ebook.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,328 followers
December 5, 2016
**3.5 stars**

Lovely book. Not riveting, but nice enough to get me to read the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,369 reviews649 followers
November 18, 2015

***3.75 Stars***

A chance meeting in a hotel, an odd twist of fate, and exactly the man he needed.

This was my first Anna Zabo book and it certainly won't be my last!

Michael and Sam had off the charts chemistry! After a scorching-hot one night stand while on vacation, the men come back to their normal everyday lives to find out that Sam is Michael's new CEO.

And so the sexual tension and dance begins...

Both men know that a relationship could never work. Michael is Sam's employee. Sam is deeply in the closet due to his fears of having the business world shun him. Michael is dealing with a past betrayal, both personal and professional. But their attraction cannot be denied. And the release and peace that Michael is able to give Sam is too difficult to resist.

He knew what he wanted, what he couldn't have, what he denied himself because of his pride. He'd risen far, but only by wearing a mask and running from place to place, seeking another company to save or sell. Yet here of all places, for one glorious moment, hed' been wholly himself. Complete.

For those worried about the BDSM elements in the story, I will say you need not worry. The focus is less on the act itself and more on what it makes each man feel...especially Sam. The control. The release. The trust.

His back stung, as did his ass, but softly. A reminder, not a burden. For the first time in ages, a stillness took hold of Sam, not one born of fear, but a calm sprung from contentment.

Trust. Security. Completion.

This is what came after pain, after pleasure, this was what Michael gave him.

Michael and Sam completed and complimented each other perfectly. I really enjoyed watching them work through their emotions while having to deal with office politics. In there own way, they had to finally stand up for what they wanted. Make a decision and take a stand.

However, the office politics got in the way for me at times. There was too much technical jargon and too much space given to business dealings and semantics that I didn't think were needed...certainly not pivotal to the plot. And I think a few questions still remain about how the loose ends of those issues are tied up.

Overall, a really enjoyable read with two flawed but endearing MC's. I'm really looking forward to continuing with the series as I hear the second book is even better!
Profile Image for Ele.
1,265 reviews41 followers
May 13, 2015
*3.75 stars*

Can you guess who is the dominant and who is the submissive?

Sam is a businessman, a man of power. He makes the decisions and dominates the boardroom. BUT under the suits and the icy facade, Sam is the one who needs to BE dominated. In the bedroom, he craves to surrender and give up control, to be tied up and held down, to follow orders and experience pain.

Michael is the perfect match for Sam. Dominant, always in charge in the bedroom. He *sees* Sam, he reads him like an open book and is the only one who can give him what he needs. But Sam is deep in the closet and Michael can't risk his heart again for someone that denies him in public, especially when that someone is his new boss!

Yes, that's right, after a one night stand in Curaçao, Sam learns that Michael is his new employee. Now, there is no room for mistakes and no other option than staying apart, right? Right?

I have to say that the BDSM scenes here are probably the best or among the best I 've ever read. Real passion and emotion, no Master/Sir or Boy/Slave. It's just Michael and Sam. Sam gives himself to Michael and Michael makes Sam fly.

Michael broke the kiss, breathless. “No title. No last names. The only thing I care about is what you are right now.”
High-powered CEO, technologist, ruthless businessman—gone in an instant.
“Yours,” Sam said. “I’m yours.”

There is a lot of internal monologue and Sam going back and forth in his mind started to get a bit repetitive and tiresome, but around 70% we learn why he had so many doubts(fraternization aside) and why he was trying so hard to stay in the closet despite his family knowing, and it actually makes sense and explains things pretty well.

This would have been a 4 plus read for me if it weren't for two things:
*The abrupt ending. Yes, the guys do get their HEA but the story ends rather suddenly and I wanted a little more conclusion.
*Too much business talk. The company, how it started, its problems, how we will save it...all these didn't hurt the romance -there is slow burn and a lot of sexual tension throughout the book- but it made me a little bored.

My first read from Anna Zabo left a deep impression on me, mostly because of the BDSM scenes and the solid writing. I can't wait for the second book of the series :)
Profile Image for Fabi.
1,009 reviews145 followers
March 11, 2019
I listened to the great narration by Iggy Toma.

