Daniel Hartmann and Emily Anderson have every reason to hate each other. Her father destroyed the lives of his parents and he in turn sent her father to jail. Now Daniel’s a successful billionaire and artsy Emily is his newest employee. Both of them intend to make the other pay for the sins of the past, but revenge has never been so sweet.
This novel has been on the market for a number of months now and yet I just recently received it from Net Galley. I have to admit that the title let me to believe that the story would go in a particular direction and I don’t think ultimately that was the case. Yet it is a story that is full of anger and angst, old wounds and upsets, emotions that just won’t go away because there doesn’t seem to be any way to resolve the issues that caused the hurts in the first place.
This story is built around the demise of a business relationship, one that involved betrayal of one partner over the other. Now the offspring of those two business partners have been brought together by the need/desire for revenge. One is the billionaire CEO of the corporation and the other is the daughter of the partner that landed in jail and whose deep family loyalty almost demands that she find a way to revenge the damage to her father as well as to their family name. All this is taking place within the context of an intense personal and deeply sexual attraction. How the story develops and how these two characters figure out how to manage this attraction–where it is leading and what to do when it gets to where it is moving–is the substance of this novel and is all mixed up with emotion and danger and the pain that is often caused when the truth emerges in its bare-bones, no frills reality.
I’ve read Ms Darby’s work previously so I wasn’t surprised to encounter a book that was well written grammatically and which flowed seamlessly from scene to scene. It was a very pleasant reading experience, one that made me feel that I have read a really good story by the time it was all done. Don’t get me wrong: this wasn’t a fluffy boy-meets-girl-and-they-float-off-into-love-land. There are real problems between these two families and every nuance of the dissolution of the partnership and all the attendant hurts and sense of betrayal is present from the start. The fact that they are drawn so strongly to one another doesn’t make the realities that have separated the partners and their families didn’t go away. Love really couldn’t conquer all in this instance. But like all good stories and the crises that arise within the narrative, the ups and downs, the emotional highs and lows, the plot surprises all combine to make this a book that keeps the reader moving forward from page to page. As one reviewer observed: when you encounter a book that seems to keep you fixated on each page and whose story stays in your brain when you aren’t reading it, that’s a really good story.
There is no doubt that romance novels are literally flying off the presses these days and with the dawn of e-publishing it is so easy to have a plethora of new fiction on one’s eReader at the flick of the wrist and a healthy credit card. But we often forget that there are heaps and heaps of really good books that have been around for months and maybe even years and we owe it to ourselves to enjoy and appreciate the really good ones. I think this book is one of them.
I give it a rating of 4 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.