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Publisher's Summary

In this village, I’m an outcast: Griffin Everett, the scowling giant who prefers plants to people. Then I meet Keynes, a stranger from the city who’s everything I’m not: sharp-tongued, sophisticated, beautiful. Free. For a few precious moments in a dark alleyway, he’s also mine, hot and sweet under the stars...until he crushes me like dirt beneath his designer boot.

When the prettiest man I’ve ever hated shows up at my job the next day, I’m not sure if I want to strangle him or drag him into bed. Actually - I think I want both. But Keynes isn’t here for the likes of me: He makes that painfully clear. With everyone else at work, he’s all gorgeous, glittering charm - but when I get too close, he turns vicious.

And yet, I can’t stay away. Because there’s something about this ice king that sets me on fire, a secret vulnerability that makes my chest ache. I’ll do whatever it takes to sneak past his walls and see the real man again.

The last thing I expect is for that man to ruin me.

©2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about Work for It

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

empty story, narration makes this unlistenable

Read the ebook! Don't waste money on the audiobook version.

The narration is so bad that the 2 narrators pronounce the main character Olu's NAME different. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How was this approved for release?!

Shane East (Griff) did an AMAZING job, and I'm disappointed he didn't narrate both POVs. Perhaps this was to avoid a white narrator voicing a leading character of color? Admirable aim I'd be happy about if so, but I have no idea if that's the case at all since I can't find the second narrator's website. Chance Thoreau (Olu) is undoubtedly skilled, but his style does not at all fit within this book. He struggles with the various British accents (I still wonder if he's an American). His Olu sounds like Emma Watson pretending to be American and his Griff sounds like a chainsmoking gremlin. It's dreadful. Skillful, but dreadful--for a romance novel, anyway. In contrast, Shane East's Olu sounds high class (because he is) and his Griff sounds like a soft country boy (almost too soft considering his size). As a result of their dramatically different styles, every few scenes Griff's voice hops from gentle murmering to summoning the freaking antichrist. The inconsistencies between the 2 narrators are HUGE and MADDENING. I was literally unable to finish listening to this, so I just read the ebook.

The story itself? Simple. Fluffy, tropey, cringey. Seems like it needed a bit more time to mature in Talia Hibbert's drafts folder.

There are a lot of lavender adjectives where they don't belong. The humor gave me secondhand embarrassment at times. The romance buildup is too rushed to feel believable. I recommend it for people who like hyper fast-paced romance and no one else. Both leads are endearing as separate characters, but most of their interactions are extremely hollow. At times, they're downright boring. The bridge from wary of each other to openly interested is never actually written. Guess we just leap over those parts now? It honestly feels like rushed writing for a deadline, not just a rushed romance. One of my biggest pet peeves is the dreaded "premature pet name": characters who barely know each other calling each other "babe" or "sweetheart" during their first sexual encounter. Cringe. EARN the dang endearment stage! This book skipped all the fun parts of EARNING the romance.

The subplot about Griff's tea recipes warmed my heart, though. I loved Olu's enthusiastic support of Griff's intellectual property. 10/10 for that bit.

My biggest concern is that issues of mental health are handled in an insultingly ignorant manner. Perhaps Talia Hibbert is educated on these matters, but it is not reflected in this book. One character suffers from severe sex repulsion and anxiety, and can you guess what fixes it all up? A sexy farmer. In the span of a week. Ugh. Serious subject matter like this requires care, and it's completely misplaced in a lighthearted fast-paced romance. Take the time to do it right or don't write it at all. (If you're looking for m/m romance that handles mental health issues with the gravity they demand, I recommend Alexis Hall.)

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous book, one great narrator, other is awful

It's been a while since I wanted to give a book more than five stars, but this is that book. Also the way the imagery was woven throughout the story reminded me of one of my favorite authors.

*all the loving happy flails*

This was gorgeous and so well-written. I loved both of them so much! I loved basically everything about this book and, as is often the case when I love a book so thoroughly, I m having trouble putting my feelings into words. The writing about depression and insecurity and bullying is beautifully subtle and understanding. Griffin's best friend and Keyne's sister were fantastic secondary characters.

