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Business as Usual

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Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she's determined to help her brother Reed—who gave up everything to give her a chance at a semi-normal college experience after her rape a year ago. Reed has a secret he's keeping from Lexi and his fiancee Caroline, and he refuses to tell them what it's about, even Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she's determined to help her brother Reed—who gave up everything to give her a chance at a semi-normal college experience after her rape a year ago. Reed has a secret he's keeping from Lexi and his fiancee Caroline, and he refuses to tell them what it's about, even when it's destroying his relationship with Caroline. Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University, suffering from sleep deprivation and exhaustion while trying to keep up with his courses and working three part time jobs after losing his full ride scholarship last fall. The last thing he needs is Reed Pendergrafts's little sister complicating things. Yet Ben can't get her off his mind, especially when he realizes that she keeps turning up in a black wig where he bar tends. Lexi's determined to keep her real identity from him, the question is why?


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Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she's determined to help her brother Reed—who gave up everything to give her a chance at a semi-normal college experience after her rape a year ago. Reed has a secret he's keeping from Lexi and his fiancee Caroline, and he refuses to tell them what it's about, even Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she's determined to help her brother Reed—who gave up everything to give her a chance at a semi-normal college experience after her rape a year ago. Reed has a secret he's keeping from Lexi and his fiancee Caroline, and he refuses to tell them what it's about, even when it's destroying his relationship with Caroline. Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University, suffering from sleep deprivation and exhaustion while trying to keep up with his courses and working three part time jobs after losing his full ride scholarship last fall. The last thing he needs is Reed Pendergrafts's little sister complicating things. Yet Ben can't get her off his mind, especially when he realizes that she keeps turning up in a black wig where he bar tends. Lexi's determined to keep her real identity from him, the question is why?

30 review for Business as Usual

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lady Vigilante (Feifei)

    3 STARS Although this book is a standalone, there is heavy overlap with book 2 so read at least Redesigned before starting Business as Usual. Of course, I highly recommend reading them in order… Unless unicorns fly in and animals start talking, NA books are pretty much a miss for me. I’m just bored and tired of the same college setting with the same type of bad boy who sleeps around and miraculously falls in love with the heroine, blah blah blah. But that didn’t happen with this book, and the othe 3 STARS Although this book is a standalone, there is heavy overlap with book 2 so read at least Redesigned before starting Business as Usual. Of course, I highly recommend reading them in order… Unless unicorns fly in and animals start talking, NA books are pretty much a miss for me. I’m just bored and tired of the same college setting with the same type of bad boy who sleeps around and miraculously falls in love with the heroine, blah blah blah. But that didn’t happen with this book, and the others in this series. I don’t know what it is about Denise’s stories, but I’m pretty sure if she wrote a lab manual I’d read it and end up enjoying it. This is the third book in the Off the Subject series and focuses on Lexi, Reed’s sister. From book 2 (and this book’s blurb) you find out that Lexi was raped and as a result left her old life as the rich Monroe girl and settled in at Southern College with her brother Reed as Lexi Pendergraft. She’s outwardly open, friendly, and at first glance she’s just like any other normal college girl, but in reality, Lexi is incapable of maintaining a longtime relationship and she knows it. Ben has one goal: finish out his last semester at Southern College. Wrongfully accused of a heinous crime he didn’t commit, Ben wants nothing more than to get out of town. Though he doesn’t trust and love easily, he’s a really thoughtful, caring guy who’s responsible and loyal to friends. Lexi and Ben, two people who were never supposed to cross roads, meet each other by chance and they just connect. At the same time, Lexi is busy figuring out what Reed is hiding from her and his fiancée Caroline, getting her caught in some dangerous situations; however, Ben is always watching out for her and pretty soon, Lexi and Ben start to fall in love with each other: he with her sweet personality and inner strength and she with his protectiveness and caring heart. I really liked this book in terms of plot development and I loved revisiting all the old characters and catching up on their stories. However, there were a few things that kept me from fully enjoying the book and one of them was how Reed dominated the book. I like his character, but this is Lexi’s book. Granted his role in the book pertained to Lexi, but I would’ve liked to see more of how she was involved. A lot of the plot suspense and twists dealt with where Reed was, what his secret was, etc…Another thing was a lot of the decisions Lexi made really pissed me off. She came off as an immature child and if it weren’t for Ben coming to the rescue, who knows what would’ve happened to her. I understand that those events had to happen as part of the plot development but gosh, she was so stupid in those scenes I facepalmed. Anyway, in the end it worked out well since all those events led to a smackdown finale where Lexi’s past and present collided, and the author wrapped up that part nicely. Compared to the first two books, Business as Usual fell flat for me, but nevertheless, still a good read. I think fans of the series will be happy with Lexi’s story, but me being me, I just wanted more: as this is Lexi’s story I needed more about her and not a story revolving so much around the side characters. I needed more Lexi and Ben time. ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews, freebie lists, & giveaways visit my blog!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This story was beautifully done. Touching on a very sensitive subject the author told the story of this young girl in a very realistic yet delicate way. It wasn't overdone nor shaded over. It was a tasteful depiction of the mindset and day to day realities of a girl dealing with a traumatic, life changing event. Lexi/Alexa was trying to move on but felt stuck. An overprotective brother will do that to you(don't get me wrong I love Reed). She is trying to heal but until one thing in her life chan This story was beautifully done. Touching on a very sensitive subject the author told the story of this young girl in a very realistic yet delicate way. It wasn't overdone nor shaded over. It was a tasteful depiction of the mindset and day to day realities of a girl dealing with a traumatic, life changing event. Lexi/Alexa was trying to move on but felt stuck. An overprotective brother will do that to you(don't get me wrong I love Reed). She is trying to heal but until one thing in her life changes it doesn't seem a possibility. Ben is a sweet, responsible man who has had his own life changed by an event that brought his whole world down around him. He is slowly doing what he needs to keep his life from completely falling apart. Ben totally came in swooned me, waltzed me around, and then swept me off my feet. Together they become what they both needed to heal but nothing is ever that easy. I loved how true they were and how when you know you know. No it may not be that easy but it also kind of is. I loved Lexi form the moment we meet her in Redesigned and I fell even more so in this book. She is so strong and dedicated. I believe this book can give anyone, even if not the same situation, some hope at healing and moving past what has been done to you into what you can be from now on.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily Pearson

