She’s a beauty, but he’s just a geek.
The world might think billionaire Xavier Gaines has it all, but he’s got a big problem. His successful software company is about to sign a government contract that’ll land him smack in the glare of the public limelight, and his lifelong battle with social anxiety has marked him as a cold, uncaring bastard in the eyes of the press. To dispel the unflattering image, he needs help, and there’s only one person he trusts with the job—Peyton Smoke. Gorgeous, kind, and funny, she agrees to be his media relations director and soon imbeds herself so deeply in his life, his world will crumble if anything upsets the balance. He cannot screw up their solid unit. No matter how achingly he desires her. Yet, how is he supposed to resist when she tugs emotions from him he didn’t think he was capable of experiencing? Especially since it appears he’s not the only one fighting their undeniable attraction.
Ever-after just might be possible...if he can convince her to believe in love again.
Peyton Smoke is looking for a change, and working at Gaines Industries has given her the boost she needs to fill the empty void in her life. Xavier is the perfect boss. Under his seemingly callous, frigid demeanor lies a compassionate man who cares about causes and those precious few he lets into his inner circle. What she wasn’t prepared for is the smoldering passion suddenly flaring between them, nor the hot-as-sin alpha side beneath the layer of sexy nerd. Getting involved with him puts more than her job at risk. She’s been trampled one too many times, and she vowed never to leave herself vulnerable again. But the heart wants what the heart wants. If only she can figure out whether his feelings are genuine or if this is a mistaken case of gratitude wrapped in lust, then their shot at forever may not seem like such a fruitless hope.
"Moran pulls you in and does...Not. Let. Go. Hot, heartfelt, and hard to put down."
~Molly McLain, USA Today Bestselling Author
|File size:||986 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Kelly Moran is a best-selling & award-winning romance author of enchanting ever-afters. She is a RITA Finalist, Catherine Award-Winner, a Readers' Choice Finalist, an Award of Excellence Finalist, and a Holt Medallion Finalist, plus she earned one of the 10 Best Reads by USA TODAY's Lifestyle blog. Kelly's been known to say she gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her and there's always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself. Her interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet coffee junkie and chocoholic, but don't tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her three sons and her hound dog. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well. She loves connecting with her readers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had the privilege to win an audiobook version of this title on the author page for Kelly Moran, and I was super excited to try the audiobook experience itself, as well. I was nervous about it, mainly that I would focus on the voice of the reader, and their performance, instead of the story. But Counterbalance drew me in so that I soon forgot someone was reading it to me, instead, I was completely absorbed in the life of Xavier Gaines and Peyton Smoke. There's so much to love about this story, mainly because it breaks all the normal patterns of romance novels, it goes outside the box, yet is lovely, steaming hot, adorable, and attractive tale of friendship and love. The relationship between Peyton and Xavier is growing over time, really over the years, and they have a unique and true trust between them. The complete honesty they share is refreshing, how they deal with conflict is mature and an example most of could learn from. Xavier is a self-made successful businessman, yet he has humbleness, dignity, honor, and loyalty that I admired. Peyton gets Xavier like no one else does. She understands him and his social anxiety. She is a key player in the continuing success of Xavier's business yet she wants to make sure that the blooming relationship is not connected to their work relationship. Because of his economic status, she feels like she is not enough for him and his family, because of his geekiness and socially awkward behavior, Xavier feels that he is not good enough for her. I loved, treasured each moment of the story, the fragile balance that X and Peyton were building on their romantic relationship, the adoration they had for each other, the passion and deeply rooted feelings they had for each other, the friendship they had formed in high school and were able to expand from, each element making the tale more enjoyable, the romance more believable, and the story more captivating and delightful. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the author's work, and Counterbalance delivers a heartfelt, ardent tale that I adored. ~ Five Spoons
Counterbalance by Kelly Moran is one of those special books. You know the kind - when you don't feed the kids because you can't stop reading! You lose sleep - and then the worst happens - you finish the book and go through withdrawal because these characters have become part of your life! What a ride! Xavier and Peyton will definitely be missed. In fact, I might just have to read Counterbalance again!
