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Title: Due Diligence
Author: Anna Zabo
Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Romance, Romance
Release Date: 06/21/2016
A business trip leads to a surprise encounter with an old flame in this sexy romance from the author of Just Business.
After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S.R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity’s engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil’s first love.
He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil’s heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then—and Fazil never could say no to Todd…
Due Diligence – Playing with Tropes
One of the things I enjoy doing with my novels is exploring themes and tropes. Each novel so far has had a particular trope spark that caused me to write it.
In Close Quarter, I wanted to see what happened if you took a typical alpha/beta (or seme/uke) pairing—and then systematically undermined the alpha until that beta had to be the one to save the day. Silas crumbles under the weight of his past while Rhys finds strength in everything he’s overcome to be where he is.
In Takeover, I wanted to explore the boss/employee romance trope, but rather than having the powerful CEO be the dominant man in the bedroom, it’s the employee that takes charge. While Michael is very much dominant, Sam’s not a submissive. They’re really two alpha males, giving and taking where they need to.
Just Business started out as enemies to lovers and turned into something much much more—a study of two broken men who were so very strong and the way they fit together. Eli walked into my brain and took control, which should surprise no one. Justin has his own ways of getting what he wants. Like Sam, he bends—but because he wants to.
Nominally, Due Diligence is a reunited lovers book. Two high school lovers running into each other after fifteen years. But it’s also a study in how we frame our pasts—for better or worse—and how we don’t always get it right. Because we can be young and stupid. It’s also a study on how we don’t have to be trapped by that.
Due Diligence is a different book than Just Business. It had to be, mostly because Just Business is its own creature. Eli and Justin’s story is theirs. Fazil and Todd are different characters with different needs and pasts, so their book is going to be—well—theirs.
High school can be a time of high emotions and misunderstandings—and that is very true of Fazil and Todd’s past. Both men came through the crucible of fifteen years apart changed—yet also the same. The connection they had is still there—but so are a lot of other things. How much do you forgive, how much do you let go, and how much do you work with? That’s what Todd and Fazil need to figure out.
Into that, I threw a little Eli, because why not? I’m including a little excerpt of Todd and Fazil—and Eli doing what he does best.
Todd rarely saw Fazil for the rest of the week. A few meetings, some work-related conversations, and Fazil had been at the engineering group lunch on Thursday at Stephen’s invitation. There were some moments alone at the coffeepot, but those were few and far between. Fazil kept his distance.
But those unguarded looks and the way he licked his lips. The smiles. Todd hoped he wasn’t reading too much into it now that it was Friday.
Would Fazil run? Tell him he’d made plans with his coworker or something? Only one way to find out. After he finished plugging another hole in their code, he walked down to the conference room Fazil and the finance guy had been given, knocked, and pushed the door open.
Fazil sat inside, his hands hovering over the keyboard. “Hey.”
No sign of the other Anderson guy. Todd slipped inside and leaned against the closed door. “Hey. Wanted to see how things were going.”
“They’re going.” Fazil leaned back in his chair. “There’s a lot that still needs to be done.”
“Well, you have another week.”
He nodded. “You didn’t come by for that, though.” His smile was a sly thing.
Todd curled his toes. “I wanted to see if we were still on for this weekend.” Please say yes.
Worry flickered across Fazil’s face. “Yeah, but if something’s come up . . .”
“No, no. I . . .” He pushed himself off the door and crossed the room. “It has to be yes, Fazil. Like I said. I won’t play the guessing game with you.” Not again. Not anymore.
Fazil looked at his computer for a moment, then rose and rounded the table until he stood close.
Not close enough. Too many inches still lay between them. Too many years.
“How much of a yes do you want?” Fazil’s lips swept up into his little smile. “We’re still on the clock
There was that.
“I have no idea if there’s a camera or something in this room.” Fazil furrowed his brow. “I hope not, because Eli and I spend a lot of time flipping each other off. People might think we have an antagonistic relationship.”
This was a side of Fazil he hadn’t seen. “I can’t imagine that guy flipping anything off. He seems like the proper type who can’t wait to get home to his wife.”
“I used to think that. But our office is tiny, his husband is Sam’s assistant, and . . . go on enough of these trips, you learn things about your coworkers.”
Todd slotted that information away. “Sounds like a great place to work. Like family.”
“A rowdy, dysfunctional family. But yes. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.” His smile was golden, and he took a step closer. “Any cameras?”
Todd warmed all over. “None that I know of.”
“So if I were to kiss you, that be fine?”
“More than.” He reached for Fazil.
Fazil pulled Todd’s head down and took his mouth like he owned it. Which was fine with Todd, because it left him free to cup Fazil’s ass and pull Fazil against him. He’d never get tired of the way Fazil melted when their dicks ground against each other. The way he arched his back, that little catch of breath.
Fazil broke the kiss. “Yes. We’re still on.”
More than. If they weren’t at work, he’d be tempted to use the office furniture in this room to enact some scene out of a porno. Bad Business Boyz Seven or some such thing, even if they were more geek than executive.
The conference room door handle rattled.
They jumped apart. Fazil looked down at his feet and Todd backed up against the table. The door swung open and the finance guy walked in, his jaw set hard and his knuckles white about the handle of his cane, but everything about his demeanor changed when he saw Todd and Fazil.
“It’s . . . Um.” Todd stumbled over every word. Shit.
Eli focused on Fazil, his grin a little too deep. “I thought I told you to hang a tie on the door.”
What? Todd glanced at Fazil, who looked like he might have swallowed his tongue.
“Eli!” Fazil choked with laughter, but there was also horror on his face.
Kind of like the terror in Todd’s gut. The finance guy knew about them?
Eli shrugged. “Oh come on. You’ve seen me banter with Sam. And with Justin.”
“Too many times,” Fazil said. “And you’re the one with the damn ties.”
“You can borrow one, if you’d like.” He folded both hands over the top of his cane. “They have lots of uses.”
“Stop.” Fazil turned an interesting shade of red and met Todd’s gaze. “Um, have you two met?”
“Not officially.” He eyed Eli, who looked every bit the businessman in his three-piece suit.
“Eli, this is Todd Douglas. Todd, Eli Ovadia, Sam’s CFO.”
They shook hands, and Eli’s was both warm and strong. Todd cleared his throat. “You, uh, know.” He gestured between Fazil and him.
“It’s a small company,” Eli said.
I’m offering up one e-copy (from your favorite vendor) of any of my books to one random commenter.
If you actually have all my books (since my backlist is small), I’ll substitute a $10 Starbucks gift certificate. (Hey, it’s set in Seattle!)
About the Author
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. While obtaining an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she fell in with a roving band of romance writers who wrested her from the clutches of writing in only one genre.
She also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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