Title: The Takeover
Author: T.L. Swan
Genre: Romance, Fiction
What It’s About: Claire Anderson, a widow with three children from her husband, tries to keep up her husband’s business, Anderson Media; however, business is struggling. She gets approached by Tristian Miles, of the Miles Media fortune and a big competitor to Anderson Media, to sell her company to him. While she agrees to take it under consideration per her assistant’s recommendation, she blows up at Tristian in their meeting, telling him that he would never get her company and that money doesn’t impress her.
Some time passes by, and her assistant convinces her to go to a Conference in France. Claire is reluctant because it sounds like a lot of hooey about gaining your confidence and manifestation, but ultimately gets convinced by the idea of drinking champagne and ditching the conference if anything else.
She goes to the conference and finds out that the main speaker is none other than Tristian Miles. She tries to get out of the conference, only to be told to sit right back down by Tristian, which she ignores and then listens from the back of the room. She ends up forgoing the first day at the conference because of Tristian, and going to get a massage. When she returns to the location, Tristian proposes that they have a one night stand to give in to the obvious sparks between them, and when she pushes she closes the door of her room in his face, he decides to extend his stay at the conference. They keep circling each other, and then one night, Claire agrees.
What was supposed to be a one night stand, ends up into a couple of nights in the hotel rooms at the conference. Then Tristian leaves the conference to go to Paris and does not even say goodbye to her after making the announcement, which makes her sad, only for her to find out that Tristian sent her flowers to her room and asked her to stay with him in Paris. Without meaning to, Claire agrees and then spends a wonderful weekend with him in Paris, getting to see the city.
Claire returns to the city, to her day to day life, and when she sees Tristian again, she tells him that they cannot continue seeing each other because they are very different. Tristian cannot comprehend this, so he follows Claire home, only to be assaulted by Claire’s oldest son–Fletcher Anderson. Fletcher (“Fletch”) had found men’s underwear in Claire’s luggage from her trip, and when Tristian shows up, he rightly assumes that it’s Tristian’s underwear, so he starts whipping Tristian with the underwear, before stuffing it into Tristian’s mouth, resulting in Tristian hurting himself by falling down the stairs. Claire tries to help Tristian, but her middle son, Harry, threatens Tristian and scares him so much that Tristian thinks of him as the murderer. He gets in his Ashton Martin car, and drives off, only to find out that his car doesn’t work because it dies en route home.
Tristian gives them some space, and finds out that someone messed with his gas tank, before realizing that one of the people that passed the internship rounds was Fletcher. Fletcher apologizes for his rashness, and tells Tristian that he’s not going to go through with it. Tristian has a hard time making a decision for the internship and knows that Rebecca would be a good choice, but he cannot get Fletcher out of his mind–the boy is 18 but he has enough potential, just is rough around the edges for growing up without a dad during his teenage years, while also trying to be loyal to his mom. He decides to take him on, and Claire is upset when she hears that Fletcher took on the job, but then realizes that it’s a good opportunity for him. Fletcher keeps coming back home saying that Tristian has bullied him, and that he wants to quit. Finally, Claire shows up at Tristian’s office because Fletcher complained that Tristian screamed at him in a meeting all because he forgot a pen. The two argue in the office, and Tristian tells her to not get involved–the boy needs some tough love. Claire asks Fletcher to come home with her, but he decides to stay.
Tristian realizes that he wants to be with her, and uses driving Fletcher home as a way to get back into the Claire’s graces. The night he drives Fletcher home, Claire has a date, and Fletcher is to be taking care of Patrick–the youngest boy. Claire leaves them, and Tristian hears Fletcher’s concerns about how to approach a date with a girl; he tells him he’ll watch Patrick and that he can go with the girl. As a result, he stays with Patrick and they have a good time, so much so that by the time Claire comes back from her date, both Fletcher and Patrick are asleep. After much conversation with Claire, Tristian ends up sleeping on the couch, only to be woken up by the tick tock of the clock, which he then stuffs into the fridge. Harry comes and tries to intimidate Tristian, and it works. But Tristian tells this to his brother and realizes that the only way to beat the game Harry is playing is to play the game.
So the next time he comes over to hang out with Patrick, whom he calls “Tricky,” Tristian calmly plays the game with Harry–suddenly wheels from the bikes are missing, tools are missing, and then the internet stops working for Harry, with Tristian only saying “tick tock” to Harry, who knows exactly what that means because he said it to Tristian first. Claire and Tristian end up doing lunch dates in the city–meeting up in a hotel that Tristian rents for them, but then Tristian wants more. She tells him that she needs to break the news gently to the boys. They end up going to a dinner with the boys, during which Harry continues to moan that it’s only the Anderson family dinner, so what is Tristian doing at it. Tristian ends up doing a voting on whether the boys would be okay with him dating their mother, giving three options, and out of the three options, Patrick and Fletcher like him the best, while Harry is the only odd one out with a different option.
