For The Taking
by Brenna Aubrey
Published by Silver Griffon Associates
Book #8 in Gaming the System Series
So I married my nemesis…
My new life in the States and dream job as a game tester just hit a massive snag. If I don't want immediate deportation on my to-do list, I need help, stat. Quickest solution—marry Lucas Walker, my cranky and oh-so-annoying co-worker.
Still, this can work. We’ll have rules and have to stick to them. I won’t think about his muscled arms or how stupid handsome he is even while he pushes all my hot buttons. It’s a marriage on paper only. I need to remember that.
Player two, press start.
When that exasperating Canadian, Katya Ellis, asked for help, I agreed because she was willing to help me in return. She doesn’t need to know it’s in my best interest for her to stay in the country. Nope, this is a business arrangement through and through. Which means I’ll set aside all those involuntary fantasies I’ve been having about her shapely body pressed to mine…
What could go wrong? Welp… as it turns out, just about everything.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Lighthearted
For the Taking is Brenna Aubrey's 8th addition to her Gaming the System series, and this time around centers are Mia, Adam, and Heath's Canadian friend, Katya, and Adam's employee, and Katya's co-worker, Lucas. Katya is in trouble. Held up trying to get back into the US after Mia and Adam's wedding, she finds herself in need of a green card, and the first name that pops in her head: her annoying co-worker Lucas, who at that moment was texting her about work. And Lucas agrees. He is up for a big promotion, and he needs Katya to stay at the company, her skills helping his department meet quotas despite brutal timelines. The rules are simple: Keep it secret, and she helps him get his promotion by continuing to do her job. No sex. No feelings. It works flawlessly ... until the secret gets out. Suddenly, Katya finds herself moving in with Lucas, and acting like a couple with their friends and family to maintain the ruse. But when two people who are already attracted to one another find themselves together, it's hard to maintain those rules.
For the Taking is cute. Yup, just cute. The story is good, the characters are good, past characters are consistent. It's just not original. It's a classic marriage of convenience romance. I was rooting for Kat and Lucas, of course, and it kept up an interesting amount of action, so it was a quick read. I just found it a little ... bland. Some of the highlights were the inside jokes - like the cactus plant - and the sex. There were a couple of issues for me. Their first kiss, we get Kat's reaction and thoughts to it, but not Lucas's, which is annoying. He doesn't even think about it. Then there is poor Heath. I'm starting to feel like he is the token gay character. Everyone goes to him for advice and help, but there is no depth to him but that. It's frustrating. We need a Heath book. He needs to find someone, and he needs to fall in love. Pronto.
If you enjoy contemporary romance, with some sizzle, you will really enjoy this book. I love a good enemies to lovers, opposites attract story, and this is what For the Taking is. Enjoy!
Everyone finding out about the marriage
Cocky the Cocktus
Lucas "tasting" Kat after the party
Kat making pretend sex noises in hope of bugging her brother and his friend to leave
Getting handsy when they were forced to share a bed
Lucas standing up for Kat
Their wedding song lol
Kat telling Lucas the truth about why she left Canada
Kat and Lucas FINALLY having sex
Kat standing up for Lucas and his sister against their parents
Lucas going to Canada to support Kat
Lucas: "Well you know what they say about opinions being like assholes. Everyone's got one but I don't necessarily want to know about yours because it most likely stinks."
Kat: Hey all, thanks for the wonderful well wishes. Yep, Lucas & I did tie the knot. I know that's hard to believe but ... whirlwind romance and all that. And maybe the curse of Mia's bouquet getting caught in my hair at her wedding.
Mia: Heyyyyy no fair. I didn't do that on purpose.
Alex: I can't believe you did it. You married Jedi Boy! Does that mean you get your own lightsaber? Did he use a Jedi mind trick on you?
Jenna: Sounds like it was probably more like a Jedi sex trick.
April: Damn it, Mia. I should have slipped you a few hundred to aim that sucker at me s I could at least savor the terrified look on Jordan's face when I caught it.
Mia: You enjoy tormenting that man so much. I love every minute of it.
Heath: "Getting married if not the hard part. The hard part is all about living together - without committing a felony. It's a whole different ball fame. And you two will have an especially hard time of it, seeing each other 24/7. Both at home and at work. I just don't want to end up watching this on 20/20 as a cold case with you dead and him on the lam."
Kat: "What makes you think it wouldn't be vice versa?"
Heath; "Yeah, actually as soon as it came out of my mouth I realized that the more likely scenario would be the reverse."
Kat: "You know me so well."
Lucas: "It's a skill. I took lessons because it was expected of me. I quit the minute I could. Yes, I can play. That's thirteen years of lessons and daily practice you hear. Nothing more."
Kat: "Okay. But ... it was really good."
He sighed and rolled his eyes.
Lucas: "Well, thank you. I suspect you have hidden talents I don't know about."
Kat: "Well a former boyfriend or two has informed me that I give next-level blowjobs."
His features froze for a moment, as if he didn't trust his ears. I laughed, hoping that would have at least got him to crack a smile. Instead, he narrowed his eyes and blushed.
