by Isobel Rey

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Substitute by Isobel Rey

She's driven by his desire...

It took all of Alexia's courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and strike out on her own. When she lands a job at a glamorous sports agency, she thinks she finally has made it. But shy, blond, and beautiful, Alexia is totally unprepared for the fast sexual politics of rich men and ambitious women that is waiting for her.

Most of all, she is totally unprepared for her new boss, Nathan Fallon.

Nathan is an ex-Army officer, dazzling but damaged, who has risen to the top of the cutthroat world of sports agents. There is no one Alexia wants more, but a case of mistaken identity has Nathan believing she's given herself over to the advances of the office playboy. Desperate to win Nathan's respect, Alexia agrees to become his substitute personal assistant. It doesn't take long for the sparks to fly...and for Alexia to find herself enthralled by a man she cannot read and could never resist.

What readers are saying:
"Brilliant. Couldn't put it down."
"If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, you will enjoy this!"
"All the fun AND a good story."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492601012
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 950 KB

About the Author

Isobel Rey is a Cambridge graduate. After interning at a stage/film talent agency, Isobel now works at a London advertising agency. This is her debut novel. Originally from Surrey, Isobel lives in London with her partner and a one-eared rescue cat called Thumper.

Read an Excerpt

Finding yourself in the en suite bathroom that adjoins the company boardroom may not be all that unusual. Finding yourself hiding in there while two people are about to fuck on the boardroom table – well, that definitely doesn’t happen every day. Certainly not to Alexia.

She eased herself as far back into the bathroom as she could, hoping to stay hidden. How the hell did she get here? Two days into a new job and she was hiding in a bathroom? She had run away from her old life, a life that had cornered and trapped her. And yet here she was, cornered again, praying hard she wouldn’t be discovered, and holding her breath. But then, it felt as if she had spent years holding her breath …


One month earlier

She didn’t look back at the house, not until she’d gone through the gates that led out on to the street. She pulled her car into the road to drive away, desperate to slam her foot to the floor and get as far away as possible, as fast as possible. But she found herself pulling the car over to the side of the road, and taking a last look back at the front door.

It was an impressive house, large and double-fronted, surrounded by trees, with a pretty cherry tree swaying in the front garden, soft pink and fluttering, so inviting. She remembered the first time she’d seen it, at the end of a whirlwind first date. She had trotted behind Carter as he strode up the drive and the taxi that had delivered them retreated into the night. He’d proudly opened the door to his mansion for his new girlfriend.

She shivered. How could she have been so stupid? It was obvious throughout that first evening that he was controlling. He ordered the wine without asking her what she liked. He’d insisted on a certain table without checking if she was happy. She’d missed her train home and he insisted she stay at his house. He’d made it a fait accompli before she’d had time to object. Then he’d insisted she share his bed when she asked for the spare room. It was their first date, and Alexia wasn’t the type to jump into bed so soon. But he made it impossible to say no. He managed to make her sound petulant and unreasonable for daring to object.

She had moved in with him two weeks later, just as a temporary measure. Her flatmate had sold the apartment she’d been in living in since leaving college. Alexia was now homeless and jobless.

‘Of course you should come here,’ Carter had said as he brushed her objections aside. He was tall, powerfully built, with a strong voice, and a stronger grip. He was a human bulldozer, physically and emotionally.

She wasn’t sure quite when he had gained control over her; it seemed to happen slowly, incrementally, like water dripping on a stone. He played on her lack of experience with men, and bit by bit she became passive, complying. She dared to argue, but less and less, as it always ended with him shouting her down until she acquiesced.

She was in his house, and he made sure she felt beholden to him. By day, he was mercurial; one minute charming and loving, the next petulant, controlling, bullying and difficult. By night, he was worse. That first evening she should have known. The sex had been demanding and hurried. She hadn’t enjoyed it, but then she thought, I’ve had a few drinks and so has he; it’ll get better, he’ll get softer. But it didn’t get better, and he didn’t soften.