    I didn't think Denise could top Redesigned...boy was I wrong. The Off The Subject series just get better and better! Lexi is truly an inspiring character. And Ben...Ben is swoon-worthy. The strong dialogue left me awestruck. I felt part of their story and I was hooked from beginning to end. Lexi has been to hell and back and Ben is just what she needs to help her follow her path of putting her life back together. Their chemistry is HOT. I can't recommend this book enough <3

  4. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    I really hope this is Lexie's story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Kay

    4.5 Stars This series is one of my favorites in the NA genre, not only because I love Denise's writing, but because her plots have just enough uniqueness to make them stand out from the crowd. Lexi is a great heroine. She believes herself to be broken but in reality she's a fighter with a fierce sense of loyalty and family. Ben was absolutely amazing and I loved getting part of the book from his POV. There was always some great, witty banter when Ben was around, especially when he was interacting 4.5 Stars This series is one of my favorites in the NA genre, not only because I love Denise's writing, but because her plots have just enough uniqueness to make them stand out from the crowd. Lexi is a great heroine. She believes herself to be broken but in reality she's a fighter with a fierce sense of loyalty and family. Ben was absolutely amazing and I loved getting part of the book from his POV. There was always some great, witty banter when Ben was around, especially when he was interacting with Lexi. Though the relationship between Lexi and Ben seemed to develop a little quickly, they were still a great fit for each other. One thing I really enjoyed in this book was how it portrayed Lexi regaining her confidence in herself and in her sexuality. She has other sexual partners in this book, but each one is there for a reason and each one helps to show her development as a character. And of course I LOVED seeing some more of Caroline and Reed. Reed's acting like a dickhead for most of this book and he's overprotective to the extreme, but he's still my favorite of the Off the Subject guys. Although I think Ben might be tied with him for that spot now :-) ** I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest reivew

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stormy Udell

    BEST OFF THE SUBJECT BOOK YET. Before you even read this review go ahead and get it, your husband (or wife) will thank you. The heat and chemistry between these two is indescribable. They both have experienced the harsh realities of life, making them mature beyond their years. The conversations, both mentally and verbally, add to the depth of each character, creating a true sense of realism throughout the entire book. It's romantic, sweet, and "in touch". Denise has wrote a book that is so inten BEST OFF THE SUBJECT BOOK YET. Before you even read this review go ahead and get it, your husband (or wife) will thank you. The heat and chemistry between these two is indescribable. They both have experienced the harsh realities of life, making them mature beyond their years. The conversations, both mentally and verbally, add to the depth of each character, creating a true sense of realism throughout the entire book. It's romantic, sweet, and "in touch". Denise has wrote a book that is so intense but at the same time so real, it makes you believe these aren't just made up characters, but that they do exist and so does their love. you won't regret this read. It had me on the edge of my seat at times, laughing out loud at others, and in tears a few. In the end Business as Usual left me wanting more but still with an extreme sense of contintement, which in my humble opinion is the best kind of emotion to have after reading. I can't wait to see more of Lexie and Ben's guest appearances in future off the subject books...because Denise really can't stop this series!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather andrews

    Ben is pretty protective of Lexi, "I get up and turn on a lamp on my dresser, flipping off the overhead light. "Don't you two have something else to do other than stand there and mentally undress her?" Lexi I loved her she's just adorable and vulnerable, "her eyes turn glassy. "I worried you wouldn't want me anymore. I didn't come to get my purse and I -" I pull her against my chest as my mouth claims hers again. The saying action speaks better than words seems appropriate here." Ben he's always Ben is pretty protective of Lexi, "I get up and turn on a lamp on my dresser, flipping off the overhead light. "Don't you two have something else to do other than stand there and mentally undress her?" Lexi I loved her she's just adorable and vulnerable, "her eyes turn glassy. "I worried you wouldn't want me anymore. I didn't come to get my purse and I -" I pull her against my chest as my mouth claims hers again. The saying action speaks better than words seems appropriate here." Ben he's always willing to make sure his girl is good and loved, "he stands up straight and spins around, then steps between my open legs and pulls my body flush against his. His erection is pressed firmly against my crotch. His eyes darken as his mouth lowers to mine. "As I said, I aim to please." He's also always willing to make sure his girl knows he's on board with her, "how can you even say that?" I ask. "Patience? We're experimenting with other positions. Do you know how many guys would kill to be in my shoes?" Book 2 in this series is still my favorite but I have to say this one comes in second place.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Business as Usual is a heartwarming Love story that will make you anxious to get to the end but sorry when it’s over. Lexi is living a lie and trying to start over fresh but the past comes back to haunt her. Lexi is broken and thinks she can never be fixed! Ben is afraid she will never love him when she finds out his secret. After his previous failure Reed just wants to protect her. It’s exciting. It’s sexy. It’s HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Rice