I'm going to have to read the other books in the series very soon.

I will re-read this many times. All the love!

Audio: this is so difficult because it has duel narrators and one was fantastic, and the other bordered on atrocious. Griffin's main narrator was great, he brought the emotions through, delineated the characters, and did a great job with the accents. Keyne's narrator was just awful however, and it felt like he had a bigger proportion of the narration. I can't emphasize how horrible his Griffin voice was, it was ridiculous and weird and wrong in every way. His voice for Keyne was fine, except he some times sounded like he was faking the accent. I had been waiting for this with high hopes and bought it as soon as I saw it was released, but I can't see myself listening to it again. I'm so disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome

Absolutely loved it!!! The story and the performance were great. I can't wait to listen to it again.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome

Love this book. One of the two narrators is exceptional. The other is okay. The characters are lovely. Great story

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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good story but really terrible narration

the story was good and interesting but you could hear the narrator swallowing and gasping between every other word it was very distracting.

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Poor story development and miscast narrator

Had to bail at about 40%. Just too awful. The piece lacks artistry and emotional intelligence.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Story is Enjoyable Enough

As a whole, I thought this book was enjoyable. I did start reading this book awhile ago, and for whatever reason, had set it aside. But I did get the audiobook since then and I forget books all the time, so I definitely started this book with fresh eyes.

This book does work as a standalone. The retail book listings don’t mention that this is part of a series, but Goodreads does. I think since this is m/m, readers don’t necessarily have to read the m/f books before this one to understand what’s happening in this book. However, one of the MCs seems to be a pretty important character in the first 2 books and one MC’s sister who got her HEA in a previous book is actually pregnant in this one, so there is some continuity there if anyone wanted to go back and read their stories. And I actually do love Talia Hibbert’s m/f books, so I will be checking those out!

Trigger warnings include mentions of blackmailing, mentions of forced outing, mentions of a parent’s suicide, bullying, depression, anxiety, and grief for a parent who has passed away.

Griffith “Griff” Everett is a 28-year-old and oversees the operations of Fernley Farm. He’s lived in Fernley all his life and has never contemplated leaving, even though all the villagers treat him something awful and the memory of his mother even worse. He does have one friend he’s really close with, so that was nice to see. He’s a bit of a giant, and maybe not the most traditionally handsome man, but he’s really very kind and just an absolute sweetheart underneath the surface.

Olumide “Olu” Olusegun-Keynes is an alien. Or at least that’s how he describes himself, and it’s how he views himself compared to the people around him. He’s from London and is 38 years old. He has come off a very, VERY bad relationship and doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin anymore. He decides he needs a break from the city and finds the remote, quaint town of Fernley to get away from the city life. He signs up to help Fernley’s Elderberry Harvest with his travel journals in tow.

The relationship between Griff and Olu is darling and something of a slow burn. But once they admit their attraction to one another, they are together a LOT. I do like how explicit consent is in this book. Maybe because I didn’t know Olu’s backstory (I think this is covered in his sister’s book), Olu came off as maybe demisexual or grey ace to me for most of this book. It’s never quite said in-text, and maybe it has to do with the horrors of his last relationship instead, but I think Olu reads on the ace spectrum to me. His friendship with Griff definitely builds over time, and he’s blown away that Griff would want to do anything other than have sex. Like just making their own cordial (like a syrup) for drinks (which is a Griffith specialty and what really helps keep the farm in business).

So. I think there were some instances where the characters felt a little stuck in their heads with their inner dialogue too long for my tastes. And it sometimes felt like a drag on the story. I’ve noticed this is fairly common in Talia Hibbert’s writing, and only seems to be cut down more in her latest The Brown Sisters series.

