Afterburn & Aftershock: Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin

( 12 )


#1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day

Never mix business with pleasure. Never bring politics into the bedroom. In a way I did both when I took Jackson Rutledge as a lover. I can't say I wasn't warned.

Two years later, he was back. Walking into a deal I'd worked hard to close. Under the tutelage of Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn't the girl he once ...

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day

Never mix business with pleasure. Never bring politics into the bedroom. In a way I did both when I took Jackson Rutledge as a lover. I can't say I wasn't warned.

Two years later, he was back. Walking into a deal I'd worked hard to close. Under the tutelage of Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn't the girl he once knew, but he hadn't changed. Unlike the last time we'd drifted into each other's lives, I knew exactly what I was dealing with… and how addictive his touch could be.

The inner circle of glamour, sex, and privilege was Jax's playground-but this time, I knew the rules of the game. In the cutthroat business world, one adage rules all: keep your enemies close and your ex-lovers closer…

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Sylvia Day's torrid romance Afterburn left readers and Gianna Rossi, its libidinous businesswoman, begging for more. Now Gianna and Jackson Rutelage are back in Aftershock to consummate their relationship and a novel of scorching sexual chemistry. To prepare recent initiates for the erotic onslaught, Harlequin has kindly included the paperback foreplay of Afterburn in this package. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373622436
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Series: Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 58,803
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Day
Sylvia Day is the #1 NYT and #1 international bestselling author of over a dozen award-winning novels sold in 39 countries. There are millions of copies of her books in print. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and RWA’s prestigious RITA and won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. Amazon also honored her work as Best of the Year in Romance. Visit the author at,, and
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Read an Excerpt

IT WAS A breezy fall morning when I entered the mirrored glass skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, leaving the cacophony of blaring horns and pedestrian chatter behind to step into cool quiet. My heels clicked across the dark marble of the massive lobby with a tempo that echoed my racing heart. With damp palms, I slid my ID across the security desk. My nervousness only increased after I accepted my visitors badge and headed to the elevator.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, you couldn't imagine not having it?

There were two things in my life I'd felt that way about: the man I'd stupidly fallen in love with and the administrative assistant position I was about to interview for.

The man had turned out to be really bad for me; the job could change my life in an amazing way. I couldn't even think about walking away from the interview without nailing it. I just had this feeling, deep inside me, that working as Lei Yeung's assistant was what I needed to spread my wings and fly.

Still, despite my inner pep talk, my breath caught when I stepped out onto the tenth floor and saw the smoked-glass entrance to Savor, Inc. The company's name was emblazoned in a metallic feminine font across the double doors, challenging me to dream big and relish every moment.

Waiting to enter, I studied the number of well-dressed young women sitting around the reception area. Unlike me, they weren't wearing last season's styles secondhand. I doubted any of them had held three jobs to help pay for college, either. I was at a disadvantage in nearly every way, but I'd known that and I wasn't intimidated…much.

I was buzzed through the security doors and took in the cafe-au-lait walls covered with photos of celebrity chefs and trendy restaurants. There was a faint aroma of sugar cookies in the air, a comforting scent from my childhood. Even that didn't relax me.

Taking a deep breath, I checked in with the receptionist, a pretty African-American girl with an easy smile, then I stepped away to find a bare place against the wall to stand. Was my scheduled appointment time-for which I was nearly half an hour early-a joke? I soon realized that everyone was set for a brisk five-minute audience, and they were marched in and out precisely on time.

My skin flushed with a light mist of nervous perspiration.

When my name was called, I pushed away from the wall so quickly that I wobbled on my heels, my clumsiness mirroring my shaky confidence. I followed a young, attractive guy down the hall to a corner office with an open, unmanned reception area and another set of double doors that led into Lei Yeung's seat of power.

He showed me in with a smile. "Good luck."


As I passed through those doors, I was struck first by the cool modern vibe of the decor, then by the woman who sat behind a walnut desk that dwarfed her. She might've been lost in the vast space, with its stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, if not for the striking crimson of her reading glasses, which perfectly matched the stain on her full lips.