    Ben is every girls dream for a boyfriend and after the hell Alexa has gone through the past two years, she deserves to be happy. But will her happiness last, when Ben's past is made known, will she be able to believe him? As her own past finds her and comes back for revenge. And of coarse she's worried about her brother as he self destructs and once again puts his life on hold to try and protect her.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Business As Usual was absolutely my favorite of this series! Lexi and Ben have both been through so much, and experiencing their journeys together and separately was inspirational and empowering!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline's Reads

    3 Ridiculous Stars I have mixed feelings. The first half, was nothing about the couple, but the second half got better. We know Lexi was raped in the previous book and because of this Reed is crazy over protective. Lexi, Reed and Caroline (Reed’s girlfriend) live in the same apartment. Lexi has sexual issues because of her rape. She breaks a relationship off because she can’t handle being with someone sexually. She meets Ben at the bar he works at and has a polite conversation. Nothing really come 3 Ridiculous Stars I have mixed feelings. The first half, was nothing about the couple, but the second half got better. We know Lexi was raped in the previous book and because of this Reed is crazy over protective. Lexi, Reed and Caroline (Reed’s girlfriend) live in the same apartment. Lexi has sexual issues because of her rape. She breaks a relationship off because she can’t handle being with someone sexually. She meets Ben at the bar he works at and has a polite conversation. Nothing really comes of this until much much later. So after Ben meets Lexi, a ton of stuff happens that doesn’t even involve Ben and Lexi How does that end up as a story? I have no idea, but I can say that I am highly disappointed. - Lexi wears a black wig and pretends to be Alexa Okay, so this is just silly. So what? She wears a wig, but this wig makes Lexi like outgoing and what do you know, she can have sex, but it’s not Ben who she hooks up with. - Lexi hooks up with a random guy in the beginning I guess I get why she hooked up with a random guy, it’s to show us that the wig made her a little crazy, but was it necessary? No. - Reed is crazy over protective to the point where it’s annoying and not realistic Reed is CRAZY. He makes Lexi stay in at night, puts a tracking device on Lexi’s phone, he asks where she goes and what time she comes home. Oh my gosh, if she was a teenager I would kind of get it, but for heaven sakes, she’s in college, I just simply roll my eyes. - Reed is a jerk to Caroline Not only Reed is crazy, he’s moody and is taking it out on Caroline. Why should there even be an issue with Caroline? They went through so much crap in the previous book and then this happens?! I started to get upset. In the beginning Lexi and Ben interact a handful of times. I can probably count on my hands how many times they meet. They don’t really start a story until the second half of the book. They meet one time during the first 30%. I felt like this was more about Lexi and Reed’s story, than Lexi and Ben. Then Lexi and her craziness, she just doesn’t have a clue. I mean the wig, silly, then keeping things from her brother, when she should let him know, then sneaking out after she said she would stay home. It just doesn’t make sense. Too much stuff happens. Then Ben has secrets, but he keeps it from Lexi, when we all know he needs to just tell her. I really hated that and it frustrated me. I felt like the ending was just a bunch of things coming to a crash. It’s just too dramatic and not really needed. It’s too much drama. Series Order REVIEW | AMAZON REVIEW | AMAZON AMAZON

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Mccurdy

    ~~I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review~~ Holy Mary Mother of God was this book amazeballs!!!!! I had happy/sad tears, no not the sloppy ugly tears, but the tears that you get when you are so unbelievably happy. And that is what this book has made me, so unbelievably happy that I will probably have to re-read it, and soon!! Ben and Lexi's chemistry is hot, she is the most beautiful person that Ben has ever seen, and Lexi can't Ben out of her head. Ben is Lexi's hero on more than o ~~I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review~~ Holy Mary Mother of God was this book amazeballs!!!!! I had happy/sad tears, no not the sloppy ugly tears, but the tears that you get when you are so unbelievably happy. And that is what this book has made me, so unbelievably happy that I will probably have to re-read it, and soon!! Ben and Lexi's chemistry is hot, she is the most beautiful person that Ben has ever seen, and Lexi can't Ben out of her head. Ben is Lexi's hero on more than one occasion. Denise has written this book with more passion that I have words for. I became speechless after I read this book. There were no words that I had to describe this book. It is that awesome!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Quiana Eagletail

    So I had the privilege of receiving this awesome book as an ARC! I am so glad that Lexi got her own love story. Denise did as great as ever pulling you in and keeping you there. Not only did we get to fall in love along side Lexington. We got to feel her pain and determination as she fought to regain her self-esteem. I love this series and all the characters, especially how you continue to be able to follow them throughout the series! I love how patient and sweet Ben is for Lexi,just what she ne So I had the privilege of receiving this awesome book as an ARC! I am so glad that Lexi got her own love story. Denise did as great as ever pulling you in and keeping you there. Not only did we get to fall in love along side Lexington. We got to feel her pain and determination as she fought to regain her self-esteem. I love this series and all the characters, especially how you continue to be able to follow them throughout the series! I love how patient and sweet Ben is for Lexi,just what she needs. As always I feel like I want more of those two. This story inspires you to never give up on love even if you don't believe you deserve it!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bookish

