I LOVED this book! The author sent me this book to read and review and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. It’s totally the kind of book I like! It has a great love story with some intrigue. It’s not like a thriller, but like a low humming intrigue related to a white collar crime. In this book, the male character (Joseph Craig) is the complicated one, with many layers of f-up issues. The heroine (Lia Merrick) is a regular girl, very beautiful, who married her college sweetheart. When her husband started Law school, she dropped out to work full-time, and two years after he graduated, he cheated on her and left her for another woman. And the other woman is the daughter of one of the partners in the law firm that ex-hubby works at. Your typical jerk douche. Moreover, he screwed her over in the divorce, leaving her with a five-year old daughter and in a dingy little apartment. And yet he had the gall to complain that he didn’t like his daughter living in such a place.
Lia’s mother paid for Lia to finish college and she had just graduated. Luckily, her search for a job was successful and she was employed in Zurtech, a leading computer technology company. About Lia: she was sweet, responsible, intelligent, and in a sad place because the man she loved left her for another woman. Her self-image is a little tarnished, but as we see through the book, she has an inner core of strength and she’s no push-over. She’s defensive because she doesn’t want to get hurt, but she’s also needing a man’s attention.
Now to Joseph, who is the complicated, multilayered guy. He was born a bastard, yet he knew who his father was. His grandmother Elizabeth worked for a rich family, the Williamses of Massachusetts. She lived in a small cottage in the property with her daughter Helen. When this daughter started her freshman year in college, she met Richard Jefferson Eastwood III. They dated and when she found herself pregnant, he discarded her with instructions to get an abortion. He was about to marry a women in his same social class and had no time for casual alliances. So Helen did not seek Eastwood again, dropped out of college, had her baby and started working for the Williamses too. Joseph was raised within sight of the huge mansion, but lived in a little cottage.
“Joseph spent his life with the affluent, not as a servant or as an equal, but as an outsider striving to be like them because they were all he knew.”
“He shared their world but not their status.”
Mr. Williams took a lot of interest in Joseph. He attended the best schools and universities, graduated always top of the class, excelled in sports and inherited his biological father and grandfather’s business acumen. He got his degree in law and is a partner in a prominent law firm in DC. Meanwhile, he amassed an incredible wealth, working on investments and bonds. He’s a multimillionaire, who works just because he likes it. His only challenge is surpassing his biological father’s wealth and rub it in his face.
In the beginning of the book Joseph is dating a model called Cathy. He was also a little bit of a douche. I was not very impressed with him, except for his intelligence, good looks and professional competence.
As Lia works in her company, she starts to detect some irregularities and strange workings. Then she meets and dates one of the clients, and sees how her boss encourages her to pursue the relation, until one scandalous night. When she’s convinced that there’s some dirty going-ons, she goes to Joseph for a consult. And this is the moment I liked most in the story. When he sees her, he’s struck. He can’t take his eyes off of her. She had to attend with her little daughter, no babysitter available, and he was also struck with the beautiful little girl. He sees no merit in Lia’s case, because his firm doesn’t handle that type of case, yet he goes above and beyond in the interview and invites her and her daughter to lunch. On the way out, they meet Joseph’s girlfriend, who arrived by surprise to invite him to lunch. Lia escaped and I saw that Joseph was not very happy with events, yay.
Next comes a web of intrigues, hidden agendas, investigations, sleuthing, work partners strife. It sounds like a mess but it’s not, it’s very fascinating. I found that Joseph’s obsession with his father and being able to show him up as his equal, tends to obscure his dealings and that also happens in his personal relations. It’s like his moral compass is a little compromised with his personal issues. The author did a great job sorting through all this mess and gives us a book with many layers of financial negotiations, a complicated love story and a great heroine. Lia takes Joseph on, after he broke up with Cathy, and leads him on a route to discovery of his failings and move beyond that. I loved both characters, Lia for being the sweet and strong heroine, Joseph for being complicated, deep and interesting. The story was complicated because there were different plots and layers, all interconnected, all related and working at different levels until it all came together. I loved it!