I really enjoyed this unexpected romance featuring two adult men with inclinations towards S&M. It gets complicated for them when they find themselves accidentally working together. I most enjoyed that they were equals out of bed. It was also curious to see the dynamics upside down at the workplace. It kept me fascinated from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,756 followers
July 27, 2017
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*CEO & The Employee*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

This was a real bust. I think, starting this book, I had the feeling that this just wouldn't work out, however, I needed something to read so... Can't even say I expected more. The story revolves around Sam Randell Anderson (how old?), the new CEO of a failing technology company (Four Rivers Networks?) and Michael ‘Mike’ Sebastian (how old?), one of Sam's new employees (Lead Test Engineer) at said failing technology company. These two men meet each other at a bar in Curacao and has the best night of their lives. Or best sex. After that, they part away expecting never to see each other again only to realize that Sam is Michael's new boss. Can they manage to keep away from each other and save the company or is the attraction too strong to ignore?
“No title. No last names. The only thing I care about is what you are right now.”
High-powered CEO, technologist, ruthless businessman—gone in an instant. The elevator doors opened. “Yours,” Sam said. “I’m yours.”

Overall, the story was bored, predictable and a hint of insta-love which was more a strong case of insta-lust. I don't mind insta-lust, but sometimes it just get too damn much and resembles too much like insta-love, which you all know I hate. There was nothing special about the characters. Sure, they had a connection in bed, but out of it? I didn't feel it. There's light BDSM; some spanking, flogging (?), tying up... but the sex wasn't all that interesting, nor hot either. So not even that worked for me. There was also that annoyingness at Sam being in the closet; I didn't feel his fear. And then it was the feeling of things being thought way more than once so it felt like things were on repeat. Though that might just be me being bored. Glad I'm done with this one.
“If anything I do gets to be too much, say ‘yellow’ and I’ll slow down. Say ‘red’ and I’ll stop. Understand?”
A safeword? Lightning ran through Sam’s veins. He couldn’t be that lucky. “Yes.” Sam leaned into Michael’s touch. “And if I want more?”
“You beg for it.”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (A) Contemporary Romance (M/M)
Series: - Series (Standalone?), Book One
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Michael Sebastian.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Unsure.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Not really.
Will I read this again in the future? - No.
Rating - 1.5/2 stars.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,079 reviews424 followers
June 7, 2017
3.5 Stars

Disclaimer: I’m not into BDSM other than a little slap and tickle or one getting a bit toppy with some restraints, and sometimes with such a tag there is a whole range of mild to extreme that could be present. Anything more than mild does absolutely nothing for me. Remember, staid. That’s me.

So this was definitely a juxtaposition of two things. On one hand you’ve got a highly romantic tale and angsty struggle between a boss and his employee. On the other, you’ve got a bdsm situation that I’m assuming is par for the course, including using leather belts, crops, clamps, you name it.

A chance meet brings together Sam and Michael, where each fall easily into their roles as sub and dom. It was one night of awesome and they never thought they’d see each other again. Except they do. Both know that their interaction can be nothing more than professional, but knowing better and sticking to the rules are two very different things.

Surprisingly smexy when pain wasn’t involved. This had good apt angst regarding their situation, and I always appreciate no over the top melodrama. The rating is for the story itself. I'll just choose to ignore the non-staid parts :)
Profile Image for Ula'ndi Hart.
884 reviews15 followers
June 22, 2017
Overall book rating: 4
Audio Book: Iggy Toma - 3
Book Cover: 3.5

So first I was like>/b>


Because Michael’s commanding personality is just

Sam had his moments that he drove me up the walls but just when it got to breaking point he won me over again.

They were H.O.T together and I guess those moments fed my inner “alpha-crave”.

Man, could I have done with MORE TOGETHER TIME people! I would have devoured a proper moment where they at least could be on “Home turf” with each other.

The ending made me want to throw something!

Where is the rest of it? Seriously?? I’m hoping we’ll get more of them in book two. Just for that I’m deducting ‘n half point. So there.

Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,556 reviews229 followers
January 23, 2018
Completely engaging and sexy! I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up this book. I’d read some so-so reviews and simply put it on the back burner. Well, silly me. It was wonderful!. I got to listen to the unique voice of Iggy Toma narrate this story about two strangers hooking up while on vacation only to discover they have to work together in real life.

The sex was hot. Smart people are hot. Staying in the closet for years on end is not hot. Sam, the erstwhile CEO of a tech company Michael founded, lives in a grand ole walk in closet. Michael, his subordinate at work, though not in bed, is out.

They try to stay away from each other, but, they can’t. Troubles arise, threats of sell outs and blackmail. Out men get an HFN, but don’t feel their story is done. Thanks to my GR Brain Twin for gifting me this audiobook, love ya babes!! You bring joy to my life 😘

Trigger: BDSM lite.
Profile Image for Renée.
1,023 reviews312 followers
May 7, 2015
3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story and the MCs. The writing was solid. However, there is a bit of a time jump when the MCs were getting to know each other where all the "feelings" really developed from lust to something more. And all of that happened off page. So we, the readers, go from lust to changing life paths without seeing that proper relationship development. It had a feeling of insta-love because of that, even though several weeks had passed. I was told and not shown. That's not my favorite, especially when we're talking about the core of the relationship development. Otherwise, an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Trio.
2,900 reviews171 followers
November 23, 2018
On my tbr shelf way too long.

Zabo sets up the characters well though the plot was a bit repetitive till about 1/2 way through. Luckily for me, since I did the audiobook version Iggy Toma's gorgeous voice kept that from being too big a problem.
Profile Image for Ariadna.
408 reviews16 followers
September 2, 2017
This is one of those books for which there was a low buzz when it first came out a few years back. I forgot all about it until the fourth book in the series dropped and this book went on sale for either $0.99 or free. So I got me a copy and put it away until the other day when I sat down and read it in less than one afternoon.

One of few things that this story did really well was the way that it presented the tech business world to the readers. Many of the scenes centered around the behind-the-scenes sounded quite realistic (as far as deadlines and such.) In a way, I was reminded of a less intense version of Return on Investment. Particularly in how deals happen and/or fall through.

It is interesting, then, that the book fails when it comes to the MCs (who are two workaholics) at work. For example, the narrative makes a point of telling the readers that Michael cared for his employees and would support them but none of that is shown. I can't recall a single scene of Michael (or Sam, for that matter) interacting with any employee. This compressed the story, pushing the reader to fill in the gaps as to how certain work goals were met, and who did the coding, etc.

The thing is that, IF the MCs spent so much time at an office that had other employees in it, readers want to see them having conversations with other people aside from each other. IIRC, there are two scenes in which Michael and Sam are meeting with the board. Still, the board members are nothing but mannequins (except for the villain.) What's more, it's not until the last three chapters that we see Michael and Sam talking to 4 new people--which underlines how isolated the rest of the book felt.

And then, there was the kink... which was OK for the most part. For those keeping score at home, the kink level is low-medium (spanking, being ordered around.)

Sadly, the latter sex scenes went on for so long that everything they were doing felt v. mechanical. You've got these two characters talking about how overwhelmed they were while boinking cuz of FEELZ, blah, blah, blah. HOWEVUH, those declarations rang fake. There's NOTHING to support such intense emotions because the MCs weren't well-developed. AT ALL.

Did they have families? Friends? What kind of music did they listened to? HOW OLD ARE THEY? <---actual questions. It seemed to me that the story handwaves Sam being something of a mystery because of his job. He travels a lot, fixing or demolishing companies as needed. There's some more backstory for Michael, but it's poorly handled. About the one thing that's mentioned (in the Sam POV chapters) is that Michael liked to dress like something of a beach bum whenever he wasn't at work. #Thisismyshockedface :|

This warped kind of character blandness resulted in a frustrating read. Since the story's told from Michael AND Sam's POVs, readers were privy to their thoughts. Unfortunately, they're thinking the same thing. And so, reading their inner monologues was a bit like stepping into an echo chamber.

As a result, the romance was WEAK AF. Especially because there's a specific revelation v. late into the story that made me go ??? due to it being addresed kinda half-heartedly and then dropped from the story altogether. Why bring it up, then? WHY????