    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. What follows is my true opinion; free books do not buy my positive regard, although they're nice. I really enjoyed this book a great deal and I like it a lot! If you like a nice romance, you will too. This is the 3rd book in Swank's Off the Subject series, and for my money it's the best one yet. The story is believable, the plot is tight, and the dialogue is pretty good for the most part. I love Swank's writing style. She do I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. What follows is my true opinion; free books do not buy my positive regard, although they're nice. I really enjoyed this book a great deal and I like it a lot! If you like a nice romance, you will too. This is the 3rd book in Swank's Off the Subject series, and for my money it's the best one yet. The story is believable, the plot is tight, and the dialogue is pretty good for the most part. I love Swank's writing style. She doesn't bog me down in a lot of unnecessary descriptions when telling her story. For instance, I want to know what size the bed is, but I don't need a stitch-by-stitch description of the pillows, comforter, and duvet, you know what I mean? I like that we're telling a love story, not writing a piece for BHG! The story is simple: Girl meets boy. They fall in love. Happily ever after. Right? Well... Lexi, also known as Alexa, has had a rough time the last year or so. She met a bad guy, he did bad things, and now she's basically trying to start over at a new college, away from her Boston home, with her brother Reed as her guard dog. She's doing great things with some charity work, but she doesn't have much of a social life. Until, that is, her friends drag her to a bar where she meets Ben. Of course, she happens to be wearing a wig at the time, and decides to try on a new persona in a bar she never expects to return to. Ben has had a hard time, too. He doesn't come from money, as so many of his classmates do, and he's working hard for his education after losing his scholarships to some bad, and untrue, allegations made about him. So, three jobs, plus studying all the time, plus the break-up of a bad relationship, make Ben a pretty lonely guy. Then he meets Alexa, and all bets are off. No matter how much of his limited sleep he has to give up, he intends to get the girl. When he realizes that her hyper-vigilant, overprotective, completely unreasonable brother is one of his bosses... well, love is never smooth sailing, is it? We see the characters from the previous two books here (Reed and Caroline from Redesigned play a big part in this story, since Lexi is Reed's sister and room mate), and it's nice to check in on them. There's a subplot about Reed and Caroline that's directly related to the main conflict, and there's a weird little thing with Caroline's last room mate that's just weird. It's never really resolved to my satisfaction. WHY was she so interested in... whatever. I'm kind of hoping the next book in this series is actually about Tina, but we'll see. So, overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think Swank grows in her talent with every book she pens, and she writes a LOT of books! I really want to give this book 4 1/2 stars, if I had half stars to give here, because the unresolved Tina thing really bugs me. Also because, well, no one is perfect and there are a couple of things I found annoying but I'm not really mentioning them here because you might not. And besides, they're not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book. Go buy this book on April 10! Also, the 2nd book in this series is only 99 cents on Amazon right now!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    I was so excited to be able to get an advance copy of this book, as I have loved the “Off the Subject” series and I wasn’t disappointed with the third installment. Each book interlopes back to other character so it actual feels like one continuous story. Although you don’t need to read the first two books, but I recommend you do. Lexi story develops more from the second book, and we see her come to terms with her past. In the meantime, she meets Ben and dares to believe she could be happy with him I was so excited to be able to get an advance copy of this book, as I have loved the “Off the Subject” series and I wasn’t disappointed with the third installment. Each book interlopes back to other character so it actual feels like one continuous story. Although you don’t need to read the first two books, but I recommend you do. Lexi story develops more from the second book, and we see her come to terms with her past. In the meantime, she meets Ben and dares to believe she could be happy with him, and have a future after all. That is until Reed, Lexi’s over protective older brother, reveals Ben’s secret. Who will Lexi believe? I couldn’t put this book down, I just had to finish it and know what was going to happen. I started on a Sunday morning, and finished on Monday afternoon. In certain parts of the book, I found myself holding my breath with what was happening, it was so intriguing. My only criticism is that it took a bit long for Lexi and Ben to finally get together, but when they did, BOOM! This book, and series for that matter, is one for the romantics with a bit of hot and heavy happening. It is a must read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nitzan Schwarz

    Now: as the release date is so close that people even have review copies from the author, I took down my rating! No need to balance anything anymore :) beforeDisclosure: I am only rating this book 5 right now in attempt to balance out the 1&2 star ratings some people gave this book unfairly (as I KNOW it's not even close to finish, and no review copies have or could've been given), and I'd like this book to get a fair chance as I love the author and the previous two books. Thanks for understa Now: as the release date is so close that people even have review copies from the author, I took down my rating! No need to balance anything anymore :) beforeDisclosure: I am only rating this book 5 right now in attempt to balance out the 1&2 star ratings some people gave this book unfairly (as I KNOW it's not even close to finish, and no review copies have or could've been given), and I'd like this book to get a fair chance as I love the author and the previous two books. Thanks for understanding!

  17. 4 out of 5

    little 'ole me

    I was given an arc for a honest review, well....this book is the hottest one yet from the off the subject series. I love the way Denise has woven in Lexi's backstory giving you a greater understanding of what a rape victim goes through on a daily basis and the effect it it has on her personal well being. for Lexi to then find a love interest who has been the accused, lets just say we all knew how Reed was going to take that! ! Who knew there were so many gorgeous guys in a maths department! !

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandi West

    HOT HOT HOT ! Enjoyed reading Lexi's story. Amazed at how strong she is trying to work through what she has been through. And Reed being over the top protective of her (like brothers are).. Totally loved Lexi and Ben together.. I needed more, didn't want it to end.... I hope for continuation of their story...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol [Goodreads Addict]