I took a moment to really get a good look at her, admiring how the strip of silver hair at her right temple had been artfully arranged into her elaborate updo. She was slender, with a graceful neck and long arms. And when she looked up from my application to consider me, I felt exposed and vulnerable.

She slid her glasses off and sat back. "Have a seat, Gianna."

I moved across the cream-colored carpet and took one of the two chrome-and-leather chairs in front of her desk.

"Good morning," I said, belatedly hearing a trace of my Brooklyn accent, which I'd practiced hard to suppress. She didn't seem to pick up on it.

"Tell me about yourself."

I cleared my throat. "Well, this spring I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas-"

"I just read that on your résumé." She softened her words with a slight smile. "Tell me something I don't already know about you. Why the restaurant industry? Sixty percent of new establishments fail within the first five years. I'm sure you know that."

"Not ours. My family has run a restaurant in Little Italy for three generations," I said proudly. "So why not work there?"

"We don't have you." I swallowed. That was way too personal. Lei Yeung didn't seem rattled by the gaffe, but I was. "I mean, we don't have your magic," I added quickly.


"Yes." I paused to collect myself. "I have three brothers. They can't all take over Rossi's when our dad retires and they don't want to. The oldest will and the other two.well, they want their own Rossi's."

"And your contribution is a degree in restaurant management and a lot of heart."

"I want to learn how to help them realize their dreams. I want to help other people achieve theirs, too."

She nodded and reached for her glasses. "Thank you, Gianna. I appreciate you coming in today."

Just like that, I was dismissed. And I knew I wasn't going to get the job. I hadn't said whatever she'd needed to hear to make me the clear-cut winner.

I stood, my mind racing with ways I could turn the interview around. "I really want this job, Ms. Yeung. I work hard. I'm never sick. I'm proactive and forward-thinking. It won't take me long to anticipate what you need before you need it. I'll make you glad you hired me."

Lei looked at me. "I believe you. You juggled multiple jobs while maintaining your honors GPA. You're smart, determined and not afraid to hustle. I'm sure you'd be great. I just don't think I'd be the right boss for you."

"I don't understand." My stomach twisted as my dream job slipped away. Disappointment pierced through me.

"You don't have to," she said gently. "Trust me. There are a hundred restaurateurs in New York who can give you what you're looking for."

I lifted my chin. I used to be proud of my looks, my family, my roots. I hated that I was constantly second-guessing all of that now.

Impulsively, I decided to reveal why I wanted to work with her so badly. "Ms. Yeung, please listen. You and I have a lot in common. Ian Pembry underestimated you, isn't that right?"

Her eyes blazed with sudden fire at the unexpected mention of her former partner who'd betrayed her. She didn't answer.

I had nothing to lose at this point. "There was a man in my life who underestimated me once. You proved people wrong. I just want to do the same."

She tilted her head to the side. "I hope you do."

Realizing I'd come to the end of the road, I thanked her for her time and left with as much dignity as I could manage.

As far as Mondays went, that was one of the worst of my life.

"I'm telling you, she's an idiot," Angelo said for the second time. "You're lucky you didn't get that job today."

I was the baby of the family, with three big brothers. He was the youngest. His righteous anger on my behalf made me smile despite myself.

"He's right," Nico said. The oldest of the Rossi boys-and biggest prankster-bumped Angelo out of the way to set my meal in front of me with a flourish.

I'd chosen to sit at the bar, since Rossi's was packed as usual, the dinner crowd boisterous and familiar. We had a lot of regulars and often a celebrity or two, incognito, who came here to eat in peace. The comfortable mix was a solid sign of Rossi's great reputation for warm service and excellent food.

Angelo bumped Nico back with a scowl. "I'm always right."

"Ha!" Vincent scoffed through the kitchen window, sliding two steaming plates onto the service shelf and ripping the corresponding tickets off their clips. "Only when you're repeating what I said."

The ribbing coaxed a reluctant laugh out of me. I felt a hand at my waist the moment before I smelled my mother's favorite Elizabeth Arden perfume.