Representation-wise, there is a badass female character (I'd LOVE to read her story) and two POCs (one who appears on the page and one who is mentioned.) It's a small bit of representation, but you know me, I like to keep track of these things.

TL;DR: The first entry in the Takeover series left me feeling super underwhelmed. Between the poor character development and the extended sex scenes (not to mention the solitude vibe), the only reason why was able to finish this novella was because of its short length.

THAT SAID, even though I kept O_o at the paper-thin MCs and all that mess, I am curious enough about the premise in the second book to (eventually) pick it up.

In the end, consider this a feather-soft recommendation if (and ONLY if) you can get a copy on sale or borrow it from someone. As I understand it, the novels are quasi-standalones in that each book deals with a new couple, but characters from other books make an appearance.
Profile Image for Skye Kilaen.
Author 14 books291 followers
August 6, 2019
If you've ever worked in a startup, in tech, or in a corporation that went through acquisition/merger, and you're comfortable with BDSM, this may be the M/M romance series for you.

Takeover begins in a hotel bar where Michael, an out gay software engineer, picks up Sam, a closeted gay management consultant. The first 13 percent of the book is just their meeting and having sex - but Zabo's writing here is AMAZING. Sam's entire emotional world is laid out for the reader during this encounter. I have rarely seen a sex scene so effectively used to reveal a character's story and personality. Unfortunately for our heroes, they both turn up at work to find that Sam's new interim CEO position is at Michael's soon-to-be-acquired company. Despite both their shock, they forge a working friendship... which is undercut by their mutually anguished desire to connect, Michael's buttons getting pushed by Sam being closeted, and nasty corporate politics. (Do they end up sleeping together despite knowing it's not "proper or ethical"? Yes. Do they take the consequences gracefully? Yes.) I loved the growing respect in their working relationship, that they both find the courage to save their personal relationship, and that they're both such smarty smart-pants.

Just Business is the story of Eli, Sam's CFO at his new Pittsburgh-based consulting company, and Justin, the assistant they hire. Eli is a dom, Justin is a sub, they both have tons of emotional baggage (cw: grief, domestic abuse) - and Justin, at least, hasn't dealt with his at all. It didn't completely work for me - and I think there are significant problems with the disability rep - but there are achingly lovely parts, and Eli is a significant character in the next book who I wouldn't have appreciated as much if I hadn't read his story. (Diversity note: Eli is a Sephardic Jew and disabled from a car accident.)

Due Diligence gave me the two programmers second chance romance I've apparently always wanted. Fazil (bi), one of Sam's technical staff, goes with Eli to fix a company in Seattle. His high-school lover, Todd (gay), is (surprise!) working there as a programmer. Todd wants to reconnect, but first they have to deal with a TON of misconceptions and misunderstandings that broke them up in the first place. Most of that turns out to be Fazil's fault, and he has to work through his guilt while updating his view of his past relationship with Todd. I love how just because these two guys are older and have straightened out what happened, their issues don't just magically disappear. Fazil is still insecure, Todd is once again willing to just make a plan for their lives together, and somehow neither one of these very bright men consider (until way late in the game) Todd moving to Fazil's city instead of the other way around, even though Fazil's the one with the job he loves and Todd's company has -CONTENT WARNING- an extreme problem with homophobia and racism! But eventually Todd gets a clue and asks for help so they can straighten it out. Yay happy endings. (Diversity note: Fazil's family immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey.)

What I super-adore about all three books is the presence of gentle, understanding supervisors and mentors. Sam and Michael are given consequences for their inappropriate relationship by folks in the acquiring company, but they are appropriate, not punitive. Sam extends that same type of grace and humanity to Eli and Justin in the second book, and Sam and Eli do the same for Fazil in the third book.
Profile Image for Anna.
Author 24 books573 followers
October 5, 2016
[October 5, 2016]

Takeover was the first contemporary romance I ever wrote, and I learned a lot in that process, I have to say. I also didn't quite expect that I'd write a series, either. (I learned *a lot* there, too.)

Many people have wanted to know a bit more about what happened after Takeover, so I wrote a little something that's more or less an epilogue, and it's up on my blog as a free read. It's about ~8,500 words long.

