Published by Dutton on may
Genres: Contemp Romance, Contemporary RS
Source: Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley
A corrupt congressman, a mother’s secrets, and a sizzling romance ignite passion and suspense in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.
Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.
Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.
Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.
In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden’s life are made while Cordelia is with him, and he realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.
Cordie is a daddy’s girl. Her gruff mechanic grease monkey dad raised her and when he died, he was far more than a “grease monkey.” He left Cordie a small fortune from his car business.
Cordie, meanwhile, is a teacher. She’s been in love with her best friend’s brother since they were kids. But Aidan is oblivious. Until she decides to get over him. But her dad dropped a bomb on Cordie right before he dies; he tells her that her mother never died. She actually left them when Cordie was a baby.
With preparations for her dad’s funeral and Aidan coming in town, Cordie’s mind is everywhere except on her mom. She figures she’ll deal with that later. There’s a letter in a safe deposit box for her, but she figures she’ll deal with that after the funeral, too. And when she finally opens it (which by the way, drove me nuts! I would have opened it on the spot, but I’m like that), she finds out more about her mother.
And that her mom was a horrible, horrible person.
Aidan has never really thought about Cordie other than as his little sister’s bestie. One night after her dad died, they share an amazing, scorching hot kiss and suddenly he can’t keep his mind off her. But Aidan is all business. Literally. He works so so hard and rarely comes up for air. I sort of wish he’d have stopped working so much sooner in the novel, because it’s hard to build a romance with the characters apart. I think Garwood leaned on their many years of knowing each other in that sense. She figured that because they grew up together, she didn’t have to give them as much interaction. I don’t know.
When Cordie makes the impulsive decision to go to Australia (where it turns out her mother and her socialite family live), Aidan says he’ll fly her down there since he has business there too. This really isn’t helping Cordie’s get over Aidan plan, but things start to heat up, so she doesn’t mind.
What we see is that not just is Cordie’s mom a horrible person, but so is the whole family. Her mom sees her (and since she’s the spitting image of her, she knows exactly who she is), and her mom will do anything to keep her a secret. Assuming her father was still a poor mechanic, she tries to buy her off. Then Cordie’s life is endangered.
One thing that bugs me about Garwood’s heroines is that the past 3 I’ve read in this series have all had their lives endangered in some way, but they don’t take the threat seriously enough. In Hot Shot, the previous book, the heroine Peyton is shot at, run off the road and bombed. Literally, bombed. She ends up hospitalized and still doesn’t listen to her big bad FBI boyfriend. In Sweet Talk Olivia is shot and still doesn’t take the threat seriously. Cordie is slightly better, but really not much. It’s frustrating because all 3 heroines were intelligent and good characters otherwise.
I also didn’t like how little closure there was with the mother. There’s a bit at the end, but it’s not really what (from what I can tell) the readers want. At least it’s not what I wanted.
I’m curious who the next couple will be-there have been lots of side characters and lots of sequel-bait, so I’m waiting for characters from previous books to get their turns too.
I believe that readers have been waiting nearly 10 years for Aidan and Cordie’s book, but the cool thing is that this book can be read as a stand-alone. It’s typical Garwood with sexy heroes, relateable and likeable heroines, and a lot of action.
***ARC courtesy of Dutton Books