Managed by Kristen Callihan Book Review
by Kristen Callihan
Published by NLA Digital LLC
Book 2 in the VIP series
It started off as a battle of wits.
Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.
That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.
I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.
Let the battle begin…
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Sweet & Hot
Managed by Kristen Callihan is the second book in her VIP series, and centers around Kill John's uptight manager "Scottie" Gabriel Scott, and fun, and outgoing social media specialist and photographer, Sophie Darling. When Sophie is given a chance to ride first class, she is thrilled ... Gabriel, who she sits besides ... not so much. The crazy thing: she starts to like the grumpy, stuck up manager. The crazier thing: He starts to like her too. Opposites attract in this wonderful romance.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was original, fun, and sexy. I loved the banter between these two (two completely opposite personalities are always fun when they get together). And the chemistry - wowsa. After reading Idol and this book, I am convinced that Kristen's strongest writing talent is establishing intense, hot chemistry between characters. If I had to pick ONE problem I had with this book, it would be that it was a little bit too "insta-love" for me. But honestly, I quickly got over that, because the writing is great, the chemistry is hot, and the sex ... wow.
I really loved the characters in Managed. I haven't made it a secret in my other reviews, but I love a grumpy, uptight male character brought to his knees by a free spirited woman. Gabriel is all that. Add on top of that a British accent ... oh man. I'm in love. And I loved Sophie! Her character is so fun, her dialogue had me laughing, and it was a great mix with Gabriel's dry humor.
When I first started Managed, I wasn't sure if I was going to love it, but that quickly went out the window. Sophie and Gabriel's unconventional relationship was endearing, and at the climax, had me forgetting the predictability of this romance, and had me in tears instead. I highly recommend this series to you. I promise you, you will love Managed.
The ENTIRE flight. Epic banter. EPIC
Gabriel sharing a lunch during a busy work day
Jax covering for Sophie when she was caught doing the walk of shame
Sophie hanging out with everyone on the bus
Sophie and Gabriel eating apple crumble in bed together
Sophie and Gabriel finally admitting their feelings for one another while fighting after Gabriel comes back from fighting
That moment backstage
Finally hooking up!
The guys forcing Gabriel to go on vacation
Sophie helping Jax
Gabriel telling the guys he loves them
Gabriel going after Sophie by facing his fear
Where to Buy
Sophie: "Jesus. It's like looking at the sun."
Sophie: "Just stop, will you? You're too hot. It's too much to take."
Gabriel: "Are you quite well?"
Sophie: "No, you've nearly rendered me blind. Do you have an off switch? Maybe put it on low?"
His nostrils flare, his skin going a shade darker.
Gabriel: "Lovely. I'm stuck next to a mad woman."
Sophie: "Are you a duke? You talk like a duke."
His head jerks as if he wants to look my way, but he manages to keep his gaze forward, his lips compressed so tightly they're turning white at the edges.
Sophie: "Oh, or maybe a prince. I know! Prince Charming!"
A blast of air escapes him, as if he's caught between a laugh and outrage.
Gabriel: "You found me out. Prince Charming, at your service. Do forgive me for being short with you, madam, but I am on a mission of the utmost import. I'm looking for my bride, you see. Alas, you are not wearing a glass slipper, so you cannot be her."
We both glance at my bare feet and the red Chucks lying on the floor. He shakes his head.
Gabriel: "You'll understand that I need to keep my focus on the search."
Sophie: "You're freaky good looks made her blind to all but you, sunshine."
Gabriel: "If only I could stroke women speechless."
Sophie: "Oh, I bet you'd find that marvelous; all of us helpless women just smiling and nodding. Though I'm afraid it would never work on me."
Gabriel: "Of course not. I'm stuck next to the one afflicted with an apparently incurable case of verbal diarrhea."
Sophie: "Says the man who is socially constipated."
He stills again, his eyes widening. And then a strangled snort breaks free, escalating into a choked laugh.
Gabriel: "Christ. I'm doomed."
Sophie: "Don't you whhhat me with that proper British accent and think I'll fall for it. I don't care how sexy your voice is, it won't work."
Sophie: "You think if you sit there, looking petrified and tense, I'll offer a blowjob to distract you from it all."
My humiliation comes to a screeching halt upon hearing the word blowjob.
Sophie: "Well, it's not going to happen."
Ignore the cock. Ignore him. He's an idiot. Focus on the problem at hand,
Gabriel: "You are deranged. Completely deranged."
