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REVIEW: “Winner Takes All” by Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban



Dominic Taylor and Matt Harris have been friendly rivals – with occasional benefits – for a few years. With the downturn in the economy, though, Matt’s business is struggling. Dom, whose company is doing well, offers Matt a bet that could help save Matt’s company. But the terms of the bet would literally put Matt’s ass on the line and change the dynamic of their friendship.

As the deadline approaches, they graduate from making out to making love, raising the stakes as they each come to terms with what they really want, and what really matters.

No matter who wins, there will be no going back for either one of them. Because the winner takes all.


To steal one of Susan’s terms, <I>Winner Takes All</I> is a respectable “in-betweener.” Like a delectable lime sorbet palette cleanser, Urban and Silver’s collaboration is a fun sexy read that goes down easy, allowing you a breath before you move on to a more involved “thinker.”

Matt and Dom are friendly rivals – with some occasional, drunken make-out (and “handsy”) benefits. Which is fine with both of them since Dom is an openly gay man with a teensy crush on his “friendly rival” and Matt is confident in his heterosexuality. Because in Matt’s heterosexual world it is <I>not</I> gay to make out with your gay friend when you are three sheets to the wind. Totally a straight thing to do, right? Any who, there is a downturn in the market and Matt’s company gets in a pickle. Being the good friend he is, Dom, offers to lend dear Matt a helping hand, but at a price – Matt’s sweet anal virginity. There is a lot of blushing and stuttering on Matt’s part and he just can’t accept. So Dom’s generous offer turns into a bet – if Matt can’t turn the corner for his company with in a month, Dom will hostilely take over the company … and Matt’s sweet anal virginity. Juicy set up? You bet.

Silly me thought this was going to be a much darker read when I first picked it up, as my dirty mind had read “friendly rivalry” to be a bit more of the “hands on, consent shady” <I>friendly</I> meaning. Yes, innocent, naïve me thought this was going to be sleazy blackmail leading to dubious consent sex. But no, they really happened to be friends that worked at competing firms. I appreciated that Matt and Dom were the only two characters in this story, no wasted time on trivial supporting characters. The mood was light and fun and even a bit reflective on Matt’s side. The build up was paced well, the sex hot and the read easy (not as easy as Matt turns out be though, *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*).

I can’t wrap up this review without addressing the “Matt only makes out with Dom when he is inebriated and that disgusts me reviews” that I scrolled through after reading this book. There is a ton of them, it seemed that half the reviews I read alluded to these sentiments in some facet. And I respectfully have to disagree. I actually am of the sentiment that that detail gave credence to the story. A man who believes he is straight, but clearly enjoys his make-out sessions with his gay bff is probably subconsciously suppressing some desires when sober and a little bit of Jaeger helps loosen up those confining walls. I can’t imagine that no one who is reading this has never been liberal with the holiday wine and ended up telling their in-laws what they really think of them? Or how about those college parties when after a few too many rounds of losing at beer pong, you finally had the gumption to talk to that hot crush you’d been ogling for weeks? The fact is, alcohol is often liquid boldness in a bottle. And I wouldn’t be particularly shocked to find that a number of men who are coming – <I>painfully slowly</I> – to the realization that they have desires for the same sex would act on those desires when highly intoxicated. In terms of this story, I think it was something Dom realized and contrived the bet in a manner to force Matt’s hand, so to speak. I might be in the minority, but I wasn’t put off by this detail, in fact, it was the most “buyable” part of this book.

At any rate, you won’t find me endorsing too many GFY’s, but this one I give the thumbs up to. Light, fun, don’t over think it – just enjoy.




18398032Title: Winner Takes All
Author: Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban 
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Pages: 112
Release Date: July 26, 2013 (2nd edition)
Purchase Links: Amazon, ARe

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Rachel and tagged , , , , .

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