Published by Harlequin
Released on February 1, 2008
I have read so many Gena Showalter books over the years and this was my first just plain contemporary romance from her. I wasn’t sure how it would go and was curious particularly when I read the blurb and discovered what it was about. And after closing the book, I felt that it was fun, sad, and heartwarming all wrapped up in one.
Jillian Greene works for a company who has the dirty job of discovering the fidelity of spouses and significant others for ladies who just want to know if they’re being cheated on. For some this would be just a job, but for Jillian who thinks all men are lying, cheating pigs, it’s almost a calling. Jillian and her friend, Georgia, along with a few other women are ‘bait’ for the would-be cheaters who wear hidden mikes and catch all the evidence for the poor woman involved. She loves her job and plans to purchase the company when her boss retires, but all that changes when Marcus Brody arrives in the office like a fox set into a hen house. Marcus and Jillian clash from the moment they lock eyes. Unfortunately, clashing isn’t all they do because both are strongly attracted too. Both the snarky vitriol and the attraction ramp up high when Jillian learns that Marcus is being brought on and will also be her new partner for her next job.
Marcus can’t believe his reaction to Jillian. He now owns the company and will be Jillian’s boss though she doesn’t know it yet. His calm and cool go out the window and professional behavior…pfft. That’s gone too. Jillian’s man-hater attitude just turns him on more just as his provoking comments rev her up. They’re like fire and gasoline together which only burns hotter when the reveals both professional and personal begin. Can they just keep it to the no-strings attached or are they in danger of letting the other past their long established guard?
There is a side story with Georgia and Jillian’s brother, Brent along with the family story line for Jillian that wove through the thing she had going with Marcus.
The plot on this one explored a few different themes that included a heated romance between Jillian and Marcus, but also it included the character growth that both needed, mostly Jillian, so that wounds from the past can heal. It was obvious to me from the beginning that Jillian was a very damaged woman and why, but it took most of the book for her to realize it and start to do something about it. It says a lot about the writing that I was able to patiently wait for Jillian. Marcus was gun shy too, but his thing was more of a person who had suppressed feelings and just needed to take a chance again.
I’m not one for excessive snark between characters when they’re in denial, but both these characters seemed to treat it like flirting and foreplay so I just shook my head and read on. Have to admit that this seemed to really work for them because they could barely keep their hands and everything else off each other much of the time.
The thing with Jillian and her dad was the litmus test of the story because in the beginning she absolutely hates him wanting nothing to do with him and this gradually changes as she really starts to look at things more objectively. Cheating and how it affects people is very much the focus of this book. It’s a sad and sobering issue underlying the plot. This story also offers hope that those hurt by it can get a fresh chance for happiness.
So in the end, I found this a piece that showcased the flexibility of Gena Showalter’s talent as a writer by tackling a serious subject while infusing the story with hope, fun and passion- an enjoyable read. I would recommend this one to Ms. Showalter’s fans, but also those who enjoy flirty and spicy contemporary romance.