Acquisition and Merger (The Takeover Duet 1 & 2) by Chelle Bliss
Narrated by Brian Pellino & Natasha Soudek
Adult Contemporary. Must Be Read Together.
The Takeover Duet by Chelle Bliss was very different from the typical billionaire CEO type book, and I enjoyed how unique it was. I first read the little prequel, Takeover (FREE), and loved it and got the rest on audio. I think I would have enjoyed the duet more if I continued to read it rather than listen.
Lauren Bradley is CEO of the #2 aerospace company. They are about to make an announcement of a discovery that will change the industry completely and catapult them to the top, when they learn there was some sneaky overnight business dealings, and Cozza, the #1 company, led by the elusive Antonio Forte was poised to do a hostile takeover.
Lauren’s had a rough day and knows she has to face the board the next day to convince them to hang on to their shares, so she goes out for a drink to blow off some steam. When she meets the hottest guy ever, she gives the sexy Italian a fake name and job. She just wanted to be a regular woman for the night, not a top CEO. “Elizabeth” and “Lou” had one super hot night together. Imagine her surprise when “Lou” turned out to be the one and only, you guessed it, Antonio Forte. The man who is ruining her career and life.
“You can’t stop what you’ve started. We’re at war, Mr. Forte. No matter how well you kiss, I’ll never forget the simple fact that you’re trying to destroy my company and, by default, me. We are nothing. We will never be more than enemies.”
Antonio won’t let that stop him. He gets what he wants.
“I want it all. I want her. I want Interstellar. I want everything. I’m the type of man who’s used to getting it too.”
Every moment is laced with sexual tension even though they are supposed to hate each other, but they can’t resist long.
“The kiss. The touch. The smell. The sounds. The taste. Everything in this moment is about Antonio and me, with a dash of Elizabeth and Lou.”
There is a lot of back and forth in the first installment, and it ends on a big cliffy, so you must read Merger for the full story.
Merger is a little less about the business and suspense side of things (after the initial issue is solved), and more about the relationship and his wonderful, big Italian family. I loved this part!
“I’d give up my world to be with you, Lauren.”
While I loved Lauren when I read her in the prequel, I had trouble connecting with her in Acquisition and Merger, and I think it was the narration that held me back. I found Natasha to be very aggressive in her reading, punctuating the last word of each sentence in an angry sort of way that sort of turned me off to the character. When she acted out Antonio’s parts, she totally sounded like she was doing a Dracula impression. While I loved that I totally bought the man’s part, forgetting that a woman was narrating it, when Brian would speak with his accent it would make me realize how silly she sounded sounding like Dracula.
While I can usually separate the story from the narration enough to rate separately, in this case I just couldn’t. I just never fell for Lauren enough to make me LOVE the books as much as I think I would have if I read them. Me loving the prequel just backs this theory up. The story had everything I love in a book; some business, intrigue, suspense, good side characters, banter, sexy times, and great family. But to fully fall for a book, I need to love the heroine, and the narration held me back from that love.
- The two-part story worked very well in this case. It needed the cliffy (easy to say when I had the second one ready to go!).
- Great combination of suspense, intrigue, romance and sexy times.
- The details of the aerospace industry and other business moments.
- I loved the whole big Italian family.
- The second book resolved the conflict quickly enough to shift the focus on the couple the rest of the story.
- Her best friend.
- Some parts were very predictable.
- Antonio wasn’t quite alpha enough for me.
- The female narrator.
I mentioned this above, but I found Natasha very aggressive and almost angry sounding as she read the female parts. I think this is how she felt a strong woman would speak. Her portrayal of Antonio sounded like Dracula instead of Italian. While I would have loved her doing this for a vampire book, it didn’t quite work for this, especially when you would hear Brian Pallino do the Italian accent. He was sexy and perfect for the part and I loved his narration.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4 stars, 3.75 heat, 3.5 Narration (2.5 for her, 5 for him)
*Audible books are $1.99 upgrades*