    Business As Usual is book 3 in the Off The Subject series by Denise Grover Swank. This is the second book of hers I have read this week, from two separate series, and I am in heaven!!! Business As Usual is my favorite of this series so far. I loved everything about it. Not only did I love the main characters, Lexi and Ben, I loved getting plenty from the characters from the previous books, mostly Caroline and Reed. We get a little bit of Scarlett and Tucker from the first book and they are sti Business As Usual is book 3 in the Off The Subject series by Denise Grover Swank. This is the second book of hers I have read this week, from two separate series, and I am in heaven!!! Business As Usual is my favorite of this series so far. I loved everything about it. Not only did I love the main characters, Lexi and Ben, I loved getting plenty from the characters from the previous books, mostly Caroline and Reed. We get a little bit of Scarlett and Tucker from the first book and they are still going strong. But, the thing I enjoyed the most is the fact that not only is it a romance, there is a healthy dose of suspense involved to keep me on the edge of my seat and turning pages as fast as I can. Lexi, Reed’s little sister, is a sophomore at Southern University. She is extremely busy heading up fund raising efforts for a summer program for middle school students as well as a full load of classes. She lives with her brother Reed and his fiance, Caroline. Reed takes the term over protective brother to a whole new level. But, we learn more about why he is the way he is. About the details of what happened to Lexi a year ago. And the fears and anxiety she still suffers from due to her horrible experience. “I will forever be alone.” Lexi feels she will never overcome the emotional scars she suffers and throws herself into her projects. She is organizing a theater production and plays a small part requiring her to wear a black wig. She finds a sense of freedom when she is wearing the wig and leaves it on when the cast goes out after the show. At the bar she meets Ben Masterson, the bartender, but he doesn’t know who she is with the wig on. But there is something there between them, a connection. Something neither of them want to turn their backs on. “But I’m broken.” Her gaze drops to the bed. “I’m broken too. I’m a total mess. So, we’ll be broken together.” Ben Masterson is in his final semester but he has lost his scholarship. He was accused of raping a woman but he was innocent. But due to the charges, even though he was innocent, he has lost so much. He is working three part time jobs and is trying to keep his grades up so he can graduate. And then he meets Lexi. She helps him to look at life in a whole new way, with renewed hope. But will she still want him when she learns of the details of the false charges. It’s ironic that he was accused of rape when she was herself a victim of rape. But he has already fallen for her. He knows he doesn’t want to lose her. Reed and Caroline mean more to Lexi than anything. But Reed is acting strangely. He is keeping secrets from both her and Caroline. Caroline is afraid he is seeing someone else. But Reed won’t tell them what is going on. He says he’s trying to protect them. But from what? If he won’t be honest with Caroline, will she give up on him? Reed, what is going on? As I said, this is my favorite book of this series so far. You do need to read them in order as the characters are all recurring. Thank you to Denise Grover Swank for another fabulous book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Mills

    In my opinion this book is the best of the Off The Subject series yet. But I love them all. Once I started reading I could not stop. Getting to know Lexi better has been a real treat. And Ben? Does saying I fell in love cover it? It is a joy to watch Lexi throw herself past her very restrictive comfort zone to find out who she truly is. The characters I love from the other books in the series are all there plus some new ones. Reed is definitely in trouble this time. Business as Usual has lots of In my opinion this book is the best of the Off The Subject series yet. But I love them all. Once I started reading I could not stop. Getting to know Lexi better has been a real treat. And Ben? Does saying I fell in love cover it? It is a joy to watch Lexi throw herself past her very restrictive comfort zone to find out who she truly is. The characters I love from the other books in the series are all there plus some new ones. Reed is definitely in trouble this time. Business as Usual has lots of romance, mystery, suspense and most important great characters.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mayra

    Lexi is trying to get control back for her life dealing with her brothers overpretectivenes and trying to learn how to have to have fun. After such a terrible experience lexi shows us that we can find our way and find love after all!!!!Ben is exactl what lexi needs!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    4.5 stars "But I'm broken."~Lexi "I'm broken too. I'm a total f***ing mess. So, we'll be broken together."~Ben Lexi Pendergraft is still recovering from a trauma that changed not only her life, but her brother’s life as well. They moved to a new college and started over. Reed found his love there and is now engaged to Caroline. But Lexi is not fairing as well. She is having trouble with intimacy and has failed at her latest relationship. She cannot seem to let go of the past. She is working hard on 4.5 stars "But I'm broken."~Lexi "I'm broken too. I'm a total f***ing mess. So, we'll be broken together."~Ben Lexi Pendergraft is still recovering from a trauma that changed not only her life, but her brother’s life as well. They moved to a new college and started over. Reed found his love there and is now engaged to Caroline. But Lexi is not fairing as well. She is having trouble with intimacy and has failed at her latest relationship. She cannot seem to let go of the past. She is working hard on a summer program for kids and teens in conjunction with her college and charity. She donned a new look for a play and it gave her sass, confidence, and a chance to be different. It gave her a boost in letting go of some of her baggage and trying new things. Ben Masterson’s life imploded and now he is working three jobs to cover tuition and be able to stay in school. One of his job introduces him to Lexi, while another has him working for her over protective older brother, Reed. Therefore she should be off limits to him. But they keep getting drawn together. She thinks she is living this dual identity and he has to be cautious so it gets complicated. Their lives have more similarities than are apparent on the surface. Ben has his own past issues and secrets. Her brother, Reed is also keeping secrets from his girlfriend, Caroline and Lexi and pushing everyone away. He is keeping them in the dark and behaving differently. Their lives are all intersecting in various ways. Hidden agendas and mysteries cause tension and intrigue. In trying to help, others are hurt. It is a convoluted situation with many involved. There are toxic people causing issues. And the past does not always stay in the past and continues to leak into the present. I liked Lexi’s initiative and spunk. She had been through so much but tried to make a difference in others’ lives. She truly had a giving heart and cared about those around her. But she was battling demons, insecurities and felt trapped by her life. Ben had been hurt and labeled too. He had no time for a relationship and had been burned in the past. But he got sucked in despite so many complications. He was sweet, protective, understanding, and willing to fight for her. But he had no idea who all he would need to fight. I really liked them together and found myself rooting for them. And for Reed and Caroline as well. I really hated to see Reed and Caroline struggling after finally getting it together in Redesigned. It all comes down to trust for both of the couples. And trust is not easy when people have been hurt in the past. And full disclosure sometimes comes with a price. This was another engaging installment in this series. The characters are well developed and have interesting and complicated back stories. It is told in both points of view allowing full disclosure of the secrets they were not sharing. I enjoyed getting more with Reed and Caroline (Redesigned) and Scarlett and Tucker (After Math). There were a few other intriguing characters. One woman I really disliked but obviously has more of an underlying story, Tina. I have a feeling we many see her again in the future. There were some more friends too….Sylvia, Austin, and Noah. I look forward to more in this series in the future and catching back up with these characters as well. Thanks to Denise Grover Swank for providing with a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marina (Living In Our Own Story)