Her lips pressed against my cheek. "It's good to see you smile. Everything happens-"

"-for a reason," I finished. "I know. It still sucks."

I was the only one in my family who'd gone to college. It'd been a group effort; even my brothers had pitched in. I couldn't help feeling like I'd let them all down. Sure there were hundreds of restaurateurs in New York, but Lei Yeung didn't just turn unknown chefs into name brands, she was a force of nature.

She spoke frequently about women in business and had been featured on a number of midmorning talk shows. She had immigrant parents and had worked her way through school, making a success of herself even after being betrayed by her mentor and partner. Working for her would have been a powerful statement for me.

At least, that's what I'd told myself.

"Eat your fettuccine before it gets cold," my mother said, gliding away to greet new patrons coming in.

I forked up a bite of pasta dripping with creamy Alfredo sauce as I watched her. A lot of customers did. Mona Rossi was closer to sixty than fifty, but you'd never know it from looking at her. She was beautiful and flamboyantly sexy. Her violet-red hair was teased just high enough to give it volume and frame a face that was classical in its symmetry, with full lips and dark sloe eyes. She was statuesque, with generous curves and a taste for gold jewelry.

Men and women alike loved her. My mom was comfortable in her skin, confident and seemingly carefree. Very few people realized how much trouble my brothers had given her growing up. She had them well trained now.

Taking a deep breath, I absorbed the comfort around me- the beloved sounds of people laughing, the mouthwatering smell of carefully prepared food, the clatter of silverware meeting china and glasses clinking in happy toasts. I wanted more out of my life, which sometimes made me forget how much I already had.

Nico came back, eyeing me. "Red or white?" he asked, setting his hand over mine and giving a soft squeeze.

He was a customer favorite at the bar, especially with the women. He was darkly handsome, with unruly hair and a wicked smile. A consummate flirt, he had his own fan club, ladies who hung out at the bar for both his great drinks and sexy banter.

"How about champagne?" Lei Yeung slid onto the bar stool next to me, recently vacated by a young couple whose reserved table had opened up.

I blinked.

She smiled at me, looking much younger than she had during our interview, dressed casually in jeans and a pink silk shell. Her hair was down and her face scrubbed free of makeup. "Lots of rave reviews about this place online."

"Best Italian food ever," I said, feeling my heartbeat quicken with renewed excitement.

"A lot of them say a great place got even greater over the past couple of years. Am I right in assuming that's due to you putting into practice things you've learned?"

Nico set two flutes in front of us, then filled them halfway with bubbling champagne. "You're right," he said, butting in.

Lei caught the stem of her glass and stroked it with her fingers. Her gaze caught mine. Nico, who was good at knowing when to disappear, moved down the bar.

"To get back to what you said…" she began. I started to cringe, then straightened up. Lei Yeung hadn't made a special trip just to berate me. "Ian underestimated me, but he didn't take advantage of me. Blaming him would give him too much credit. I left the door open and he walked through it."

I nodded. The exact circumstances of their split were private, but I'd inferred a lot from the reports in industry magazines and filled in the rest from gossip columns and blogs. Together they'd had a culinary empire comprised of a stable of celebrity chefs, several restaurant chains, a line of cookbooks and affordable cookware that sold in the millions. Then Pembry had announced the launch of a new chain of eateries bankrolled by A-list actors and actresses-but Lei hadn't been part of that.

"He taught me a lot," she went on. "And I've come to realize he got as much out of that as I did." She paused, thoughtful. "I'm getting too used to myself and the way I've always done things. I need fresh eyes. I want to feed off someone else's hunger."

"You want a protégée."

"Exactly." Her mouth curved. "I didn't realize that until you pointed it out. I knew I was looking for something, but I couldn't say what it was."

I was totally thrilled but kept my tone professional. I swiv-eled toward her. "I'm in, if you want me."

"Forget about normal hours," she warned. "This isn't a nine-to-five gig. I'll need you on weekends, and I might call in the middle of the night____I work all the time."