It is very much NSFW. *cough*

Profile Image for Marte - Thunderella.
774 reviews102 followers
December 7, 2015
*** 3,5 business stars ***

Audio edition

Overall: 3,5
Performance: 3,5
Story: 3,5

This was overall an okay story. I liked Sam and Michael, I just didn't care much for the business setting. More rightly said, the business issues took up too much of the book. I would have liked to have the MCs get more down to business, if you catch my drift. But when they did, it was hot, but still tender with feelings blossoming. I wish the book would have explored more of their relationship than saving the company. Also, I'm so tired of hearing the word CEO! I wish I could make a search if I had the ebook and see how many hits I get.

Iggy Toma did a decent job.
I wished he'd made more of a difference between Sam and Michael's voices, because sometimes I had trouble knowing who's head I was in since the book is in alternating third person point of view.

I've listened to Iggy Toma once before with Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan. He did that so well, that in the beginning of the Takeover audio, I was half expecting him to talk about Roe, Travis or pony play. LOL 
Profile Image for Amy.
631 reviews
August 21, 2014

Originally posted at http://fictionvixen.com/review-takeov...

CEO, Sam Anderson lives out of a suitcase, traveling on a regular basis as a “fixer” to failing companies. But one night in Curacao, after a hellish workday, he finds himself at the bar with the hopes of drowning his day away with a drink. Michael Sebastian is on his last night of vacation in Curacao. While he has flirted with several of the men on the island, preferring a man of power and confidence, he still has not found one suitable to his liking for a one-night stand; until he sees Sam. Not one for subtlety, Michael buys Sam a drink and immediately assesses Sam as a man who is not used to being in the passenger’s seat, but craves it in the most carnal way. After introductions and propositions are made, they retire to Sam’s hotel room. Michael informs Sam he doesn’t care about last names, titles, or anything else other than the fact that Sam is his for the night. Safe words are offered, clothes are shed, and both embark on a night of extraordinary sex only to part after with a token memento, never to see each other again. When Michael returns to his work the following week, he is faced with a company he helped build that has been mismanaged and is on the verge of being sold. Upon entering the meet-and-greet for the new CEO, the last person he expects to walk in is Sam. Michael is now faced with the startling fact that the man he dominated during an unforgettable one-night stand is his new boss. Both initially agree that what happened in Curacao stays in Curacao. But with the attraction and desire both still feel towards one another, can they really adhere to only a professional decorum and save the company?

I had several issues with this story. Primarily the repetitive and cheesy inner dialogue of both protagonists. Pair that with a boring plot of a failing technological company in need of saving and the book became a task to finish. The beginning of the story sucked me in. Both Michael and Sam had an immediate connection and spark in Curacao. But after they return to their separate lives only to be forced together again in business, it quickly went downhill. I can’t recall how many pages I skipped about the actual “business”. The negotiations, the board meetings, the engineering, the heavily descriptive server room with the whirring ventilation system and equipment. It was uneventful, it was excessively detailed, and it was monotonous to plow through. .

The pairing of Michael and Sam had such potential but it was marred with their tedious over thinking in the moment. Practically every love scene consisted of the internal turmoil of both and the perpetual confessions of “Yes, I want to be with you. It’s just not possible.” and “We shouldn’t be doing this.” This theme of let’s have dirty sex but we can’t be together was highly frustrating. As the reader, I was not sold on Michael and Sam as a couple due to all the exasperation and doubt both continually expressed. Finally, there was an opportunity for the author to deeply explore Sam’s fetish as a powerful businessman who loved to be dominated but it didn’t play out on page. The BDSM elements lacked depth and development and I would have loved to have seen the D/s component be the crux of the story as opposed to the technical ins and outs of the failing company.

Overall, the content of Takeover could have been edited to a novella given the redundancy of why these men should not pursue a relationship and how they were going to save the company. Sadly, a cufflink memento given by one man to the other is probably the only part of the story I will remember when reflecting on this disappointing read.

Profile Image for BevS.
2,689 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2018

Wow, when these two get together they sizzle. This is the story of temporary boss Sam and his employee Michael, and the role reversal they experience when hooking up...Sam, the submissive and Michael who is definitely in charge.