I guess my biggest issue with this book is the epilogue. This book, while works as a standalone, does actually tries to be a bit of a bridge to complete the whole Just For Him series. We know Olu’s sister is pregnant and even though this is a m/m book, we have an epilogue that deals with a pregnancy and then the MCs talking about wanting their own children one day. Which. I’m not convinced. Olu practically raised his own sister from a young age and both he and Griff showed no signs at all towards kids at any point in the book other than Olu showing excitement for being an uncle. Yes, I do like m/m books where the couple has children throughout the book, but it just felt like a heteronormative ending was shoved into the epilogue in this case. I am not a fan.

The narration for this is pretty fabulous. I’ve listened to Shane East before (and his pseudonym) and I think I prefer his m/m romance narrations and my only question is, why doesn’t he do more m/m books??? I’m very sorry for what I said about him when I initially listened to a m/f series he narrated. He is very good and more people should listen to his audiobooks.

What I really have a question about is Chance Thoreau. The narrator for Olu. WHO IS HE. He only has this one audiobook under this name but I did find a bio on another website that says he’s done a lot of narration work. WHICH MEANS he has a pseudonym and I want to know what else he’s narrated so I can listen to those too!! Or maybe he should narrate more m/m romance books under this name. I’m just saying. I would listen to them.

I think they were both very excellent narrators, but like any duel narration, the characters never sound quite like the other depending on who’s reading which chapter. So, like, I love Shane East’s Griff and I love Chance Thoreau’s Olu. But Shane reading Olu never sounded like Chance’s Olu and vice versa for Griff. They both have such distinctive voices for their characters that it was more noticeable and made it sound like there were 4 characters in this relationship instead of just 2 at times. So that’s probably my one issue regarding the audiobook.

But one super fun thing that happens with this audiobook is that after Chance Thoreau narrates “the end” he adds in something that’s not in the ebook? He adds in a “boom”. Like giving the audiobook a mic drop and it was GOLD. I wasn’t expecting it at all and had to go back and replay it a couple times because it made me laugh.

Overall, I thought this book was enjoyable, minus the epilogue. There’s no really abrupt third act breakup, but more like an extremely short time apart which worked for the characters and the story. Griff and Olu are great. This definitely contained much more angst than I was expecting. I wouldn’t say this is my favorite Talia Hibbert book, but the audiobook narration was fun and Griff has a really great moment near the end where he shows great initiative and I LOVED that scene. The author does write queer m/f books, but I would definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more m/m romances from her!

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  • HMM
  • 12-18-21

Did not finish at 50 %

I had no good picture of the mc's characters and found the plot utterly boring.
May be because I did not read the previous novels.
Narration was good.

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  • Clare Tunilla
  • 10-31-21

4.5 stars

4.5 stars I own nearly every book this author has ever released so I thought it was beyond past time I dipped into said backlist. And this was a good choice to get started. Griffin and Olu had an intense connection, but due to baggage on both sides, they really have to Work For It. They are both keeping so much of themselves back for various and sundry reasons, and honestly one of the side characters in this is utterly ghastly, but seeing those grumpy but secretly soft boys open up for each other made my cold heart warm a degree or two. I might need to find a whole week to get the rest of this backlist read. Content warnings include: anxiety and depression, small village treating one of their own absolutely horrible over years, ableism, sex on-page; mentions of parental death, suicide, forced outing, homophobic parents disowning child for being gay, sharing of intimate photos without consent, blackmail, murder, abusive parents.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KCW
  • 03-22-21

Story is OK but Narration is not!

This book has some good back story for the characters and I love Talia Hibbert books! However one of the narrators, the one that reads Olu is difficult to listen to when he does the Griff's voice! In his ordinary voice which sounds like SEAL its fine - I could listen to him all day and night, but for some inexplicable reason he narrates the 27 yr old Griff with the voice that sounds like a 70 yr chain-smoker! (Sounded a bit like Jim on the Vicar of Dibley!) It was cringing at times and as much as I want to hear the story, I'd dread when his narration started. I'm not sure why the other guy didn't read the whole book, he could handle both characters equally well. Doesn't put me off other Talia Hibbert books though, she's still a fave author.