    OMFG, OMFG, OMFG!!! Such an amazing story. I love this series by Denise Grover Swank and I thought that Aftermath will be always my favorite. There was just something about Scarlett and Tucker that make them very dear to me. But that was until I read Lexi and Ben's story. They are so different and at the same time so alike. Each one of them hurt and nearly destroyed by a person who thinks that money allows them to do whatever they want. They are just existing before they start helping each other t OMFG, OMFG, OMFG!!! Such an amazing story. I love this series by Denise Grover Swank and I thought that Aftermath will be always my favorite. There was just something about Scarlett and Tucker that make them very dear to me. But that was until I read Lexi and Ben's story. They are so different and at the same time so alike. Each one of them hurt and nearly destroyed by a person who thinks that money allows them to do whatever they want. They are just existing before they start helping each other to rebuild their lives. On top of all that, I loved revisiting Caroline and Reed. And seeing what Reed was willing to sacrifice for those he loves was amazing. I admire him for that. This is such a heartbreaking story and for me that's the best one in the series so far. Definitely a recommended read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    2.5/5 stars I am a huge fan of Denise's Off the Subject series, so when I saw she was writing Lexi's story, I was over the moon! I loved her in Redesigned, and I know she had a heartbreaking story to tell. As much as I wanted to love this book, I found I just couldn't. Pacing: This is a slower paced book. I found myself struggling to stay engaged at multiple points in the novel because the plot was a bit meh for me. Storyline: This book went in a completely different direction than I thought. I was 2.5/5 stars I am a huge fan of Denise's Off the Subject series, so when I saw she was writing Lexi's story, I was over the moon! I loved her in Redesigned, and I know she had a heartbreaking story to tell. As much as I wanted to love this book, I found I just couldn't. Pacing: This is a slower paced book. I found myself struggling to stay engaged at multiple points in the novel because the plot was a bit meh for me. Storyline: This book went in a completely different direction than I thought. I was really looking forward to Lexi's story and seeing how she overcame what happened to her previously. I also was looking forward to seeing how she would find the strength to become intimate with another person again after that event. While we got both of those, I just felt this story wasn't quite balanced in the way I would have liked it. I felt like Lexi's relationship with her brother, Reed, really dominated the book. I love Reed Pendergraft something fierce, but he REALLY irritated me in this book and was way too overprotective of Lexi. I understand his reasons for being so, but I just felt she spent a lot of the time trying to prove that she wasn't this breakable little girl. I also felt like the Lexi and Ben had some serious insta-love going on. Being the two main characters, they really didn't have hardly any interaction until 40-50% into the book and that made their relationship more difficult to buy into. I needed more from them in terms of development, because it all happened rather fast and things were resolved a little too quickly for my taste. Characters: Lexi wasn't a bad main character, but there were times I felt she was acting a bit immature for her age. She makes decisions that are not in her best interest, considering what she's been through and that was really hard to swallow. I felt like the whole thing with Tina was overdramatized and really didn't sit well with me at all. My heart ached for her, as I can't imagine everything she's gone through, and I was saddened to see her flee from a really great relationship because emotionally she couldn't handle what had happened. She is terrified of feeling that loss of control again, and so she really struggles sexually because of that. Lexi is also incredibly grateful to her older brother for everything he's sacrificed and done for her. However, she feels suffocated by his need to protect her, and is angry that he would sacrifice his own well-being to ensure that she is kept safe. I absolutely loved Reed in Redesigned. He was an overall GOOD guy and I loved that he was equal parts sexy and equal parts Math geek. Here, Reed really takes the overprotective big brother to the extreme and as I said, sacrifices his own relationship and well-being to ensure Lexi's safety. The majority of the book focused on what he was hiding and why he was pushing his fiancée Caroline away. I hated seeing Caroline hurt, as did Lexi, Tucker, and Scarlet. Again, I understand why he felt the need to do what he did, and I respect the hell out of him for doing it, but I just feel it was made into this huge deal and felt like it added unnecessary drama. I liked Ben's character, but I didn't feel he was consistent. We first meet him and it's clear he has been seriously burned by a girl in the past, so