Sophie: "And you are a handsome but crafty bastard. Unfortunately for you, good looks aren't enough. I won't do it."
I lean in as close as I dare.
Gabriel: "Look, even if I wanted your mouth anywhere near me, why on Earth would I ask for a blowjob here? When the entire cabin can see. Who does that?"
Sophie: "Not me."
She shoots back with a disgusted look.
Sophie: "But nice slip of the tongue. You've obviously been thinking logistics."
Must not throttle headcase.
Sophie: "You pompous, arrogant -"
Gabriel: "Those words basically mean the same thing, sweets."
Sophie: "Dick-faced ..."
Sophie: "It's all right. Sunshine here got me so flustered, I nearly pulled out my credit card and offered to pay him for sex,"
I choke on my own spit.
Gabriel: "Bloody hell."
The flight attendant flushes magenta.
Attendant: "Yes. Er. Can I get you anything else?"
Gabriel: "Actually, I'm more of an asshole than a prick. Which means I'm rather an expert in dealing with bothersome little shits."
Sophie: "Well, maybe you'll find someone to properly cross dicks with later."
It's his turn to sputter on his drink, though he recovers nicely. With precise movements, he sets his glass down and crisply tugs each of his cuffs back into place.
Gabriel: "I'm fairly certain I've all I can handle with you at the moment."
Sophie: "Aw, a compliment."
He looks down at me and slowly blinks, the dark sweep of his lashes nearly touching his cheek. Then he shocks me into stillness when he leans in close enough that his lips brush the curve of my ear.
Gabriel: "Yes, chatty girl, it was."
Gabriel: "She's not my type."
Sophie: "You actually have a type?"
Gabriel: "Yes. Quiet, dignified, and discreet."
He turns all the way to face me.
Gabriel: "I beg your pardon?"
Sophie: "Pardon yourself. You said that to put me in my place. But I'm not biting."
Gabriel: "I've never met a person I couldn't manage."
Not bothering to take the mask off, I extend a hand his way.
Sophie: "Sophie Elizabeth Darling."
A set of teeth catch the edge of my hand and nip me. I'm so shocked I yelp, snatching my hand back. Lurching up, I whip off my mask to find him staring back at me with a bland look.
Sophie: "Did you just bite me?"
Gabriel: "That sounds like a rather juvenile thing to do."
Sophie: "It was a rhetorical question. You bit me!"
His lips quirk as if he's trying very hard not to laugh
Gabriel: "Best not to stick your hand in my face then."
Sophie: "I don't like you."
Gabriel: "Lie. You've told me repeatedly now that you find me blindingly attractive."
Sophie: "That doesn't mean I like you. Besides, your brand of pretty is like a weapon. You reel victims in with it, just like a vampire does. I wouldn't be surprised if you sparkle in the sun."
Gabriel: "I cannot believe I'm arguing with a woman who references Twilight."
Sophie: "The fact that you I'm referencing Twilight betrays you as a secret Edward-loving fanboy."
His snort is loud and scathing
Gabriel: "Team Jacob all the way."
Sophie: "That's it. We can never be friends."
Sophie: "You're one breath away from totally losing your shit. Accept the torment that is physical comfort."
Sophie: "Shhh. Just think of me as your friendly neighborhood cuddler."
Gabriel: "Are you telling me you'd do this for anyone?"
I snuggle down
Sophie: "No. That you're insanely hot is a huge factor. I get to cop a feel under the guise of civic duty."
Gabriel: "Oh, for fuck's sake."
Sophie: "Can it with the outrage. I know for a fact that most people would rather snuggle up to a hot dude. If it makes me shallow for admitting that, so be it."
Gabriel: "Your honesty is astounding."
Sophie: "I know. Now hush, I have feels to cop."
Sophie: "I think we should name our kids by number."
Gabriel: "Dare I ask why?"
Sophie: "Because we'll have so many, numbers seem easier. We can do like the kind in Stardust. Una, Secundus, Septimus ..."
Gabriel: "That seems inordinately cruel. Think of the shit they'll receive in grammar school."
Sophie: "They'll be too tough to be bullied. And I see you're warming to the idea."
I grin when he grunts.
Gabriel: "What color is your natural hair?"
Sophie: "That's an awfully forward question, Mr. Scott."
Gabriel: "Supposedly I'm fathering at least seven of your children. A fair enough question to ask."
Jesus on a motorcycle, he has a happy trail.
