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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Power Play by Mari Carr

Power Play by Mari Carr
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (95 Pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking, Anal Play/Sex, Exhibitionism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

There’s only room at the top for one person…at a time.

A Black & White Collection story.

Back on American soil for the first time in nine months, Reed Donovan is ready to blow off some steam. The beauty he spots at the local bar not only catches his eye, she snags him by the balls when she announces she’s always fantasized about having sex with a stranger—a fantasy he is more than willing to help come true.

Explosive fireworks over, Francesca rebuffs his invitation to dinner. While the sparks may fly between them physically, she doesn’t believe they could spend more than a few minutes in the same room without arguing. Her suspicions prove correct when Francesca reports for her new position the next morning—and discovers she’s been hired as Reed’s new marketing partner.

When Reed and Francesca immediately begin butting heads about future pitches to prospective clients, Reed proposes a bet. For the next three presentations, they’ll both make a pitch. Whoever wins the campaign also wins a fantasy.

The competition is fierce—and hot. And the hotter it gets, the closer they come to the brink of something they never intended…or expected.

Frankie Carlyle knows what she wants: success in the business world. She fought her way to the top of her field, and for her birthday, she decides to give herself a special gift: a one-night stand with a nameless stranger. She starts her new job tomorrow, but tonight it’s all about her desire.

Reed Donovan is convinced his boss, and uncle, has lost confidence in his abilities. Why else would he have sent Reed to London for the past nine months, causing the firm to lose a prime contract to a competitor when Reed’s partner failed to live up to expectations? When Reed spies the gorgeous but aloof woman at the bar of his cousin’s place, he decides what he needs is to blow off some steam with her. Nameless hot sex is his goal, and he has his way with her out behind the bar.

But in the light of day, Reed discovers that his uncle, CEO of The Donovan Group, has hired a new partner for him-none other than the sharp young pup who stole the last contract out from under their noses. Imagine the surprise when Reed and Frankie come face to face in Brian’s office. Can these two set aside their differences and work together? Will the wager they make backfire on both of them? Can Reed convince Frankie that love doesn’t have to mean losing all control?

Mari Carr has a marvelous sense of romance. She looks at things with a unique eye toward fun and love and passion, and this story is a treat to read. The characters here are both strong and determined people, sure of themselves and their abilities, but with that one little bit inside where they each have doubts of one kind or another. The pace of this one is fantastic, and I could not put it down.

Frankie is an independent woman. She has worked hard to get where she is, and she refuses to become just another ‘little woman’. She’s watched her mother bow to her father’s wishes all her life, and vows that will not happen to her. I enjoyed watching her give as good as she got, and loved her ‘take no prisoners’ attitude. She is smart, talented and doesn’t take guff from anyone. I loved that she was willing to take chances, and wasn’t afraid to try new things.

Reed is a fantastic character. He is strong, intelligent and determined to win, no matter what. I liked that he recognized in Frankie many of his own strengths and ideals. I also loved when he recognized that he couldn’t win Frankie like he would other women, and so came up with something they could both live with. The inner doubts he had make him more vulnerable, and I loved it when he discovered what he was willing to do to keep Frankie.

This is a very hot and steamy book, as most of Mari Carr’s books tend to be. But there is a sense of humor behind it and the passion and heat are, as always, tempered with humor and romance. The wager becomes less about who will win, and more about discovering who these two are, deep inside. The ending was all I could have hoped for, and I recommend this one whole-heartedly to all.

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