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book cover Limecello’s review of CEO’s Expectant Secretary by Leanne Banks
Contemporary romance released by Silhouette Desire 8 Jun 10

This book is the last of the Kings of the Boardroom series. I enjoyed the series very much, and have said time and again that Leanna Banks is one of my favorite category authors. It was a great finish and I liked the book even more than I expected to. Why? Because I really dislike the revenge type plots, or trying to sabotage someone, but here, it worked. Nobody was truly a villain, and I liked all the characters.

Elle Linton is a likable character, but confusing. I’d “met” her in a previous book (as the Kings of the Boardroom books are all loosely connected), and liked her a lot. I felt the same way about Elle in her own story, but her motives for doing what she did … well gave me pause. She basically lets her estranged grandfather pressure or blackmail her into an untenable situation, to pay for her mother’s necessary medical care. It seems like it should be more dramatic and more of a focus, but it wasn’t. At least not to me. Elle is likable and actually a strong woman, aside from “allowing” her grandfather to control her. It’s clear she hates what she’s doing, but is stuck. What I really appreciated is that Elle refuses to be a victim, or make excuses. She doesn’t protest uselessly, or try to convince Brock either. This also helps make Elle sympathetic.

Brock Maddox is someone I want to say is an asshole… but he isn’t. He’s rather cold to Elle, but unfortunately he has good reason. (Not to say I think he should have been mean to her without a reason, but it’s just sad how closed off he becomes.) Brock has been burned before, and Elle does it to him again. He’s definitely in love with her, but has difficulty trusting her as she’s been revealed to be a corporate spy. What is nice about Brock – and he actually points this out as well – is that he required irrefutable proof before he was willing to believe Elle was the spy. He didn’t want to suspect or accuse her of something so reprehensible. Brock cares a lot, but has difficulty showing it.

I suppose now the question is why it’s ok for Elle to do what she did, but she does feel miserable. Basically, all the characters are put in an untenable position, and it even makes sense (at least to and for Brock) for them to get married once he finds out Elle is pregnant. That and you know, he’s in love with her and wants her around even though he can’t admit that to himself at the time. (Can you tell I just eat this stuff up? I can’t quit categories. They seem ridiculous in summary, I suppose, but the stories can be absolutely wonderful and brilliantly written.)

I will have to say I love that Ms. Banks stayed true to the characters and situations. I almost expected Elle to be some wronged person because there was a ridiculous twist. But no, everything made sense and worked out naturally and in a believable manner. And that’s why I absolutely love reading categories and books by Ms. Banks. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been following the series, likes Silhouette Desire books, or is a fan of Leanne Banks.

LimecelloGrade: B

Maddox Communications was his life—until he allowed a woman to come between him and his business. CEO Brock Maddox had been betrayed by his lover…his own secretary. And when he finally confronted Elle Linton, he discovered she’d been keeping an even bigger secret. Elle was carrying his baby.

Vowing to let nothing else out of his control, Brock declared Elle would marry him. Their union solidified his claim on their child…and allowed him to keep a close eye on his ex-assistant. Yet Brock knew he might succumb to the lure of his lovely wife…if he dared let his heart rule his head.

Read an excerpt here.