Series: Conduct Series #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Released on July 13, 2010
When I hear a couple talk about how they first met and the story of how they got together, I am always interested. Sometimes the stories can be quite entertaining. But I guarantee that none would be half as entertaining as this one.
Grant and Sophie first meet when they both come to the first meeting with their parole officer, Jerry. Jerry is an irascible soul who has seen lots of broken promises and disappointment over his long career in the Dept of Corrections. He is surprised by the new parolees who are added to his caseload, but takes a wait and see. Jerry gives Sophie two weeks to find a job and orders her into weekly counseling. She has just spent the last year in the pen for accessory to robbery and lost everything she had going in her life- new career as psychologist, reputation and even family- all because she was duped into thinking a guy who was her client loved her. She bumps into Grant the other new parolee on his way into Jerry’s office where he is given the ultimatum of finding a job and getting his life back together minus his former career in the navy. Grant knows he has room to be fearful because he has spent his whole life trying to avoid the taint of his family and he knows that anyone who finds out his family connection will pre-judge him particularly those in law enforcement. Grant with the help of his Uncle Joe is able to get a job and a place to stay, but Sophie cannot find a job. It is just when Jerry prepares to send her back to prison for not getting the job that Grant helps her get a job with him for an architectural boat tour service with Roger his uncle’s navy buddy. Within days their friendship begins and it slowly grows into something more as they share the title of felon now and all the baggage that goes with it.
Little do the two parolees know that they have more in common than they think. The guy that got Sophie into trouble is Grant’s older brother Logan. Logan and Grant are the sons of a big mafia boss. Logan stayed in The Family and Grant was able to get away because his mother’s brother adopted him and brought him away after his mother’s death. The Barberis will not let matters lie because when Logan hid money and guns in Sophie’s office the family lost out on a lot of money and they want it back. It was Logan threatening to kill Uncle Joe if Grant did not help him with a robbery because he got into gambling trouble that gets Grant put away when the robbery is botched. And now he wants to force him to help him again.
The mob is still very interested in both Grant and Sophie. Can their relationship survive when they learn the truth about their shared connection to the Barberis when the truth comes out?
The plot for this story is just incredible both as a romance and a drama. The story is told in the present and through flashbacks. It is told from multiple points of view. The various backdrops were so interesting- the Department of Corrections Parole Office, Dr. Hunter’s Office, the Barberi compound, the tour boat, and their various homes. I was just so fascinated learning what it was like for a person emerging from prison back into society. The mafia connection looming and overshadowing everything added a great deal of danger, tension, and sorrow to the story. I was so angry with how many generations and lives were ruined by that life. I was really rooting for Grant and Sophie in their efforts to navigate through it all.
The characters were well sketched and I found myself in tears for and with Grant (yes, he’s a tender guy) and I cried over the waste that was Logan’s life though I know he made several really bad choices. I laughed a lot too particularly with the dialogue between Grant and Sophie as well as both of their interactions with their parole officer Jerry. The most amusing secondary character was the irascible Roger, the ex-navy woman hating tour boat owner that gave Grant and Sophie jobs.
Jennifer Lane definitely has a gift for writing characters and their stories. I look forward to reading the next installment in the series.
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