This is the latest in Jenny Holiday’s series about not-quite-billionaires working in not-quite-the-tallest building in Toronto, and it’s her first male-male romance. In her previous books, the stoic businessman was toppled by a woman he didn’t expect. Here, two bankers fight over a client while also fighting their attraction.
Alex and Cary met at summer camp. For several years they were unlikely summer friends; Cary was the popular athlete while Alex was the poor nerd. Then, when they were sixteen, there was a moment of wonder followed by a moment of betrayal, and they’ve been distant ever since.
Now, Cary has started his own investment firm and he needs clients. Alex works for a huge bank and he also needs clients. They’re finally face to face, and there’s a lot of posturing and threatening and staring contests.
Cary is a likable character. He recently stood up to his overbearing uncle (it happened in a previous book, and while you don’t need to read the other books to follow this plot, you might as well because they’re all fun) and struck out on his own. He’s smart and determined.
Alex has a few thousand chips on his shoulder from growing up poor. He turned all of his resentment into a frigid facade, and now he’s an emotionless shell who is very rich and dates models. Male models, because he’s out of the closet. Seeing Cary again starts to break him down, though, because first love can do that to a person.
I’m generally not a fan of reunited lovers stories, because I fee like a big chunk of the story is missing. In this book, Alex and Cary were never really together. However, important moments from their summer camp days are told in flashbacks, enough that I got a feel for their friendship and secret crushes on each other.
It was sad to see them fight as adults. Because they’re both gorgeous and funny and secretly into each other, why can’t they just get over it and get naked? Alas. Instead, as they both pursue one very rich client, they have to play charades together, and attend the same parties, and even go camping together (just like they did when they were teens!).
I had to wonder about this particular client. You would have to be very rich and powerful to get other rich and powerful people to jump through these hoops. If there wasn’t so much at stake, I’d like to think either Alex or Cary would have said, “You know what? This guy is a freak and he would be a terrible client. You take him.”
Eventually there is naked time, but not emotionally naked, if you get what I’m saying. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again here: with this Indulgence line, the characters don’t get to spend a lot of happy time together before they’re forced apart, and then they get the big gesture and then it’s over. It works to move the story quickly, but I would have loved to have more than just a glimpse of Alex with emotion.
Click to purchase: Amazon
His Heart’s Revenge
by Jenny Holiday
Release Date: June 20, 2016