Book InfoThe Cleanup by Mila Sin, Manuela Rouget
Rating: Book ratings explained
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Purchase at: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
It all started when we ruled our high school. I manipulated and lied my way to the top. Max, Viraj, Roark, and Zach always had my back, each participating in my schemes when it struck their fancy or they needed a thrill.
Adulthood and disagreements tore us apart. Max is now a horse-raising aristocrat. Viraj is a lawyer by day and an adrenaline junkie by night. Roark is my resident hacker. Zach, well, my very own antisocial psychopath became a sweet paediatrician. And me? I'm a respected businesswoman and the owner of a multinational company, The Cleanup.
This is all a front. In the Information Era, I steal secrets. And they're worth more than gold.
But what happens when my best friend Ellie hires me for a heist that I can’t pull off on my own? I need my guys’ help, but will their devotion to me overcome their lifelong hatred for one another? My reputation and my best friend's neck are on the line, and I am not ready to lose it all.
The Cleanup is a full-length standalone novel. This is a contemporary heist reverse harem romance, meaning our leading lady has three or more love interests and does not have to choose between them to find her happily ever after. Please check the authors' note at the start of the book for warnings.
The Cleanup - My Review
This book needs to be made into a movie! I can see it now; moneyed London, the sun shining on the Riviera, the glitz and opulence… Trust me when I say that The Cleanup is an entire mood, and a good one, at that.
The book runs two storylines simultaneously. The first tells of how Olivia met each of her men and the gang came together during their final two years at a very exclusive boarding school. To the background of their first two heists, we see relationships forming in the midst of the rivalries between the guys and how Olivia manipulates situations to get what she wants: them. Except it all backfires and she ends up choosing herself instead of picking one single person.
Question: If you suspect the person annoying you to be a serial killer, is it still unethical to murder him when he’s being a smartass?
Fast forward to the now and Olivia’s chosen an interesting career. To put it bluntly, she’s a thief. Olivia specialises in information and knows that one of the keys to getting away clean is to not take anything physical with her. When her boarding school best friend commissions her to steal a diamond containing classified data from the leader of an international crime syndicate there’s one catch: she’s never been a jewel thief. Knowing she can’t pull this heist off on her own, Olivia brings in each of the guys to help out and you just know that sparks are gonna fly.
The tension builds in the first few chapters as we start to learn about each of the guys and some of the reasons they originally disliked each other. Despite over a decade having passed, it’s clear that old rivalries haven’t cooled in the slightest. In fact, with each of them having spent time with Olivia away from the others, old wounds and competitive streaks have only worsened. Olivia knows this and dumps each of them with the knowledge that they will not be working with her alone, without giving them any chance to argue.
Olivia is an evil genius. Well, okay, maybe less of the evil but she’s Machiavellian in nature and she’s such a blast of a character. From conditioning the guys to accept that she sleeps with who she wants when she wants, to manoeuvring them to get the best work from them, she’s always steps ahead of anything they can come up with.
This big dick energy contest only has one winner, and – spoiler alert – it’s me.
Having read books from Mila Sin and Manuela Rouget before, I was fully expecting this book to be hot but damn! That steam was beyond anything I anticipated. I’ve always approached knife play scenes with an air of “that’s hot but probably not for me.” Olivia and Zach’s scene practically has me converted. Scarification has never seemed so sexy. There’s a certain level of competition between the guys which Olivia definitely uses to her advantage (you can’t blame her) and the result is that sex is never just sex There’s always a push for each man to go one better than the others and it shows.
The story has a soundtrack that’s going to drive you insane. Think Britney and Vengaboys. Despite me being a few years older than the main characters these songs were released when I was still in school. I could relate. As someone who’s closer to her forties than her twenties, I loved reading an ‘older’ (if not quite as old as me) character. You don’t have to be 23 to be a heroine!
The Cleanup took me through so many emotions over the course of the story. I found myself snorting with laughter one minute, squirming in my seat the next, and by the end of the following chapter, I’d be struck with sadness and regret. But you know what, I never felt like I’d been through the wringer with it. It was such an epic book that if Olivia’s gang took on another heist tomorrow, I’d be bagging myself a front-row seat to the action. I will warn you, though, by the time you’re finished you’re going to want a disco dildo hard drive, and who knows where you’re supposed to get one of them from.