Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Take the Edge Off
Author: T.A. Moore
Heroes: Cal & Joe
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 194 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: You don’t end up an ex-car thief and ex-con because you’re good at resisting temptation… and Cal Tate’s rich new boss is very tempting.
Cal has always been the bad boy lovers don’t bring home to Mom, but now he’d like someone other than a debt collector waiting for him at home. He has a legit job as a driver with his brother’s company, he’s got a doctor on the hook, and he still can’t help crawling into bed with Joseph Bailey.
Joe has never met anyone as easy in their own skin as his new driver. Or as ridiculously beautiful. He’s in London to downsize the family business… and to investigate the abusive emails that imply a dark secret around his mother’s death. But unpicking the lies he’s been told makes Joe realize he isn’t sure who is without them.
When his life falls apart, the only person he can be himself with is Cal. But with the anonymous stalker’s threats increasing, Joe worries that someone will finish the job they started over two decades ago—and end any chance for a happy future between him and Cal.
This one started off a bit rocky for me because the beginning didn’t draw me in as much as I’d have liked. For one, I’m not really a huge fan of stories that start smutty, which this one does, but once we get passed all that and all the “you’re the boss but I’m still going to sleep with you” moments, I really got into the story. Cal drew me in so much that I couldn’t get enough of him. I loved how rough and tumble he was and how he struggled with not going back to his old ways but still had that ‘I don’t care’ attitude. I also really enjoyed the relationship he had with El and wish we had seen more of that. As for Joe, he was a little harder for me to warm up to because his arrogance and egotism really grated on me, especially when he was being so rude about it for no reason. Buuuuut once we start to really get into why Joe is in London and seeing how he struggles with coming out, I really started to like him. I liked that he wanted to find answers about his mother that ended up taking him places he didn’t expect and I liked that he finally admitted who he was by embracing his sexuality.
While I enjoyed this one, I had a few issues with it. For one, I wasn’t a fan of the beginning, I LOVED the middle but then wasn’t a fan of the ending. The beginning starts with Cal and Joe immediately getting into bed together, which is fine, but then I felt like it was all smut and then BAM, they’re caring for each other. It was a little sudden and hard for me to believe that Joe would ignore Cal for days with no yearning in his POVs but then all of a sudden want more from Cal and expect Cal to just understand this. The ending left me wanting, though. I felt like Cal and Joe were just starting to get to a place where I could really see them going somewhere and then Joe decides to just go off half-cocked in his investigation and then things got chaotic. I didn’t really understand what was going on or why and then I felt like it ended too soon and not verify satisfyingly. I wanted answers, I wanted to know if Edward was okay and I wanted more than just a ‘So you’re coming back to the States with me’ from Joe. He didn’t even ask! He just told Cal that’s what was happening and didn’t even tell Cal he wanted him to go with Joe as a boyfriend. Because of that I felt like there was a little disconnect between Joe and Cal in the end because there was no communication between them on what would happen next… only an assumption on Joe’s part. Which I guess fits Joe’s personality at the beginning of the book but didn’t really line up with who Joe developed into at the end.
In the end, I still enjoyed this one. I liked Cal and Joe as characters, even if I thought they didn’t really communicate or connect where/when I wanted them to. I did like the overall story and seeing them muddle through Joe’s life. I would have liked a little more answers and a little more connection between them but I won’t lie that this author has such a way of writing that really draws me into the story, even when I don’t connect with the couple as much as I’d like. Definitely give this a go if you’re looking for something smutty with a little bit of self-discovery thrown in.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*