he is not looking to date any girls from Southern University. Upon meeting and talking to Lexi, however, he finds himself looking for her and hoping to run into her again. He is a good guy at heart and a hard worker, which definitely earned him bonus points with me. For not really knowing Lexi, he is incredibly protective of her and after seeing her in a potentially dangerous situation, steps in and plays the hero. He never should have hidden his past from Lexi, especially after she confided in him with her secret. He knew that it would affect her and still he remained silent. Argh. Final Thoughts: I am really bummed I didn't love this like I did the other two in the series. The above issues really did detract from my reading experience and so I found it difficult to truly enjoy the story for what it was. I would have preferred to see more of Lexi and Ben falling for one another and developing their relationship. I felt there was unnecessary drama and I just didn't like how everyone was more centered on finding out what was going on with Reed and why he was acting the way he was. I would have preferred for the focus to be on Lexi and her development as a character. I do love Denise's writing and I feel she did a great job with the moments Lexi and Ben do have with one another and how patient he was willing to be with her and how he refused to be pushed away. Go Ben! While this wasn't the one for me, I would still encourage fans of the series to give it a try and make their own decisions. *Received a copy of this book via InkSlingerPR in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Business As Usual is the story of Lexi and Ben. From the moment they meet you can feel the flicker of interest between them, but it is hard to see a real relationship ever developing for them. They have different priorities and a mountain of issues from their pasts stand in the way. Plus, Ben can’t stand Lexi’s obnoxious big brother Reed and Reed won’t let anyone within a mile of Lexi. Naturally this makes for some interesting relationship hurdles, some tense moments and a lot of sneaking around Business As Usual is the story of Lexi and Ben. From the moment they meet you can feel the flicker of interest between them, but it is hard to see a real relationship ever developing for them. They have different priorities and a mountain of issues from their pasts stand in the way. Plus, Ben can’t stand Lexi’s obnoxious big brother Reed and Reed won’t let anyone within a mile of Lexi. Naturally this makes for some interesting relationship hurdles, some tense moments and a lot of sneaking around. I absolutely loved Lexi. She was a wonderfully written character, full of genuine emotion and inner turmoil. Her character grew so much over the course of the story and it kept me completely invested in her. The author expertly makes you feel her full range of emotions and my heart simply ached for her, hoping she’d figure out a way to let people in, to be happy. The natural uncertainty and fear she experienced was balanced beautifully with Lexi’s kindness, courage and resilience, to create a character that was easy to love and even easier to root for. This was by far my favorite book in the Off the Subject series to date. The storyline effortlessly held my interest and the dialogue was fantastic. There were moments when I would find myself a bit emotional at the raw and honest nature of the conversations. At other times I had a huge smile on my face from the sparkling banter that felt so organic for Lexi and Ben. Denise Grover Swank just continues to get better and better with each book. I definitely recommend reading Business As Usual. For full blog review: http://prisonersofprint.wordpress.com...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Eh. Meh. Why. I have weeks where 80% of what I read are gems and then I have weeks where 80% of what I read are let downs. It's not that this book is bad. It's just that I loved the other books in this series so much and was expecting much more from this. I liked Ben, but I don't feel like we got to see enough of him. Lexi... eh. Meh. She was kind of average, we got hints of things but it wasn't really... quality. I feel like we got cheated over here, really. The author concentrated on fitting everyt Eh. Meh. Why. I have weeks where 80% of what I read are gems and then I have weeks where 80% of what I read are let downs. It's not that this book is bad. It's just that I loved the other books in this series so much and was expecting much more from this. I liked Ben, but I don't feel like we got to see enough of him. Lexi... eh. Meh. She was kind of average, we got hints of things but it wasn't really... quality. I feel like we got cheated over here, really. The author concentrated on fitting everything she wanted to fit into the book [and fitting it in on a stupid timeline in my opinion] and then she didn't have the time to actually show us the characters and their development. Also, I often felt like this book wasn't even revolving around Lexi and Ben. And it was all very anticlimactic.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jasmeen