Gabriel: "This is a matter of business, Ms. Darling. Nothing personal."
Sophie: "Bullshit. Everything is personal. Especially business. You judge a person and decide whether you trust them enough to work with them or not. You've made your decision, Mr. Scott. Don't weaken it by pretending it's nothing personal."
Killian: "Bet that pissed you off, having to sit beside someone."
I grunt, unable to tell him the truth. Best fucking flight of my life.
Sophie: "God, it's like you're Darth Vader or something."
Gabriel: "Do you fear I might have cooties?"
Sophie: "I'm surprised you even know that word."
Gabriel: "I know quite a few. Which reminds me ... While I do enjoy anal play with a woman now and then, I have never munched an ass."
Sophie chokes on her beer, sending droplets of it across the battered table, as her cheeks flamed scarlet.
Gabriel: "You know, I'm not actually comfortable being an asshole to women."
Sophie: "Really? But you do it so well."
Dad: "Just remember, men love women who play hard to get. Extremely hard to get."
Sophie: "And yet you and Mom started as a one-night stand."
Dad: "Damn it, Margaret. You tell this child too much."
The rat bastard shoves the sandwich in my mouth.
Gabriel: "Be a good chatty girl and eat up."
Sophie: Your sarcasm smells of slain interns' blood and the souls of missing record execs.
Sunshine: False. That is what I eat for breakfast. Keep up, Darling.
Sophie: Aw ... terms of endearment already?
Sunshine: It's your name.
Sophie: A convenient excuse.
Sunshine: A legitimate answer.
Gabriel: "I don't ... I don't socialize."
Sophie: "Yet here we are."
Rye: "Sophie Darling. Doth my eyes deceive me or are you doing the long walk 'o shame?"
I push past him
Sophie: "I don't know what you're talking about. I always look this way."
Rye: "Ridden hard and put to bed wet?"
Sophie: "You're such an ass."
Sophie: "You're talking like a duke again. Which means you're feeling guilty."
Gabriel: "Know me so well already, chatty girl?"
Sophie: "Yes, I do."
She moves to pass me but pauses
Sophie: "You're not fooling anyone. And when you want to admit you were jealous, I'll be waiting."
With that, she walks away, her round hips swaying. I appreciate the view, even as I'm mentally kicking myself.
Gabriel: "It will be a long wait."
She flips me off without missing a step.
Hell, I do like this girl. Too bloody much.
Rye: "Welcome aboard, lovely Sophie."
Whip: "Did you tell her about the initiation rites?"
Sophie: "If it involves anything sexual, I offer free nuttings with a hundred-percent guarantee to leave a man incapacitated for an hour at minimum."
Whip: "I bet. Naw, you just have to drink a lot and make a fool of yourself at least once. But I promise to take the lead."
Sophie: "What the hell is the first law of the man code?"
Killian: "Never encroach upon your buddy's territory."
Sophie: "Territory? You make us sound like dogs."
Whip: "Soph. When it comes to guys and sex, we're all dogs."
Sophie: "They're going to think we're together."
Gabriel: "And that would be a problem?"
Sophie: "It's a problem if it's a lie. And, no, I don't like the idea of people I work with gossiping about us."
Gabriel: "I see."
With a nod, I turn toward the room.
Gabriel: "Oy, listen up. Sophie will be traveling with me on my coach. And it's none of your bloody business why, so I'd better not hear a word about it. Understood?"
At my side, Sophie makes a strangled gurgle that sounds like a drowning chipmunk.
My boys, however, just blink back at me before grinning.
Rye: "Well, all right then, Scottie. Glad to see you taking initiative in your personal life."
Whip: "Fucking knew it."
Sophie: "You know nothing."
Jax high-fives Rye
Jax: "You owe us each fifty bucks, Killian."
Killian: "Shit, and I was so sure he'd hold out longer. Thanks a lot, Scottie."
Gabriel: "What did I say about speculating? One more word and I'll have you all doing a music video with synchronized dancing faster than you can say Backstreet Boys."
Sophie pinches my side
Gabriel: "Ouch. Do you mind? This is a silk-wool blend. You'll wrinkle it."
Sophie: "It's about to be shredded. You just totally threw our business out there."
Gabriel: "I told them not to talk about it."
Sophie: "Which means they'll be talking about it even more."
Gabriel: "No, they won't."
Rye: "Yes, we will."
I point at him
Gabriel: "Start practicing your Running Man."
