I was actually put off by the title, as I tend to dislike blackmail plots, but when I started to read I realised that the blackmail was the external plot, and the reason why Ella has chosen to conceal herself for the eight months it took her mother’s will to pass through probate.
Okay, it worked for me. It might push a few people’s hot buttons, though. First, Ella is a homebody – she has kept house for her mother during her long illness, and she is good at the traditional things. She enjoys them. That was okay by me. Women’s Lib meant the freedom to do as you chose, to be the woman you chose to be, and in this book, Ella has chosen the home.
Second button is the boss/employee thing. However Ella has given notice to Tristan before anything occurs between them, and she wasn’t dependent on his references or his good opinion, so I could tolerate that. When it becomes unacceptable for me is when the boss seduces the employee with threats. That didn’t happen here.
This is a relatively quiet book, but I enjoyed it. Robyn Grady writes very well. No intrusive exclamation marks and weird speech tags here, two of the things I hate in HMB books. Her style flows well and she evokes interesting pictures of the scenes she writes about.
I was a bit disappointed with the pregnancy excuse. They took precautions, but the pregnancy seemed to come out of nowhere. I mention this because the official blurb does, but it occurs fairly late in the book, and I’d have considered it a bit of a spoiler. I would have also liked the falling in love process to have been better described. When the book opens, she’s already in love with him, and I wasn’t sure why, apart from him being the usual tall, dark and handsome type. She seems to have had a very sheltered life, and apart from one failed relationship before Tristan, hasn’t been out much.
Tristan is described well, but he’s a bit bland, but then, that suits our heroine. I would have liked to have seen her with a bad boy, but apart from falling out with his brother, Tristan doesn’t really rebel.
Still, I enjoyed the read and I’ll be looking for more Robin Grady books. Coming off a spectacularly bad Harlequin, it was nice to read one that was well up to standard.
Burned by a greedy heiress, Tristan Barkley had sworn off romance. Until a sizzling night with Ella Jacobs, his secretive housekeeper turned blonde bombshell, made the millionaire rethink his decision. He’d find a way to guarantee she remained by his side…and in his bed.
Yet when he learned she was carrying his child, he proposed the only solution: marriage. As their no-strings-attached connection turned all too real, Tristan couldn’t shake the feeling that Ella was hiding something. And soon he began to doubt her true motives for the match—for love, for money…or forever?
Read an excerpt (scroll down).