    This was an okay book for me. I really liked the previous books in this series, but this one kind of fell flat for me, which was disappointing. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't happen. I think the problem was that the book seemed to focus too much on the whole Reed mystery and less on building a relationship. I mean the two main characters didn't really have a meaningful moment together until like 40% in. I felt that was part of the reason their romance turned out too rushed in my o This was an okay book for me. I really liked the previous books in this series, but this one kind of fell flat for me, which was disappointing. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't happen. I think the problem was that the book seemed to focus too much on the whole Reed mystery and less on building a relationship. I mean the two main characters didn't really have a meaningful moment together until like 40% in. I felt that was part of the reason their romance turned out too rushed in my opinion. It was a little like insta-love and that was a major problem for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    You can also read this review at Snarky Romance Reviews So… remember when I was like “false rape accusations plot are my dealbreakers, I may stop reading Business As Usual”? Well… I didn’t. I’m happy (kinda) to report that I stuck it out until the end, and it was both worse and better than I feared. Lots of things bugged me, but there were also things that were handled better then I thought they would be. To recap: our heroine, Lexi, is a business major. Her Tragic Backstory is that she was raped You can also read this review at Snarky Romance Reviews So… remember when I was like “false rape accusations plot are my dealbreakers, I may stop reading Business As Usual”? Well… I didn’t. I’m happy (kinda) to report that I stuck it out until the end, and it was both worse and better than I feared. Lots of things bugged me, but there were also things that were handled better then I thought they would be. To recap: our heroine, Lexi, is a business major. Her Tragic Backstory is that she was raped by a crazy stalker, but since his family was rich, they coerced her into signing a non-disclosure agreement and not pressing charged. This part of the backstory doesn’t make total sense to me: their parents are painted as unfeeling assholes who put their own business over their daughter’s well-being, but also as totally concerned and over-protective, so much so that they basically want to keep her at home at all times. But whatever. Our hero, Ben, is studying engineering and has recently lost his scholarship because his ex-girlfriend accused him of rape. I’ve already ranted about this, so let’s just say that only in fiction does a guy lose a scholarship over false rape accusations; in real life, that usually doesn’t even happen over real ones, but whatever. The narration switches between Lexi and Ben, and even so, I feel like I knew less about Ben then I knew about Reed, Lexi’s brother and the hero of Remodeled, even though that book was all from the girl’s POV. There is a substantial subplot in this book about a secret Reed is keeping that’s putting a strain on his and Caroline’s relationship, and like 99% of the secrets in Romancelandia, there was no good reason for him to lie about it. Even a simple “I’m doing some stuff and it’s very important that it stays secret for now, since it concerns my sister’s well-being”. But no, supposedly genius-level Reed would rather his fiancee think he was cheating on her than have an honest conversation. One of the things that pleasantly surprised me about this book (and I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it’s the only romance novel I’ve read where this happens), is that the heroine is allowed to have great sex with another guy after meeting the hero. Usually after their eyes first meet her vagina gets locked up tight until he opens it up again with his penis key. And even though she goes through a sexual assault and is understandably wary of sexual contact after it, it’s not the hero’s super sex powers that “fix” her. Sure, they have good sex and he’s very respectful of her triggers, but she figures out how to reclaim her sexuality herself. It’s one of the most progressive portrayals of a rape-survivor heroine that I’ve read in romance, and it’s a real shame that it’s kind of tainted by the totally unnecessary His Ex Is A Rich Bitch Who Lied About Rape thing. Especially when it really doesn’t affect the plot that much: yeah, Ben has to work three jobs because he loses his scholarship, but that could have been achieved in any way, like for example if she had lied about him stealing from her, or whatever. I also didn’t really appreciate this line: As far as she knows, he got back with his ex-girlfriend from high school, who decided being a lesbian wasn’t for her after a brief affair with a girl from her chemistry class. It’s entirely true, except it happened after I broke up with him… Our hero Ben also has some not-so-nice thoughts about women which I feel were totally unnecessary, especially since he’s never shown to learn from them. At one point he thinks, “She doesn’t play mind games like the majority of the women I’ve met in my twenty-one years of living, my own mother included.”. The “she’s not like other girls [those bitches]” line of thinking is so tiresome and sexist, can we retire it? Our hero also works in a bar, and apparently there’s been a 40% increase in business from female customers because of his “notoriety”. His “notoriety” is that he’s been accused of rape… girls want to go to the place where he works because they think he’s a rapist? Why? How?! But let’s get back to Lexi. Not only does she display splendid judgement by leaving her phone at home, forgetting to charge it, and going out alone in the middle of the night… once she gets in a car with a drunk driver because she doesn’t want to “make a scene”! I feel like I’ve made my point about this book; it wasn’t badly written, but it was disappointing, especially since I had just read Remodeled and I know the author can do better. I really didn’t buy the relationship between Ben and Lexi, and I feel like I easily could have with a bit more work put into it; but one third into the book, they still had barely had a conversation (and definitely not a meaningful one). I also feel like Reed from Remodeled was a huge asshole, and I resent that because I really liked him in his book (sexy math geeks are sexy!). And since this is basically the theme of the week here at SRR, I’m just gonna warn y’all that this heroine also sleeps with the hero while lying about her identity. She thinks he won’t want to be with her if he knew the truth, so lies about it and sleeps with him. IS THIS AN EPIDEMY?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Lexi is a college student who is recovering from being raped. She has an overprotective older brother (Reed) who, really does treat her like a child in his attempt to protect her. Reed is engaged to Caroline, who is now like a sister to Lexi. There are two stories going on throughout the book. Lexi trying to get back to some kind of normalcy with human intimacy after the rape, and something that is going on with Reed that is tearing him and Caroline apart. Lexi is trying to get to the bottom of Lexi is a college student who is recovering from being raped. She has an overprotective older brother (Reed) who, really does treat her like a child in his attempt to protect her. Reed is engaged to Caroline, who is now like a sister to Lexi. There are two stories going on throughout the book. Lexi trying to get back to some kind of normalcy with human intimacy after the rape, and something that is going on with Reed that is tearing him and Caroline apart. Lexi is trying to get to the bottom of that as well because she wants Reed and Caroline to be happy. Ben is a college student with one semester left who was accused and arrested for a horrible crime that he didn’t commit. That situation leaves him without his scholarship, working three jobs, and barely surviving so that he can make it through this little bit of college he has left. He isn’t your typical cocky player type of college guy that we see in a lot of NA books. He is mature, responsible, and the type of guy who buckles down and gets done what needs to be done. Ben and Lexi meet at a bar that he works at, she has on the black wig, and so the story flows. I really enjoyed Business As Usual. It had just the right amount of romance, drama, and heat. It also had it’s completely crazy character that I didn’t quite understand (Tina), I think we need Tina’s book to figure out why she is such a – freak (not in a good way), why she forced Lexi to do what she forced Lexi to do, which was messed up. I’m wondering if I read the first two books in this series if I would understand Tina’s self destructive behavior or if that doesn’t come into play until a later book in the series? I cannot believe this is the first book that I have read by Denise Grover Swank. I actually had to go back through my reviews and double check, yep, first one. I will definitely be picking up more books from her, especially the ones that are in the Off The Subject series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Maude-Lecholat

    Stepping outside of yourself can give people confidence to do things they may not do as themselves. Lexi wears a wig to become someone different and draws the attention of a boy she knows from school. I love these stories of mystery, love, the "what ifs", the almost discoveries. I love girl meets boy and they fall in love. If that is not your thing- then you probably will not like this story. I personally need a break from the terror and sadness of the real world and have found a home with DGS n Stepping outside of yourself can give people confidence to do things they may not do as themselves. Lexi wears a wig to become someone different and draws the attention of a boy she knows from school. I love these stories of mystery, love, the "what ifs", the almost discoveries. I love girl meets boy and they fall in love. If that is not your thing- then you probably will not like this story. I personally need a break from the terror and sadness of the real world and have found a home with DGS novels. They give me hope for goodness and love in the world.

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