Sophie: "Are you sure I'm not being punked?"
A snort escapes him
Gabriel: "You're not famous, so no. I, on the other hand, have my moments of doubt that you aren't here to punk me."
Sophie: "If I were to punk you, I'd change out all your suits for polyester."
Gabriel: "That's just cruel, Darling."
Sophie: "Stop calling me that."
Gabriel: "It's your name."
Sophie: "Are you sure that's what you're call me by?"
Gabriel: "What else would I be doing?"
Sophie: "A term of endearment? Declaring your undying lurve for me."
His nose wrinkles
Gabriel: "You're going to put me off my pudding."
Sophie: "Now then, you've completely lost points for being Team Jacob."
Sophie: "So you'll have to redeem yourself. Who was better for Buffy? Angel or Spike?"
Gabriel: "Angel is a teen girls dream, all sad sighs and mental angst. Spike is for when she grows up and realizes satisfaction is hers for the taking."
Sophie: "You sir, are a romantic."
Gabriel: "I just said all that romantic babble was childish."
Sophie: "Only a romantic would put so much thought into that answer."
Gabriel: "You annoy me. And for the record, I was lying about Jacob. I think they're both prats."
Gabriel: "Involuntary reaction. Ignore it."
His hard-on says otherwise.
I swallow with difficulty.
Sophie: "Your hard dick is poking me in the ass. I can no more ignore it than if you slapped me in the face with it."
Gabriel: "You're safe, Sophie. This will never happen again."
Sophie: "I know. You keep your people safe."
Gabriel: "I look out for my people."
His lips ghost my unmarred cheek, the touch so light I might have imagined it. Only I didn't. I feel it in my toes. It hums along my skin even as he pulls back slightly to look my in the eye.
Gabriel: "I protect what's mine."
Gabriel: "I told you at the beginning, this isn't about sex."
Sophie: "You're right. It's more than that. We are more. And you fucking know it. So stop being such a coward and admit it."
With an actual growl, he backs me against a wall, his arms caging me in. Our noses bump as he bends down.
Gabriel: "Here is what I will admit: I was not 'fucking someone' and it pisses me off that your first suspicion went directly to that."
Sophie: "Why should I think that when you smell of other women?"
Gabriel: "Because there is only you!"
Sophie: "Are you going to tell me where you were?"
Sophie: "Why not?"
Gabriel: "Because I don't want to."
Gabriel: "Admitted that already, love."
My back teeth click, as he fusses with his tea leaves.
Sophie: "Teatime, is it? Having a problem that need soothing."
Gabriel: "Yes. You."
A gasp of pain leaves me before I can hold it in.
He turns at the sound, and his brows lift in apparent surprise.
Gabriel: "Chatty girl?"
I blink rapidly
Sophie: "You are an asshole. And it isn't something to be proud of."
I grab my shoes and head for the door
Gabriel : "Sophie."
Sophie: "Don't. I need to be away from you for a while."
He runs a hand through his thick hair and grips the ends as if he needs to hold something.
Gabriel: "At least tell me where you're going so I don't have to worry."
A bitter laugh leaves my lips
Sophie: "Oh, the irony. Guess what, Scottie? I'm not telling. Because I don't fucking want to!"
Gabriel: "I am a cold man. Any happiness or warmth I've felt died when Jax tried to take his life. Until you. You are my warmth."
Gabriel: "I can't leave you, Darling. You're always in here."
Gently, he takes my hand and touches it to his head.
Gabriel: "And you're in here."
moving my other hand to his chest where his heart pounds against the solid wall of muscle.
Sophie: "Your body."
Gabriel: "My body?"
Sophie: "It is perfect. A work of art. You work hard to maintain that body, which I'm sure some would think is due to vanity."
Gabriel: "It's not?"
Sophie: "No. You use your body like a weapon, a perfect shell so no one bothers to look too closely at the real you."
He shifts in his chair as if he's fighting the urge to flee. I push on.
Sophie: "And you do it to be strong. Because you hate weakness."
Gabriel: "Yes. Only I believe you are my greatest weakness now, chatty girl."
My camera lowers, and I stare at him, unwilling to hide my hurt.
Sophie: "You hate me?"
Gabriel: "I think, adore would be the better word."
Those intense eyes fixate on me, baring his soul. It is filled with pain and need.
Gabriel: "You are my greatest weakness because I have no defense when it comes to you."