I have to admit that the background info on the business was fairly boring, and unless you're well versed in computer speak, will go straight over your head (as it mostly did mine). Blackmail, intrigue, fraud and a possible Ponzi scheme feature in the story too. HEA?? Oh yes....
Profile Image for Marion.
1,274 reviews34 followers
February 27, 2017
4.25 Stars!
I liked everything about this. From the unexpected (and very hot) meeting in Curacao, to the even more unexpected (and shocking) meeting in the boardroom. Sam and Michael have chemistry that's off the charts and can't keep away from each other...even though it's against corporate policy.

There is BDSM here (which is not normally my thing), but I've got to admit it worked well within this story...and it was HOT!! *fanning myself* It was hot in the shower, and it was hot in the bedroom, and...oh, sorry, I digress...*fanning harder*

Add in a failing company, a corrupt head of the board, solid writing and a great story, Takeover was a pleasure to read.
Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,778 reviews242 followers
August 30, 2014
4.5 Stars

Michael is on the first vacation he's taken in three years, since his two business partners betrayed him when they sold the company the three of them founded and left him high and dry. He's a bit bitter about that, but he has earned it. He was too trusting. He's spent that three years trying to protect the people he hired from the new board of directors who seem hell bent on running the company into the ground. Needless to say, Michael needs to blow off a little bit of steam, so he goes to Curacao. Unfortunately, his whole week seemed to be a bust as far as finding someone with whom to blow off that steam. That is until Sam walks into the hotel bar on Michael's last night there. Michael is a Dominant top, but he isn't really interested in guys that are normally submissive. No, Michael is looking for someone that radiates power, but will give it up temporarily during sex. Everything about Sam screams power. Perfect.

Sam is beyond stressed out. He goes from troubled company to troubled company in effort to turn them around so they can be sold. He hasn't had a permanent residence in years. And, he feels like he can't be open about his homosexuality because there are too many homophobes in boardrooms and he fears that if he is out of the closet he stuffed himself back into in grad school, he will also be permanently out of a job. So, after accepting his newest job, he decided to take a trip to gay friendly Curacao to be himself for just a little while. He never expected to meet someone his first night there, and that Michael is a dominant man is delicious icing.

After that incredibly amazing night in Curacao , neither of them expected to see each other again. They didn't even exchange last names or email addresses. When Sam walks into an all-hands meeting and sees Michael there, he is more than a bit stunned. Michael, too. But Sam isn't out and Michael has already been down that road with a partner he couldn't acknowledge in public. It had disastrous results the last time and no way does Michael want to go through that again. They are both professional and try to keep things above board, though not altogether successfully. Personally, I wish they had been unsuccessful a bit more, because they are hawt.

I liked the surrounding story regarding the prep and sale of Michael's company as well. Corporate politics are something I do my level best to avoid because no good comes of it. Sam isn't a typical CEO, however. One, he is technically literate. I haven't seen that happen all that often. Two, he does care about the people that work for him and he works as hard as anyone.

One thing I really wish the author would have included is

I recommend this story and this author. I look forward to reading future books by her.
Profile Image for Angie Elle.
857 reviews98 followers
February 16, 2017
ARC from Netgalley.

3.5 stars

I’m going to start by admitting that Takeover is my first full-on M/M read. Had it not been for Tiffany Reisz and her The Original Sinners series, I’m not sure it’s a genre into which I’d have ventured. Having said that, I enjoyed this book very much and am a bit overwhelmed at what this is going to mean for my to be read pile!

This story, for me, immediately had two things going for it: a scorching one night stand and an office romance. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better than that. When Michael and Sam’s one night stand comes to an end, neither of them expect to see the other again. But fate (as she often does) has other plans, and the sizzling chemistry between them is irresistible. Michael’s already been part of an office romance that went sour, and he’s not thrilled to find that Sam, the man who won’t stop plaguing his thoughts, is his new boss. Sam is on a mission to keep his personal and professional lives from colliding. He spends his days in an office and the rest of his life in the closet. Michael and Sam were both likable characters. Michael’s heart was in the company he’d helped build from the ground up, and it was obvious the people he worked with were important to him. He knew who he was, and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it. I loved the descriptions of Michael’s personal style, especially as it was in direct contrast to Sam’s. Sam, on the other hand, was still struggling with merging his professional and personal lives. Who he was was at odds with who he felt he needed to be to maintain his intended career path. But if he wanted Michael to take a chance on him, he was going to have to conquer his inner struggle and let everyone see the man he truly was.

