Title: Love by Design
Author: Sam B. Morgan
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 205 Pages
At a Glance: I quite enjoyed joining the endearing Ben and difficult Jeremy on this friends—to (sort of) enemies—to friends—to lovers second chance romance.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Two years ago, Jeremy Lanzo’s life almost fell apart when he fell for his boss and the golden prince of McIntyre Corporation, Benjamin McIntyre, the Third. After being ruthlessly rejected, he swore off the blue-eyed blond and did everything in his power never to cross paths with Ben again.
Now the two of them have been chosen to lead the company’s largest project to date; a lavish hotel in Sydney, Australia. Working and residing with Ben is difficult enough, but Ben’s continued attempts to make amends and re-kindling their broken friendship may prove more tempting than either of them can handle.
Review: Ben and Jeremy are about to embark on another project in Sydney after having their friendship blow up and ending two years before. Ben is hoping to build a bridge and fix what went wrong, while Jeremy is doing everything in his power to keep Ben out of his heart and life. As the story flows the reader gets both MCs’ perspectives on what happened two years prior, via the alternate POVs, and can sympathize with both characters and how they are feeling and what happened.
Ben is an engaging mix as an in charge corporate golden boy who closes deals and makes things happen, while somehow being naïve and innocent in matters of the heart and maturity. When he is not in a boardroom or figuring out the perfect setting to close the deal, he is finding excitement in the littlest things and food. Most people only see the heir to McIntyre Corporation, but a few—like Jeremy and Addison—get to experience the man inside who is constantly trying to make his father happy while drowning in self-doubt. This is what makes it hard for Jeremy because he knows the real-man, his authenticity and kindness, his quirks and his internal struggles. He tries and tries to keep distance, but it’s not easy in the face of such genuineness. I got frustrated with Ben because I adored his character and all his little quirks so much that I wanted him to see his own worth, and that he was more than the golden boy and the company that holds his name. I wanted him to see himself the way Jeremy and Addison saw him.
Jeremy has built sooooo many walls. He comes off as snobbish and difficult to most people. But somehow Ben managed. two years prior. to find a way beyond them. He tries to keep Ben out, and strives, when they arrive in Sydney, to keep their relationship work only, and to avoid any personal interaction. But it’s hard when Ben is pushing so hard for the opposite. Jeremy shuts people out and keeps mostly to himself, using his art to escape the thoughts that pounce around and make him question his worth. I was fond of Jeremy’s character in that he is who he is. He doesn’t magically become a sociable person with others, his surly nature itself was endearing in its own way, because only Ben and Damien’s family really know that caring individual beneath the surface. He makes people work for his affection and admiration and doesn’t give it easily.
The beginning of the book is a lot of push and pull between the two protagonists, Ben trying to bridge the gap, Jeremy doing his level best to keep a distance while succumbing to the pull Ben has over him, only to rally and regroup again.
When the two finally get their act together and throw away the doubt, fear and insecurities, it is explosive. The tension from the first part of the book makes it oh so sweet to see the two together, but it’s also pretty darn hot.
Unfortunately, they are in a bubble. And the real world is calling. The obstacles that existed before have not gone away, so they find themselves in a conundrum on how to navigate their situation. It is not without some pretty emotional moments, and my heart went out to Ben during a particular scene.
The road the two traveled through this story was not an easy road, but I wouldn’t say it was overly riddled with angst. It was more overcoming obstacles of the emotional kind on both sides. There was a lot of holding on to grudges, and sometimes a rehashing of their pasts and their feelings about the past. I found it a little repetitive, but also I know realistically that is often how things happen.
I quite enjoyed joining the endearing Ben and difficult Jeremy on this friends—to (sort of) enemies—to friends—to lovers second chance romance.
You can buy Love by Design here: