At the tender age of twenty-one, Kade Hutchins is at a crossroads, having endured enough hardship to last a thousand lifetimes. With money tight and career at a standstill, he’s running out of time and options. The day he applies for a job that isn’t exactly in his field of expertise and meets his new boss, Mr. Preston, is the day his fate is changed irrecoverably.
Luke Preston is the kind of man others envy. Rich, successful and unattached, his no-nonsense, ‘take no prisoners attitude’ has made him one of the highest profile litigators in Manhattan. He’s also a man with secrets. Secrets he wants kept under wraps since tragedy rocked his privileged existence to the core. When Kade, a man some fifteen years his junior steps foot inside his office, Luke wonders if his heart will survive.
Editor – R. E. Hargrave
Cover Designer – The Graphics Shed
Genre – Contemporary Gay Romance
Series – Book 1 – Men of New York
Length – 76k
Release Date – January 26, 2018
Universal link: myBook.to/HisPersonalAssist
Brushing an errant piece of fluff off my shoulder, I straightened the hem of my shirt and took a deep breath. Not that it did much good. By the time the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor, my nerves were beyond frazzled. With less than a minute to spare, I stepped inside the plush, modern offices.
A striking woman sitting behind a large reception desk greeted me, looking most business-like. What didn’t make sense was the way she seemed ready to pounce the second she saw me. I was surprised she didn’t fall flat on her face, considering she wore a pencil-thin black skirt and high-heeled shoes and was on her feet and running toward me like a crazy person.
“Thank God you’re here!”
“Um, what?” I took a wary step backward. She was kinda scary.
“Please tell me you’re Kade Hutchins.”
“Oh. Yes, I am.”
She held out her hand and when I took it in mine, I was impressed by her firm, assured grip. “You have no idea how relieved I am to see you.”
“Uh, thanks?” The warm smile she gave in response made her round, hazel eyes sparkle. Her hospitable attitude made me feel at ease in an instant, and I couldn’t help but grin back.
“The name’s Kimberly O’Connell. I’m the paralegal around here.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. O’Connell.”
“Oh, please, I insist you call me Kimberly.”
Releasing her hold on me, she pointed a manicured finger at the closed office door located behind the desk. “Come on, Kade. Let’s get you in to see His Highness.” Covering her mouth, she giggled.
“Who?” I stopped myself from joining in, but it wasn’t easy. She had an infectious laugh.
“Luke Preston. The ass you spoke to on the phone.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to agree with her or not, but decided it would be best to err on the side of caution.
“Sorry about him, by the way.” Kimberly knocked, before lowering her voice to a faint whisper, and adding, “I had no idea he was going to answer the phone when I went to make his coffee. He usually lets the machine pick up, but I didn’t think to switch it on since I was only going to be gone a few minutes.”
The moment I let out a nervous chuckle, the door to Luke Preston’s office flew open.
Tall and broad-shouldered, the strong jaw, high cheekbones, and dark brown hair slicked back so not a lock was out of place, coupled with the way his body filled out that navy suit, made Luke Preston look more like a model than a lawyer. My guess was that he was in his mid-thirties, but holy shit, did he wear it well. Startling emerald eyes fringed by long, dark lashes stared at me with such intensity that, for a split second, I forgot to breathe. His sharp features were softened by flawless, pale skin and full lips so plush, I wondered what they would feel like pressed against my own. In that briefest of moments, I knew I was in trouble as my head began waging a war with my heart so fierce, I didn’t know whether to pull him in for a kiss or run for my life.
All I could do was wait for him to say something… anything to break the tension.
Review by Elaine White
Book – His Personal Assistant (Men of New York #1)
Author – L.J. Harris
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
Cover – Nice
POV – 1st person, dual POV
Would I read it again – No
Genre – LGBT, MM, Romance, Contemporary
WARNINGS: dom/sub relationship, voyeurism, cancer, loss, depression
Okay, so I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it had a lot of potential and I know others will love the serious hotness of the relationship, but for me, it lacked a little of the romance and depth that I want from a contemporary romance novel.