Patrick and Fletcher quickly take a liking to Tristian, but Harry is slow to warm up to him. Even when Tristian moves in with them to the house, Harry does not warm up to him. It’s only when Harry has been missing for a day and a half that Tristian manages to make headway with him. He investigates Harry’s claim that he lost his phone, and the fact that his backpack had cigars–finding out that Harry had gone to the cemetery to see his dad. He speaks to Harry about it, and Harry says that he doesn’t want mom to know where he was, and that he doesn’t want to go with her because she always gets so sad, which he doesn’t like to see. The following day, Tristian picks up Harry from school and takes him to the cemetery where they share a moment–unbeknownst to them that Claire had followed both of them and watched from a distance. Tristian begins to help Harry with his homework, and is utterly shocked when Harry gets a very low grade on such a well done homework.
This results in him requiring a meeting with the teacher, the principal and another person in the meeting, during which the teacher admits that she does not like Harry for whatever reason. He tells her that she just got herself fired for saying that–because the Principal was so surprised to hear that–and asks them to do an audit into Patrick’s IEP for dyslexia because it seems to him that something is off there. Then he enrolls both Harry and Patrick in the expensive school that he used to go to, and the boys do really well.
Claire meets his family, and Tristian’s mom visits him to raise concerns over the fact that Claire is old and may not be able to have his children. Tristian tells her that he’s okay with that, but after meeting her, his mom comes over again, and tells him that he always likes to fix things, so it may be why he’s attracted to women like Claire. She tells him that he needs to see his second ex-girlfriend; the same one who he had a hard time getting over, as maybe there’s something there. He does, which is why he’s gone for a long time without Claire’s knowledge. But Fletcher overheard both of those incidents, and tells Claire about the second one. It is then the Claire decides to let Tristian go–that he should have a chance at having all of the things that he wants, and calls him to leave a voicemail message. It so happens that Tristian overhears her leaving that message, and tells her that yes he visited his second ex-girlfriend at his mother’s behest, but it was like seeing a sister–they talked and got some closure. He wants Claire, and the boys.
Anderson Media isn’t doing well, and Claire isn’t sure what else to do to keep it afloat. That same day Tristian takes the kids and her to view a house–much larger house, calling the boys, his sons, which triggers Claire. She wants to do some things for her husband–what he always wanted for his sons–the home they built together on Long Island, and that these are her husband’s sons, not Tristian’s. It ends up in an argument between Tristian and Claire in the car with the kids, so much so that Harry is dragged out of the car by Tristian. This results in tension in the household, and Claire spiraling into grief so much that she puts on her wedding rings, which Tristian sees, and results the end of their relationship.
She tries to meet with Tristian to explain, and while he does accept her explanation around the rings, he is not willing to budge on the adoption–he wants to adopt the boys as his when they get married, whereas Claire is not willing to allow that. There is no resolution to the conversation, and Tristian leaves. Not long after that, Fletcher tells her that Tristian is actually leaving the country for good, having moved his internship to his brother Elliot. Claire chases Tristian all the way to the airport, to tell him that she loves him and that it was just too much–that things haven’t been going well with Anderson Media and she will have to sell it–and she’s afraid. It’s not enough to keep Tristian, and Claire believes the relationship is over; she’s not even sure how to overcome this gap.
Then Patrick and Harry disappear–they had planned a fishing trip with their uncle, but they told their uncle that it couldn’t happen. Claire finds out and panics; they had been missing for over 8 hours before someone had realized they were gone. In Paris, Tristian gets a phone call from the front desk of the hotel, telling him that there were people to see him. The concierge gives Patrick’s and Harry’s names, and Tristian is horrified to find that the boys had shown up without anyone’s knowledge. They tell him that they don’t want to leave him; they want to stay with him regardless of their mom. Tristian calls Claire to tell her that they are safe and with him, to not worry, and also goes out to buy things for them. Claire and Fletcher show up hours later, and Claire and Tristian reconcile, staying in bed the following morning and picking up where they left off.
Tristian takes the boys shopping for rings and between the four of them, they choose one that they think Claire will like. Later, he proposes to her during their Christmas trip to Aspen, where he owns a family home, and Claire surprises him with news of her own: she’s two months pregnant. So Tristian will get the wish he wanted–he will be a father of his own child. After the holidays are over, Tristian hands in his resignation letter at Miles Media, telling his brother that he is taking over Anderson Media with Fletcher to build it up so that his sons have something to take over and be proud of, but he doesn’t tell his brother that Claire is expecting, even though he very much would like to.
My Thoughts: There are some unrealistic aspects of it–like kids flying 8 hours from JFK to Paris and showing up at the hotel, without parental knowledge or consent. I mean, how did they even get a passport, considering they don’t seem to have traveled a lot or at all internationally. But these logistics aside, the romance story between Claire and Tristian was fairly good. I could see them as a couple and doing really well, though I wish that there was a bit more communication between them. That tension in the car resulting from Tristian wanting to buy a bigger home for the kids, while useful for the plot, seems very childish in nature–as a whole they don’t seem to be communicating about their wants or needs, beyond moaning in the bedroom about how good it is whatever it is that they’re doing to each other. I think it’s a fair book, fun to read if you want to just get something to read through in an afternoon and just indulge yourself in mindless information to relax for a day.