Nothing ventured, nothing banged…
I still don’t know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor–our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down…
It can never happen again. I don’t even like Braht. He’s too slick. He’s a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can’t I get him out of my head?
There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She’s the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don’t call her the Ashkicker for nothing.
Eventually I’ll win her over…if my past doesn’t ruin everything first.
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After being introduced to Braht in Man Hands, I didn’t quite know how to take him; like Ash, I had mixed feelings towards him, not the lust/hate variety that Ash has but more so in the varying state of liking him and being annoyed by him, but I can happily say my view of him drastically changed by the end of his and Ash’s story.
Braht is not a typical book hero, and maybe that’s why he was a bit off-putting at the beginning of Man Card. But as the book continued, and Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby allowed readers to gain further insight into this metrosexual realtor, I found myself intrigued by how multifaceted of a character he actually turns out to be, and by the end, I truly believed that even though Braht is quite atypical when it comes to society’s standards of a ‘real man,’ I didn’t feel the need to make Braht turn in his man card; on the contrary, I wanted to create a new type of man card that truly fit this crazy, pampered, and quite amazing man!
There’s no better woman for a man like Braht than Ash Power, and I loved witnessing them circle around one another, challenging each other and proving just how complementary their personalities are. Like Braht, there’s so much more to Ash than what she allows most people to see; there’s a definite reason that she portrays herself to be this strong, independent, and kickass woman, and don’t get me wrong, she is all of those things, but there’s a vulnerability to her that few see, but because readers get her perspective throughout the story, we’re allowed to understand why she’s built a wall around her heart…why she’s not going to make the same mistakes she did five years ago…why she’d rather pretend to hate Braht than to risk falling for the man who lights her up and makes her nipples hard;)
The story line of Man Card pits these two competitive realtors against one another, but what it also does is sexually rile them up to the point where they have no other option but to give into those lust-filled feelings, and while it seems to be a point of contention for Ash, at least at the beginning, she’s who Braht has always wanted and the fact that she challenges him in all areas makes it a sweet victory when she finally succumbs to the man who considers himself Man 2.0 because he’s as in touch with his femininity as he is with his ability to protect the feisty woman who owns his heart, his body, and every other manscaped part of him.
I really enjoyed Ash and Braht’s story. It was nothing like I expected and while that through me off a bit at the beginning, the further I got into the storyline and the more the authors allowed me to see who Ash and Braht are beneath their hostile and competitive personas, the more I was not only entertained but even a bit smitten by the ‘reincarnation of 80s James Spader’ and the woman he would gladly turn in his man card for.
4.5 Poison Apples
“Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.
“All of them?” He chugs his margarita.
“Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”
“That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. “When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”
I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. “Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”
“Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. “In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”
I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.
“And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”
“I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.
“Yeah, you are,” he whispers. “It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”
“Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.
“Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”
I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: “I have a head for business and a body for sin.”
Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. “Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”
Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.
“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. “Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”
“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. “Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.
“Right,” he says with a sigh. “Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”
“Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.