"I won't complain."

"I will." Angelo came up behind us. All the Rossi sons had figured out who I was talking to and, as usual, none of them were shy. "I need to see her every once in a while."

I elbowed him. We shared a sprawling, half-finished loft apartment in Brooklyn-all three of my brothers, me and An-gelo's wife, Denise. Most of the time we bitched about seeing one another too often.

Lei thrust out her hand and introduced herself to Nico and Angelo, then to my mom, who had wandered back over to see what the fuss was about. My dad and Vincent gave shout-outs through the service window. A menu was set in front of Lei, along with a basket of fresh bread and olive oil imported from a small farm in Tuscany.

"How's the panna cotta?" Lei asked me.

"You'll never have better," I replied. "Have you already had dinner?"

"Not yet. Lesson number one-life's too short. Don't put off the good stuff."

I bit on my lower lip to hold back a grin. "Does that mean I got the job?"

She held up her flute with a brisk nod. "Cheers."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2014

    I really enjoyed this series. It¿s perfect for a fast paced, sex

    I really enjoyed this series. It’s perfect for a fast paced, sexy read. Gianna has landed her dream job and is slowly trying to put her broken heart back together. That’s going well until the heartbreaker Jackson walks back into her life. Gianna and Jax cannot deny the sparks that still fly between them. Gianna wants what Jax refuses to give and things get complicated when he interferes with her job. At the end of AB I was very glad I had AS available to read. When Gianna vows to unearth the secrets she knows Jax is hiding I immediately had to dive right back in. Sylvia Day’s writing is top notch and I like how she uses a wide range of descriptions so the story stays fresh and never gets redundant. At the beginning of AS, Gianna and Jax’s relationship is progressing rather quickly and both are adjusting. Gianna is very likeable as a female lead. She’s dedicated to her career, has a great relationship with her family and most importantly she has no problem standing up for herself. She’s a girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and tell Jax exactly what she needs from him. She also has no problem giving the cold shoulder when needed. When a certain secret from Jax’s past is revealed, the two must decide if they’re strong enough to stick it out. The epilogue is short and sweet and will leave you satisfied. But I wouldn’t mind more of their story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    LOVED THIS BOOK! Once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

    LOVED THIS BOOK! Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. I wish there were more books to this mini series! 

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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    I loved this book one of my favorites. I wish it was longer thou

    I loved this book one of my favorites. I wish it was longer though

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  • Posted May 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:




    It's been two years since Gianna Rossi & Jackson Rutledge were in the same room together. Ever since Jax devastated and crumpled Gia's heart and dream of having a perpetual relationship, he threw her away as though she was nothing more than a paramour, a dirty-little secret.

    It's NOT until Gia is about the close a deal-of-a-lifetime, Jax parades back into her life, and infringes on her livelihood. Two can play at this game, for Gia is NOT the same easily manipulated girl Jax once knew. She's a fierce competitor and is unwilling to back down without a fight. Nevertheless if Gia doesn't win, what does she have left to lose--her sanity?

    Nothing is as it seems, Jax is literally an enigma. A completely perplexing, inexplicable, mystery. His involvement with Gia's business affairs is not completely revealed until the very end. Therefore having you, the reader, to guess at every possible outcome.

    Sylvia Day brings an intensity to her writing, like NO other. She has a way of possessing and capturing you, in a tight vise WITHOUT ever letting you go! Where OTHER authors will ONLY give us, a GLIMPSE of what truly occurs behind closed doors, they just STOP, leaving us dazed & confused. However Ms. Day UNDOUBTEDLY ventures out of the proverbial box, even though she might be ridiculed, she's still WILLING to take that CHANCE, and give us EXACTLY what we CRAVE!

    When I initially began this novel, I stayed up until 3am, trying to consume just one more breathtaking moment shared by Gia & Jax. I NEVER wanted this story to end. It possessed similar attributes as Ms. Day's other novels, her "Crossfire Series," being one of them, along with my two other favorites: "All Revved Up (Wicked Reads)," & "Wish List."