The pacing of this story was perfect. It held my attention from the first moment, and it didn’t let up until the last page. The chemistry between the main characters was electric, and the love scenes were detailed and sexy. I felt like the bedroom (etc.) scenes were essential to the story, as they were a huge part of Sam discovering parts of himself he didn’t know were there. The way Sam’s feelings evolved (regarding Michael and himself) were credible, and I really enjoyed how authentic it came across. There was only one thing I didn’t like about this story, and this was Sam’s constant worry about putting his career in jeopardy if he were to come out of the closet and be openly gay. I don’t doubt the validity of his thoughts, but it was so prevalent that in some parts, it was enough to interrupt the flow of the story. As a reader, I only need to be shown this a few times before I know it’s something that is a huge concern for Sam.

Takeover was a wonderful read, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, hot M/M read!

This review was originally posted on Books & Beauty Are My Bag.
Profile Image for JustJen "Miss Conduct".
2,269 reviews150 followers
August 20, 2014

3.5 star review by The Blogger Girls.

Wow, this starts out strong. These guys meet for a hook up on vacation, and boy are they hot. Sam takes the opportunity to let himself go, something he rarely does given the fact that he is completely in the closet at home. Michael is just the man for the job, after all, it’s only for one night.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, that one night stand comes back to haunt them when Sam is brought in to oversee the takeover of Michael’s company, or what should have been Michael’s company, had things not gone badly with the relationship he had with the two other founders. Anyhoo, these two try to remain professional, but Sam cannot resist the things that only Micheal has been able to make him feel. Michael is able to bring out the best in Sam and give him a chance to really let go.

The main issue I had here was the constant reminding of how in the closet Sam was and how ashamed he was about it, etc. He blamed his fears on his career and a bad experience when he was younger. These were understandable but didn’t need reminding as often as they did. Adding to that is Michael’s constant reminding of how he has no intention of over getting involved with another closet case, yet he still moves forward with Sam not knowing he will come out or not. I understand each of their issues, but it got tiresome hearing about them over and over.

Some of the office stuff slowed things down a little, but the scenes of these two in D/S mode were scorching and easily made up for it. I wished that had been developed a little more. In that sense, these guys were perfect together. They make some decisions once they realize what’s important and that they want to give their relationship a go. After a few bumps, they work things out with the company and their careers.

This was an easy smexy read that I found quite enjoyable, despite the issues mentioned above. It looks like Sam and Michael make appearances in the next book, and I’ll be happy to see how they’re making out, and I’ll definitely be signing up to read that one.
Profile Image for Alex (HEABookNerd).
1,600 reviews224 followers
November 13, 2022
Every time I read a new Anna Zabo book I remember how much I love the way they write kink. TAKEOVER was such a poignant and emotional read because you can really feel every struggle that Sam and Michael are going through. After a one night stand on vacation, these two realize that Sam is the new CEO of the company Michael works at. They know getting involved is the worst idea as boss and employee, but they can't resist their attraction for long. As a closeted gay man, Sam in particular struggles with the relationship because he believes coming out will tank his career due to the often conservative and very straight leanings of the top echelon of the business world. He desperately wants to be himself and keep Michael but he doesn't know how to do that without ruining both their careers.

Their relationship is rocky and difficult, but also very spicy and beautifully written. Even with a fair bit of angst, TAKEOVER still manages to be mostly hopeful and I appreciated the support that Sam and Michael find in the business world. Overall, this was a great contemporary romance for readers who like kink and a little bit of angst.

Content Warning: homophobia in the workplace, threats of being outed; recounting of past homophobic assault; pain play

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Favorite Quotes:

Trust. Security. Completion. This was what came after pain, after pleasure, this was what Michael gave him. He spoke his answer against Michael’s collarbone. “You give me peace.”
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