Sophie: "You should know, I can't be a fling. Not with you. If you want me, you have to be all in."
Gabriel: "I've lived my whole life denying myself what I truly want. And yet I cannot turn from you. Haven't you realized it yet? I am yours. I will always be yours, whether I touch you or not."
Sophie: "Are you going to tell me where you were?"
Sophie: "Fighting? Who? Where? And what the fuck? ... Why?"
Gabriel: "I grew up fighting. When I was younger, I did it for money, and because it released something in me that needed freeing."
Sophie: "And you needed that release again?"
Sophie: "Because of me."
Gabriel: "Yes. Because I was an idiot, Sophie, who couldn't go back to that hotel room that night without breaking. I couldn't let myself tell you the truth then."
Sophie: "What truth?"
Gabriel: "That I wanted you to the point of pain. That I needed you more than anything."
Sophie: "Quotes The Princess Bride and has a big, hard cock. I've hit the jackpot."
Gabriel: "Hush now and spread those lovely thighs wider like a good, chatty girl. I've work to do here."
Dr. Stern: "You mind telling me how you felt before you fainted?"
Gabriel: "As though I were about to faint but hoped very much it wouldn't happen."
Jax: "Scottie is a genius with money. Our boy here is solely responsible for all of us being obscenely rich, as opposed to mostly rich. Seriously, stick with him."
Sophie: "I'd stick with him if he was a pauper."
Killian: "Just one thing. You're leaving your phone with Brenna."
Gabriel: "What? Absolutely not."
Killian holds out his hand
Killian: "GIve it up, Scott, and nobody gets hurt."
Gabriel: "Over my beaten and bloody body."
The guys all stand, and Rye rolls his head, setting off a dozen cracks in his neck.
Rye: "Fellas, let's do this."
And they do. They actually jump him.
The scuffle is a loud, curse-filled tangle of flailing limbs and grappling men.
It ends with a bloody lip for Rye, a poked eye for Jax, Killian without a shirt, Whip without a shoe, and Gabriel on the floor, suit rumpled and his precious phone spirited away by Brenna, who can run surprisingly fast in her heels.
Killian: "It's for your own good."
Jax: "We love you too, Scottie boy."
I kneel and kiss a scuff mark on Gabriel's forehead.
Sophie: "Poor baby. I'll make it better. I promise."
Gabriel: "I'll hold you to that."
Sophie: "Holy shit, that's a Ferrari 488GTB Spider."
He blinks, swaying a little.
Gabriel : "You've just given me a hard-on."
Gabriel: "Sei tutto per me. Baciami."
Sophie: "Jesus, give a little warning. What did you say?"
His smile grows secretive
Gabriel: "I said ' kiss me'."
Sophie: "Gah. Don't give me that sad puppy look."
Gabriel: "I wasn't aware I was giving you any look."'
Sophie: "Dial it back, sunshine. You're burning my retinas."
Gabriel: "I will if you get on the scooter."
Sophie: "Fine, Just don't go driving off a cliff and getting us killed."
Gabriel: "I plan on dying when I'm very old and fucking you while hopped up on Viagra."
Sophie: "You really do say the sweetest things."
Gabriel: "Did you just tweak my nipple?"
Sophie: "Is that rhetorical?"
Gabriel: "Beware, chatty girl. I can retaliate."
Sophie: "Promise? Ooh, I like that smolder, it's very Flynn Ryder."
Gabriel: "You're comparing me to cartoon characters now?"
Sophie: "Animated characters. Huge difference. And it's cute that you know who he is."
Sophie: "See? Didn't I tell you? Delicious food."
Gabriel: "Yes, you're very smart. Shut up."
Sophie: "Another Princess Bride quote. You, Gabriel Scott, are my perfect man."
Gabriel: "You say the sweetest things, chatty girl."
Sophie: "Now, tell me what you said in Italian on the death scooter."
Gabriel: "Sono pazzo di te. I am crazy about you."
Sophie: "Gabriel ..."
Gabriel: "Eat your food, darling."
Sophie: "I already miss it being just the two of us."
Gabriel: "Where we are is simply a matter of geography. Remember, chatty girl? I'll never truly be apart from you because you're always in here."
He takes my hand and puts it against his temple as he did that night backstage.
I smile and rest my cheek against his chest where his heart beats strong and sure.
Sophie: "And in here."
Sophie: "You're acting like a mother hen."
Gabriel: "Cluck, cluck."