    I might also be partial to this story, for a few reasons. First Gia & I share the same surname, we both come from a similar STRONG & CLOSE-KNIT Italian Family, and last but not least, this novel takes place in ONE of my MOST favorite cities, NYC!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    Highly recommended

    As always, Sylvia Day has written a book with characters that one wishes you knew in your own life. This book has it all, suspense, romance, family, friends, humor and good sex.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    I just finished reading Afterburn/Aftershock and I have to say,

    I just finished reading Afterburn/Aftershock and I have to say, this is not some of her Sylvia’s best work. Usually, there is strong chemistry between Sylvia’s main love interests. However, Jax and Gia never connected in the way that makes the reader feel they were compatible or truly in love. Though the sex scenes were fairly steamy, the chemistry was still lacking.
    I definitely feel that the two stories were rushed, and it felt like something was missing. With that said, I am still a big fan of Slyvia Day’s writing. I’ve read many of her novels and have been pleased with most of them. Thus far, the Crossfire series is my favorite.

    I advise readers to not give up on Sylvia. Everyone is entitled to a flop every now and then.

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  • Posted April 8, 2014

    OMG I loved these books. It was 2 parts of a story and they we

    OMG I loved these books. It was 2 parts of a story and they were both awesome. I couldn't put the books down once I had started them. I carried it with me everywhere and every time I had even 2 minutes I had to read. I loved the characters. I loved the story. I love Sylvia Day. Her books are thrilling, very sexy and romantic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    loved this book!!

    loved this book!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2014

    Afterburn & Aftershock were one of the first releases from t

    Afterburn & Aftershock were one of the first releases from the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads line, in conjunction with Cosmopolitan magazine, Harlequin has joined forces to release a steamy new romance every month.

    I have to admit, I've never read a Sylvia Day novel before, that's not to say that I've never wanted to, I actually own some of her books, I've just never gotten around to it.

    I got to read an excerpt of Afterburn last year and was impressed and anxious to read the full length story and it's sequel, and I actually planned on buying a copy on it's release in digital form but ultimately forgot all about it, so when I was contacted to receive a copy of both books together in paperback to review I jumped at the chance.

    This book put a smile on my face every time I picked it up, I loved the plotline, it was easy flowing and quick to read, add into that our sexy alpha male Jackson Rutledge who has some seriously hot chemistry with our heroine Gianna Rossi and you end up with this steamy read that will leave you hot and bothered.

    Two years ago Gia and Jackson had a very brief but memorable affair, after which one day he left and never came back or contacted Gia again, until one day whilst trying to close a contract with potential clients in walks Jackson, acting as if he doesn't know her, stung by this Gia acts the same way, but it isn't long before Jackson reveals he does remember her and wants to give their relationship another go.

    But with Jackson hiding secrets and his refusal to talk about his past, how far can this relationship go especially when Gia is pretty much an open book about her own life, will this tear them apart or can Gia find a way to break down his barriers and get him to finally open up to her, will they ever get their happily ever after?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will definitely get to Sylvia's books sooner rather than later, I've found myself a new author who's writing I enjoy and I will enjoy devouring her other works.

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  • Posted March 17, 2014

    I loved reading this duo from Sylvia Day. I am a huge fan of her

    I loved reading this duo from Sylvia Day. I am a huge fan of her and when I heard she merged with Cosmo I was more than thrilled. I am used to her erotica and for me, this was a bit toned down from her usual stories.

    Gia has worked hard to leave her past with Jax behind but two years later he comes stumbling back into her life. I loved how she was made to be stronger but you still felt a connection to her feminine side. She was hurt and you watch her struggle to heal.

    Jax is used to be a play boy and doesn't know how to commit. In order to be with Gia, he must buckle down and settle with her. His bachelor ways kick in and you watch him struggle to keep Gia. 

    Aftershock/Afterburn is a wonderfully written duo by Sylvia Day. If you are used to her erotica, I am afraid this is turned down from the flavor we all know and love. It is still a beautifully written story and I look forward to more from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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