Nom de Plume Rating: ★★★★★
Reading Time: 5 minutes
*FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of Counterbalance from Kelly Moran in exchange for an honest review. I have in no way been influenced by the author and/or publisher’s generosity. These stars didn’t just fall from SPACE, baby!
She’s a beauty, but he’s just a geek.
The world might think billionaire Xavier Gaines has it all, but he’s got a big problem. His successful software company is about to sign a government contract that’ll land him smack in the glare of the public limelight, and his lifelong battle with social anxiety has marked him as a cold, uncaring bastard in the eyes of the press. To dispel the unflattering image, he needs help, and there’s only one person he trusts with the job—Peyton Smoke. Gorgeous, kind, and funny, she agrees to be his media relations director and soon embeds herself so deeply in his life, his world will crumble if anything upsets the balance. He cannot screw up their solid unit. No matter how achingly he desires her. Yet, how is he supposed to resist when she tugs emotions from him he didn’t think he was capable of experiencing? Especially since it appears he’s not the only one fighting their undeniable attraction.
Ever-after just might be possible…if he can convince her to believe in love again.
Peyton Smoke is looking for a change, and working at Gaines Industries has given her the boost she needs to fill the empty void in her life. Xavier is the perfect boss. Under his seemingly callous, frigid demeanor lies a compassionate man who cares about causes and those precious few he lets into his inner circle. What she wasn’t prepared for is the smoldering passion suddenly flaring between them, nor the hot-as-sin alpha side beneath the layer of sexy nerd. Getting involved with him puts more than her job at risk. She’s been trampled one too many times, and she vowed never to leave herself vulnerable again. But the heart wants what the heart wants. If only she can figure out whether his feelings are genuine or if this is a mistaken case of gratitude wrapped in lust, then their shot at forever may not seem like such a fruitless hope.
First Line: “Your last appointment is here, Mr. Gaines.”
He could be doing quantum physics in his head or undressing her in his mind—she’d never know the difference… But to be the focus of all his attention, no matter what he was thinking, was unnervingly sexy.
Aye caramba! Nothing (and I mean nothing) is sexier than a man who speaks about subatomic particles. Am I right? Or am I RIGHT?
Let’s skip the preamble: Counterbalance is:
(pick an option, any option)
Does Kelly Moran just sit down and say, “My hero is going to be a geek today,” or does a writing god posses Kelly’s body in order to synthesize these characters and bring them to life? I’ll tell you: it must be both, because Counterbalance is just unreal.
Shall we begin?
Xavier Gaines was bullied in school. The scrawny, lowly, geek. Bye-bye scrawny and hello handsome nerd! Now, Xavier is a billionaire about to sign a contract with the government to assist the military and their veterans.
He only has one problem: his image.
Xavier is known as a cold-hearted iceberg, and no one wants to cruise on the Titanic heading straight for THAT. So he looks into his past trying to think of someone (anyone) who brought out the good in him.
Entering: Peyton Smoke. When the two were young, Peyton stood up for Xavier in school, saved him a seat at lunch, and appreciated his awkwardness. In Xavier’s eyes, Peyton had an uncanny ability to make people feel important… something he obviously struggles with. People don’t lose a quality like that, so Xavier hires Peyton to be his new Media Relations Director in hopes to transform his image.
Peyton Smoke is a woman of many talents. One of those talents is hiding her true emotions. After suffering the loss of her fiancé, and the death of her brother, she is unsure of her capacity to love and be whole again. Two men were eaten away by war, and now she is left with the pains of it until Xavier comes along. While working together, the pair is inseparable; charities, public events, his home… her home…
I give up… Yes, I’ll slay your dragons. I’ll do anything you goddamn want. I don’t have the strength to fight you.
Did he just say anything?
I think the line between work and play are officially blurred. But we all know that dating your boss is not a smart endeavor…
Peyton’s evaluation of men’s intentions has not been clear since the passing of the two men closest to her. Are Xavier’s emotions real? Or is he just being appreciative and she’s reading too far into their… arrangement? Does he PITY her? This ship has officially crashed and Peyton is sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic! When Peyton leaves, how is Xavier going to recreate his outward appearance without her?
I mean, she is going to leave him, right? All of that confusion can drive a woman crazy! The man is a walking juxtaposition!
Never harsh, forever observant, sometimes shy, often commanding, rarely indifferent, and always—always—considerate. Alpha and beta. Dominant and submissive.
Peyton and Xavier are two souls completely intermingled. Two opposites, and two people hungry for their other half. But what do you do when a relationship chooses you? Do you embrace the challenge, or run away… say, to Paris?
Loving you scares me, X. What we have is so much stronger than anything I’ve ever known.
DON’T. RUN. AWAY. TO. PARIS!
Kelly Moran has done it again. Counterbalance is seductive and magnetizing. Here we have a brilliantly flawed man, and the only woman who has all the power to change his fate. Well, if she only chooses to do so.
? In physics, “quantum” is defined as the quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents. (Is this totally awesome because I’m an engineer?… Maybe. LOLZ) In other words: Xavier is irresistible and radiates nerdy perfection.
All aboard The Kelly Moran! ⚓ Kelly, thank you for this gift.
? AMAZON ?