Xavier knows he needs to change his public image: while he's successful, he comes across as cold due to a self-diagnosed social anxiety problem. Enter Peyton Smoke. Once upon a time, he tutored Peyton in high school. Now, she is a talented and successful media relations expert looking for a change. When Xavier offers her the opportunity to work as the media relations director for his company, she takes him up on his offer and discovers that underneath that cold demeanor is a compassionate and generous man. Neither are prepared for the attraction that eventually grows between them. It is always a pleasure to read a Kelly Moran book and this is no different. Xavier Gaines is a man who knows he needs help if he wants to change his image and keep his company successful and Peyton Smoke is one of the few people he trusts. This book also has two of my favorite tropes: friends-to-lovers and office romance. Both tropes are handled well, including the rather sticky situation of Peyton working for Xavier. There is not even a hint of coercion in the relationship. The focus of the book is on Xavier and Peyton but secondary characters do appear and shine through. Joseph, Xavier's friend and bodyguard, has a great friendship with Peyton and provides advice to both Xavier and Peyton. I wish we see more of Kate, Peyton's best friend, but what we do see of her is refreshing. My only complaint is that I think Peyton is portrayed as pretty much perfect. This may, in part, be due to the book being mostly told from Xavier's point of view, and he has definitely placed her on a pedestal. He trusts her and her opinion, especially when it comes to emotions, almost more than his own. Overall, Moran has written a fantastic romantic book. As is usual with her male heroes, Xavier performs a number of romantic gestures throughout the book. Peyton and Xavier have a solid friendship that shines through outside of their romantic one. I loved the emphasis on charity work and giving back to the community as well. I greatly enjoyed reading this and pretty much read it in one sitting. Final grade: 4.5 stars
Absolutely wonderful story Great read. Xander and Peyton have known each other since high school, she was the cheer leader he was the geek. Now he is the CEO of a company that is now a millionaire. The chemistry is smoking between them can they make it work even though they work together and with Xander's social anxiety and Peyton's fears of being left. This book is a great read and you don't want to put it down. Kelly Moran has made you fall in love with a great couple and the other characters in this book and you are rooting for them.
Favorite Quotes: She had a date with Thor and her couch via Netflix. Maybe she’d make it a threesome by adding Ghirardelli. She cupped Archie’s cheeks as his driver held the limousine door for them. ‘Drive it like it’s stolen. We’re running late.’ I could not have picked a better woman for you if I climbed an X chromosome tree and plucked her off a branch myself. I love the way you say my name. It’s like you’re marking your territory and begging at the same time. They’ve been together quite some time. After you, other pastures were bound to be greener. I’d say she’s emerald by comparison. ‘Let’s practice your surprise face.’ She mimed an exaggerated shock expression and waved her hands. His golden gaze gave her a once-over. ‘I’m not doing that. I’ll look constipated.’ My Review: I have thoroughly enjoyed every delectably written Kelly Moran book I have picked up. She has never failed to provide an amusing and engaging read and Counterbalance continues in that vein – it was full of feels, humor, and delightful visuals. Her writing is insightful, witty, and cleverly observant. She so deftly sets the emotional tone and flavor of each detailed scene and uniquely appealing character with mastery. Her books contain such vibrant detail that I feel I am right there watching, lurking in a corner, or peering in a window. Ms. Moran’s word voodoo pulls me in while her endearing characters hold me captive. I adored Peyton and Xavier. Xavier had always been socially awkward and as a smart geek had been bullied in school. As an adult, he could appear “as arctic as a glacier in Greenland,” when he was actually suffering from social anxiety and in fact, had a huge, tender, and altruistic heart. Peyton had already experienced far too many significant losses and had lost her entire family and fiancé over a short period and during a young age. I relished their sweet and thoughtful consideration of each other as well as the underlying heat to their attraction, which later bloomed into steamy sensuality. Once the geek turned on the charm he evolved into a romantic alpha and pure seduction, and sigh, I was goo.