Daily Grind, by Anna Zabo
Series: Takeover, Book 4 (Stand Alone)
Publisher: InterMix (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Brian Keppler, owner of Grounds N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.
As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.
But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?
Puns, fluff, trope subversion, hot gingers, and ridiculous flirting techniques!
Warning! Contains steamy scenes, frothy fluff, two roasted until almost burnt (out) businessmen, one very hot British Ginger and all the ridiculous coffee-related puns you could possibly imagine.
Daily Grind is the fourth book in the Takeover series, which centres around businessmen and their partners and features cameos from other characters but no prior knowledge is needed to enjoy this standalone story. Instead of the tech firm featured in the previous novels the action revolves around Grounds N’at, the coffee shop on the ground floor of the building where the tech company is located, and its owner Brian Keppler. Brian is a beloved local fixture dedicated to providing the best tasting, highest quality coffee related experience in Pittsburgh. He’s also overworked, underfed, stressed beyond the breaking point and in danger of losing the business he adores. To top it off Brian is lonely, closeted, and unsure how to, or even if he should, do anything about either.
And then Rob Ancroft enters his shop like a burst of red haired, freckled, intensely charismatic sunshine, and Brian knows exactly what he wants, and it’s making terrible coffee puns that shouldn’t make him swoon but absolutely do. Rob is patient and kind, funny and supportive, everything Brian needs – and deserves. If only he would let himself have it all.
The chemistry between Rob and Brian is immediate and tangible, and even though they spend a majority of the novel near but apart, the passion and playfulness they share when together is delightful and often exhilarating to read. Brian’s self-realisation that he was ‘allowed’ to be bisexual felt believable and, certainly to me, relatable – the stigma against bisexuality even in the LGBTQ community is real and many of the feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty were similar to what I have wrestled with as well. I also liked that despite being a romance cliché CEO Rob isn’t an alphahole dominant (thank god), nor is Brian’s less powerful status treated as inferior to his own; they are both equal in all the ways that matter, which is also demonstrated both in and out of the bedroom. Brian’s frenzied determination not to accept assistance and demonstrate his worth by doing everything for his shop alone is the main conflict between them, and while his refusal to ask for help was occasionally very frustrating as a reader (and made the middle third drag on a bit longer than it had to) at least it felt like a real-world issue, rather than drama created solely for the purpose of keeping a couple apart in a novel.
With a well rounded cast of supporting characters, much needed emotional catharsis and a believable contemporary plot, there’s a lot to enjoy in this story, so if you’re in need of some meet-cute fluff that subverts romance novel clichés and is also hotter than a freshly made americano, I can definitely recommend Daily Grind off the MMmenu. 😉
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
Find Anna online at https://annazabo.com/
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.