Mallory Sullivan is ready to start her new life. After graduating at the top of her class, she’s landed one of the most coveted internships in the United States. Hard work and determination have gotten her to this moment of living the life she only dreamed of while growing up in foster care.
She never expected Oz to be the greatest culmination of those dreams. But sometimes fate determines who you fall in love with. Who makes you lose control. Who owns your soul.
And then you realize it wasn’t fate at all… (Goodreads)
The novel is about Mallory Sullivan, a recent college graduate who has managed to secure a rare internship at Osbourne Corp in New York. She was awarded a scholarship from the same company to get her through college, and has worked her way up from her humble origins at a foster home. Mallory has made the move to New York with her best friend, Paige, with the girls looking to enjoy their time in the city and lend each other some moral support along the way. Their fun starts with a night out at a local bar, both wanting to let their hair down before the hard work starts. It is here that Mallory meets the mysterious Oz, an attractive man who takes a shine to her at the club and asks for her phone number.
It goes against her better judgement, but Mallory reels off her number in the hopes she was too quick for him to note it down, surprised to receive a text minutes later. This sparks the beginning of their relationship, with them exchanging texts late into the night and Mallory agreeing to meet him for a breakfast date. She has never moved this quickly with a man before but there is something about Oz that lures her in and leaves her wanting more. She has never even bothered to ask what he does for a job, accepting the vague details he offers to several of her questions.
As his name suggests, Oz is actually the Osbourne behind Osbourne Corp and has been watching Mallory for several years. He has been obsessed with her since he first saw her and determined to make her is. Everything has been orchestrated to bring her into his orbit and he is not prepared to let her go now that he finally has a chance. Oz would do anything for Mallory and frequently gets jealous if he sees her in the company of other men, leading to a few altercations throughout the book. He is also determined to keep her safe, knowing that his enemies would see her as prey.
The plot of this book becomes primarily about Oz and Mallory’s relationship and their sex life, becoming a sequence of erotic scenes towards the conclusion. However, there seemed to be very little in the way of obstacles, with Oz’s overprotectiveness supposedly infuriating Mallory yet she does nothing about it and claims she can’t resist him. I was more concerned than anything that she found his obsession a turn on rather than running for the hills at his stalker-like behaviour. He has been running her life from the background for four years and she sees no problem with that, making her seem almost as crazy as Oz.
I didn’t really like Mallory as a protagonist and found her to be naïve and stupid, despite her stellar college grades and determination to succeed in business. She claimed to want to succeed on her own, but Oz still pulls the strings at work and gives her preferential treatment, with little resistance. I think what irked me most was her attitude towards sex with Oz, as he is her first and she is willing to let him take her without a condom despite barely knowing him and being fully aware of the consequences. They then continue without protection knowing full well what is likely to happen, seeming to want a child despite Mallory’s young age and supposed desire for a career.
If I disliked Mallory, then I hated Oz, finding him to be manipulative and aggressive, even if it isn’t directly aimed at Mallory. I thought his obsession with her was creepy and definitely would not have felt flattered by it like Mallory seemed to. He keeps tabs on her at every turn and every male is a threat, causing Oz to pop up uninvited more than once. I grew tired of his immature and selfish attitude, practically throwing a tantrum every time he couldn’t have Mallory to himself or when she had the nerve to stand up to him. I thought he was a bully and emotionally manipulated Mallory until she knew no different, thinking that this was perfectly normal for a relationship.
As you can probably tell, the plotline of this book angered me and I struggled to feel any connection to the relationship between Mallory and Oz. I thought it was controlling and forceful, with Mallory not putting up enough of a fight to make Oz see her as a strong person. The book is well written and engaging, I just had my issues with the plot and characters that I couldn’t ignore. If you don’t mind a controlling aspect to a relationship and see the appeal of powerful businessmen then you are likely to enjoy this novel a whole lot more than I did. I would consider reading the sequel depending on the synopsis, as the next book is about Paige and sounds like it will feature more of a kickass heroine who can stand up for herself.
This book was not my cup of tea, and I failed to see much romance between Mallory and Oz despite the sexual nature of the plot. I thought their connection was forced and one-sided on Oz’s part, becoming more about his obsession than any kind of healthy relationship. Although not to my personal taste, I can see that there might be a certain appeal if you like novels about strong, charismatic businessmen who will stop at nothing to get what they want.