He didn’t believe in making love. He would grab her hair to make her look at him as he pounded her, his jaw tight and his eyes hard and staring. Or force her face down as he took her from behind without ever testing whether she was ready. He liked her before she got too wet. He told her it felt better, but deep down she knew it was because it gave him a sense of control.

He owned her and didn’t care what she did or didn’t want. She had sex like an automaton. She’d never really enjoyed sex that much before Carter, no one had ever lit a fire inside her, making it easier for her to avoid it or blank out each encounter. He wasn’t often demanding of her, and she suspected he got his bedroom kicks elsewhere. Instead of feeling betrayed, she was relieved he would leave her alone.

Alexia sat in the car, the engine still running. She took a last, long look at that huge oak door, the one she’d run out of so many times. With nowhere else to go she had always gone back, hearing it shut behind her. The noise of the slamming door reminded her each time of her failure. Not this time. This was the last time.

Carter had gone to some business meeting, leaving her alone in the house. The overwhelming feeling of incarceration had suffocated her, tightening around her stomach, her ribs. She’d paced through the house, tearing at her own clothes. This feeling had been getting tighter and tighter around her until she could barely breathe. He had screamed at her again that morning, another of his flashes of temper that erupted from nowhere over nothing at all. This one had been a bad one. He’d left her shaking on the bathroom floor.

As she paced the hallway she cried out like a wounded animal. She had to go, she had to get out, but where? Anywhere was better than this. She was leaving. Now.

Alexia ran upstairs and started throwing all her things in bags, stuffing them blindly. She ran out of the house, filling the back of her small car. When she was done she turned around and ran to the door. Her keys were inside the house; if she pulled the door now, she couldn’t get back in. She froze, contemplating what closing the door would mean. She could feel her heart pounding against her ribs; her breathing was ragged. Then, with one big heave, she pulled the door. The final slam. She had heard it shut so many times, but this time the sound echoed like someone had struck a giant bell. She fled backwards to her car and leapt in, thrusting the keys into the ignition and speeding out of the drive, gravel flying out from under the wheels. But then she stopped the car on the far side of the road. She was across the street, looking back.

‘This is the last time I look at this house. This is the last time, the last time.’ Saying it out loud made it more real. She was the mistress of her destiny, not him.

She slammed the car into first gear and roared away down the street. 

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Substitute 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Clo2117 More than 1 year ago
Substitute This book takes the reader on a journey were the hunted/novice learns to be the hunter expert. It reminds me of Snow White (new version) becoming the Huntsman.  Alexis, the Heroine, wants to be needed and wanted sexually. She needs to learn more about her strength and sexuality as a woman.  The writer conveys this well. The sexual need/tension was phenomenal in this book.  As the reader I could see the heat come from my iPad from each of the character that was wanted Alexis.  The poor girl doesn’t find herself attractive and has a low self-esteem of herself. There are scenes in the book where Alexis talks to herself, and it reminds me of Ana’s (50 Shades of Grey) inner goddess. I would have been perfect in this book, but perfection was delivered as the author decided to us the assistance of two fair godmothers, both of Alexis’s roommates [Romy and Richard]. One of them is a male and his help is beneficial to the development of Alexis, you will see. Alexis roommates teach her how to rebrand herself. Which is quite rockin’.  I love how no matter the situation Alexis is was caught in these positions that make it look like she is more physically active in than she is. Every time this occurs only one person sees her, the Hero and the man that Alexis has the hoody eye, biting my lip and panting for each time she sees him. The Hero (Nathan Fallon) in this book is described as hot, but I believe that the true Hero is Richard. I see him as the person who truly, physically, helped Alexis become the woman with a positive self-esteem. Richard gives her tutorials in the art of self-confidence and sexuality and most need the hands on approach.  Liked: 1. The anticipations 2. The opening scene 3. The male characters (Richard and Nathan) 4. The depiction of the sports agent world, it is raunchy and I love it. LOL 5. Strong Alexis Dislikes 1. Weak Alexis 2. Douchey guy (you will know him when you read about him) 3. The ending.  This is a straight to the point kind of book.  Really easy read. Lovely. Happy Reading.