The Last Man on Earth
Book 1 in The Graysons Series
by Tracy Anne Warren
ISBN-10: 0451466004 ISBN-13: 978-0451466006
Signet/Penguin Published: January 7, 2014
E-Book/Paperback 352 pages
E-Galley provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From New York Times bestselling author Tracy Anne Warren comes a sexy and romantic new contemporary series about corporate combat in the boardroom and under-the-covers passion in the bedroom…
Idealistic good girl Madelyn Grayson believes in doing what’s right. Even as a high-powered executive in the mad world of advertising, she doesn’t cut corners, making her ad campaigns sizzle without having to burn anyone along the way.
Rival exec Zack Douglas never wastes an opportunity to land the next big deal—especially when it benefits him. A bad boy with a reputation to match, he has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter who gets in the way.
When a hot promotion pops up at their company, both Zack and Madelyn wind up on the short list for the position. But as the two square off, they discover that being heated rivals in the office makes for scorching bed play behind closed doors. Will Madelyn’s steamy, secret affair with Mr. Vice make her compromise her ideals—or worse, lose her heart?
The road to love in romance novels is always fraught with obstacles. Otherwise there would be no story, right? But eventually the road clears and these days there’s almost always an HEA. Those obstacles can be big or small, internally imposed, attitudinal, societal/external, based in past experience or, too often, the result of miscommunication or poor communication. In this story the obstacles are layered nicely. For example the sequential obstacles are a corporate ban on fraternization, and his perception she is in a relationship. An attitudinal issue throughout is that she doesn’t want a relationship with him to affect her career, and they are office rivals, even setting him up as her nemesis. I’ve never worked in a company where you had to “win” accounts and had rivals; that seems like such a hostile work environment! His issues are based in his past: a flighty selfish mother and ex-wife. Some of the office interaction provides comedic moments.
I didn’t really see the two fighting over jobs in the story — that seemed more in the background. I saw more day to day working at separate tasks. I think the story is more about the internal wars they have going on. Madelyn has a rational view of love and relationships, even when she falls in love. She knows what she wants and I like the emotional quandary Warren writes into the story between love, goals, career and practicality. I also liked how Madelyn’s personality was multifaceted with contradictory aspects: soft, family girl at home and a tough barracuda at work.
In the end the relationship is possible because even though she professes to loathe him, he has always been interested in her and can therefore make a move with out having to make a 180 degree turn on his attitude. She does have to make that turn, at least internally.
There’s one scene towards the beginning where they end up in the restaurant of a bowling alley and he bossily orders for them as he has experiece with greasy spoons and he doesn’t. I was amused by why he orders the way he does. It was a good detail that reveals a lot about each character. I did think a few features of the story showed the writer’s experience as a historical romance novelist because they felt anachronistic.
This book is sexy without being extremely graphic or detailed — often the steamier action is left to the reader’s imagination. I would have liked it a little more graphic. One thing I didn’t like was how he is very aggressive in the bedroom (and it’s not a D/s thing); a few times I thought he had gone too far for the writer to be able to paint it in passionate terms so it is not sex based in force.
The upshot is that there’s an interesting story here, with good, contemporary issues that are not based in a character refusing to reveal something about him/herself to the other. The writing is competent and the book has some good, humorous moments. The female love interest, Madelyn is pretty well-fleshed out as a three-dimensional character. That makes sense since the series is about her family, the Graysons. It was a decent read that would be great on the beach or during a trip for people who like a little steam, but not too much.