Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she focuses on two things: One, setting up a summer program for underprivileged middle-school aged students. And the second, getting to the bottom of her brother Reed’s recent strange behavior. His secret is destroying his relationship with his fiancée Caroline, and Lexi will do anything to help him save it. Especially after he gave up his dream to give Lexi a chance at a semi-normal college experience, something her parents threatened to steal from her after her rape a year ago. 

Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University. After recently losing his full ride scholarship, he’s suffering from sleep deprivation while trying to keep up with his mechanical engineering courses and working three part time jobs. He thinks he’s lucked out getting a job in the university math lab. The only problem is his boss—Reed Pendergraft.

As part of a role in a community theater play, Lexi wears a black wig and feels a confidence she hasn’t experienced in over a year. When she wears it to a bar close to the theater, she doesn’t think Ben, a bartender there, recognizes her. While Ben’s intrigued about what she’s up to, he’s smart enough to stay far away from his overprotective boss’s sister. Until fate forces him to help her, but why won’t she tell him her real identity?

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.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.  Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.)  Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks.  She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.