Then he visibly swallowed.
Lucas: "Well, I'd ask for a demonstration but ... rules and all."
Kat: "You've been neglecting poor Cocky the Cocktus. Can't have that! Cocky is your best bud."
Lucas: "If you hadn't just made me dinner, I might be tempted to plant Cocky in your bed sheets for a nice prickly surprise."
Kat: "Don't even think about it, Jedi Boy."
Kat: "What about this baroness thing? What the hell even is that? Why did they call us Baron and Baroness Van Den LucasSucks?"
Kat: "I'm still super annoyed with you right now."
Lucas: "Welcome to being married, Cranberry."
Kat: "You've - you've imagined it?"
His mouth connected at the juncture of my inner thigh, his tongue slipping out to lick me there. I sucked in a breath.
Lucas: "Yes, I have. And every time, you were hotter than the last time."
Kat: "Well ... that's a tall order. Not sure I can live up to a fantasy. I hope you aren't expecting -"
Lucas: "You already are, Kat. You already are."
Lucas: "We need rules, especially now. We both need to be full clothed in bed. Top and bottom. No sexy negligees."
Kat: "Shit, I was hoping you'd be wearing something in black lace with fishnets."
Heath: "Don't tell me you haven't taken a ride on his disco-stick yet. I thought it would only take a week of living under the same roof together."
I heaved a long sigh.
Kat: "A lady never tells."
Heath: "Good thing you're not a lady then."
I rolled my eyes
Kat: "I got nothing to tell."
Heath: "Come on ... not even some heavy petting? The sexual tensions between you two is as thicc as Henry Cavill's thighs."
Kat: "You picked that up from across the pool?"
Heath: "A fucking deaf-blind service dog could pick it up, babe."
Kat: "You know, there's more to family than the people whose house you were born into. There' the family you are born to and then there's the family you choose. I know this between us isn't real. But for the time being, we are for real married. And while we're married, we're family. Chosen family, which is more special. And as long as I'm your family, I'll have your back."
Lucas: "When they stop caring for our welfare and happiness, they are no longer worthy of being acknowledged."
I'd never wanted a woman the way I hungered for her.
This way lay danger, like those old antique maps that were lined on the edges with pictures of mythical beats and the warning Here be dragons.
She was danger, right before me in the form of a diminutive, curvy redhead with the biggest heart I had ever known. Brains, beauty and compassion. And I had full sails open to the wind, ,ready to cruise right over the edge of the map, dragons or no.
And I didn't fucking care.
The first rule of bitchiness. Don't bitch first. But if bitched to, then don't be afraid to go all-out bitch. Because she who bitches loudest and bitches best, bitches last.
Claire: "Well, I wish you all the luck with the iceberg or the still waters or whatever. More luck than I ever had, believe me. I sincerely hope he'll take better care of you than he did of me."
Kat: "Take care of you? What, did you want a husband or a daddy? Thanks for the well wishes, but there's no luck needed. I'm mad about him. Tot ziens. Ezel."
Kat: "Why Mr. Walker. I might be in danger of falling for you if you keep this up."
Kat: "Time to get down to business, Jedi boy. Unsheathe your lightsaber."
He threw his head back and laughed heartily
Lucas: "That was bad, Cranberry. Completely dorky."
Kat: "I hope you brought your highest DPS weapon to this raid."
Kat: "Yeah because you're gonna need it to wreck me."
Lucas: "We're done here. If you ever want me present at a family function again, you'll apologize to her and stop baiting my wife as a way to get to me."
Father: "Your wife has an interesting vocabulary."
Lucas: "My wife is interesting in every way, which is more than I can say for you and your bland predictability. But be content that you are middle-aged, mediocre and have nothing going for you but the money you inherited from your hardworking ancestors."
Lucas: "Something might think you have a penis fixation."
I made a face at him
Kat: "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Of course, I have a penis fixation. Jeez. You of all people should know."
Kat: "What if they wants another interview? What if they think we're lying about the marriage?"
Lucas: "I suppose we could send them a sex tape."
I shook my head.
Kat: "This isn't funny. Besides, none of them deserve to see me naked."
Lucas: "I need to admit some things to you."
Lucas: "I'm not falling in love with you. Because I already fell for you long ago."
Kat: "Uh, what?"
Lucas: "Kat, I think I fell in love with you the first week I met you."
Lucas: "You are, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. And I was a fucking idiot and pushed you away hard because I was so afraid of what you were doing to me without even trying."
Lucas: "It was a matter of perspective, Kat. I wanted that job, yeah. I really wanted it. But fuck if I didn't give a shit about whether or not I had it once you were gone. It was like ... Like nothing good was worth having if you weren't there to share it with."
Lucas: "You are absolutely insane. My wife is insane! I love her more than anything."
Kat: "My husband is too sane. I love him more than donuts. And beer."
Lucas: "But not tea?"
Kat: "There are limits. But there's always room for growth."
Adam: "Hey, Lucas. Did I get you at a bad time?"
Jordan: "Hi Lucas, I'm here too. It's a 3-way, but not the fun kind."
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