The story started with Kade’s POV and kept his POV until 38% of the way in, in which it switched to Luke’s POV. It never returned to Kade’s POV again, which I found disappointing. I would have liked a more equal dual POV, as it’s usually done – alternating between both main characters throughout. This story divided the book without equality, in Luke’s favour, which was also disappointing because I’d really come to like Kade up to this point and wanted to see more of him.
I normally love the Alpha-male type, but Luke took things to a whole new level. Instead of being charmingly arrogant or confident, he was every stereotypical Alpha-male personality type all rolled up into one and it proved to be far too much for me. There wasn’t one aspect of softness or compassion or even romance to anything he did or said, throughout the entirety of the first 38%, where we saw him only through Kade’s eyes. I found this disconcerting, because this was the part where we were supposed to see why Kade was falling for him, why he was attracted beyond the superficial, and that never happened.
Yet, by the time Luke’s POV came around, Kade himself did a complete 180 switch in personality. He went from nervous, a little meek but with a feistiness that came out whenever Luke pushed too far, to someone who was far more aggressive. Kade became the instigator of every sexual encounter; he became pushy, narcissistic and compromised his own relationship needs and wants to give Luke everything he wanted.
However…once Luke’s POV settled, both characters became more solid in characterisation, and more consistent. And despite their chemistry feeling forced within their first meeting and during Kade’s POV, their relationship and their interactions became much more natural during Luke’s POV. Until the turning point at 38%, the entire sexual tension, attraction, and chemistry between Luke and Kade felt forced. It was a case of insta-lust that didn’t feel natural. But, once they were an item and Kade’s personality changed at 38%, it felt more comfortable.
When it came to the secondary characters, I wasn’t a fan. There was actually a big issue of stereotypes within characterisation, from flambuoyant gay men, gay men flirting with straight friends, fag-hags interfering in other people’s relationships, and straight strangers saying “if I wasn’t straight, I’d do you”, as well as the exaggerated Italian accent of the tailor. Because it was mostly confined to secondary characters, I didn’t let it weigh too heavily on my rating, but it did bother me. And as I can see that Trey and/or Elliot is likely to be the focus of another book in the series, I can admit that I’m not inclined to continue through the Men of New York from here on out.
Overall, I enjoyed the majority of the story. Once the relationship settled, there were sweet, tender and hot moments that showed their relationship progression. I liked Luke’s relationship with his father and the way he felt about his late mother. Once they knew each other, Luke and Kade’s relationship blossomed into something much more romantic than it began.
But, there were definite issues that brought my rating down. I wasn’t happy about being thrown into a dom/sub relationship without warning. Because of the blurb, I’d expected a sweet contemporary romance, maybe with a little heat, but what I got was a whole lot of lust and sex scenes with very little romance. It doesn’t go as far as BDSM, but there is a definite dominance of Luke over Kade, that carries all throughout the story from the start of their first meeting to the end of the novel. This led to an overabundance of sex scenes that really weren’t necessary. It limited their relationship to one of lust and sex rather than the really tender emotional connection that had brought them together and could have made this a much more romantic story than it proved to be.
Despite some strange word choices and sentence structures that didn’t feel natural, I enjoyed the writing style and the plotting of the story. It began sensibly, with a meeting that was a little exaggerated but overall normal for the characters, and progressed quickly into enemies-to-lovers for the first half of the book.
With some great potential and great writing structure, there was a mix of characterisation and romance that sometimes felt like two stories conjoined and separated by the two POV’s. With some more consistent and frequent switches of POV, some of the issues I had may have been resolved. I would have preferred less of the heavy dom/sub elements, or a warning to expect them in the story, which would have helped me enjoy the book a lot more. As it is, it was a good contemporary story that will probably better suit readers with a higher tolerance of frequently hot sex scenes.
A US$20 gift card & e-copies of The Haunting of Angus Macgregor and Heart of Glass
She discovered a passion for putting pen to paper in her later years, jotting down poems in birthday cards for family members.
It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she’s been unable to switch off the urge to share her stories.
L.J. Harris discovered that as much as experiencing pain, loss and betrayal can be devastating, capturing the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure without firsthand knowledge would have proved difficult.
L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.
All books can be found on her Amazon profile here