Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Super Novel (326pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (8th March 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 – 3 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Kipp Llewellyn would rather follow his dreams than toe the family line, so instead of the support of his wealthy family, he has estrangement and a part-time job with Hunter, an in-demand interior designer. Hunter opens a new world for Kipp to explore—and not just for his career. It’s through Hunter that Kipp meets and begins what he thinks is a one-sided flirtation with Ham, one of Hunter’s customers.
To Kipp’s astonishment, Ham asks him for a date. Unfortunately for Kipp, a mysterious phone call summons him home, where his father gives him an ultimatum: save the family company by marrying billionaire Hyde Wyndham, in which case all will be overlooked, or never set foot in his home again. But meeting Hyde leaves Kipp stunned and betrayed, because Hyde is actually Ham.
A guarantee of marriage is no excuse for making Kipp feel foolish, and Kipp had enough of the gilded cage in the first twenty-one years of his life. He turns Hyde down, stating that marriage should be about love rather than convenience. If Hyde wants him, he’ll have to court him the old-fashioned way.
Review: Kipp walked away from his family when he decided to go against their wishes for his future, perfectly happy with his life working part-time for Hunter and starting a tentative relationship with Ham, he thinks things are going great, until he receives a phone call from his father’s assistant demanding his presence. Kipp discovers that his father has made plans for him to marry to save the family company, but Kipp’s biggest shock is the man he is supposed to marry is none other than Ham (Hyde Wyndham). Feeling betrayed Kipp makes it clear that he has to be courted because he is more than just the company shares that Ham wants, but as they begin to get close Kipp discovers dark secrets from his families past that just might destroy his happiness.
This is a wonderful story if you want a bit of a Harlequin/Mills&Boone feeling story with the added pinch of double-dealings and long hidden secrets. Kipp is an easy-going character who wants to please his father more than anything, but there are some things that he just won’t do, discovering that the man he has been falling in love with has made an agreement with his father hurts him, but Kipp has the opportunity to try to gain his father’s regard and the man he wants, but at what cost? Ham is a character that is hard to get a read on, he is quite controlling and basically takes over Kipp’s life in one smooth move, he does seem to really want Kipp, but it is hard to tell at times because he seems to pull back a lot. Although we want Kipp to get his man sometimes you also want him to put his foot down and tell Ham to back off a bit and slow down.
I must admit to really enjoying this story, although I wanted Kipp to put his foot down and stop letting people making all the decisions for him, it was actually a well written prince Charming type story. The storyline was pretty good, weaving family drama, business dealings, and old secrets together and giving us a slight mystery that changes Kipp’s life forever. The characters all play their parts well, but some of them leave a bad taste and many seem to be just misunderstood rather than outright nasty. The relationship between Kipp and Ham is one that slightly confuses because although we plainly see how Kipp feels for Ham, we don’t really get a feeling until right near the end of how Ham feels for Kipp, it is also slightly disturbing how Ham makes all the plans and rides roughshod over Kipp until Kipp just agrees to whatever Ham wants… very Victorian feeling with Kipp being the Victorian Miss.
I will recommend this to those who want arranged marriages for business, CinderFella type stories, hidden family secrets, dirty business deals, pleasing your man, falling in love and a very happy ever after.