Published by Penguin Group (USA) on February 3rd 2015
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]I enjoyed this book as much as I have enjoyed Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series. Alexa and Caine’s relationship is fraught with anger and sexual tension and lots of dirty little secrets that no one wants to come to light. [/box]
Alexa Holland is a personal assistant to a famous photographer. She is just returning from a vacation after she had a breakdown on a shoot following her mother’s death. On her first day back, she walks into a shoot featuring self-made, multi-millionaire Caine Carraway. When left orphaned at age thirteen, Caine is thrown into the system but manages to get a scholarship to business school and eventually funds his own bank. No one knows Alexa’s connection to Caine. Alexa’s father is responsible for the deaths of Caine’s parents.
Why, oh why, can’t Alexa keep this tidbit to herself until the end of the day is the question. When Caine comes over to flirt with her, she blurts out her last name to him and her connection to his family. Caine was already cranky doing the shoot but he then goes into a rage getting the photographer fired, and when this results in the photographer losing several other magazines, and he fires Alexa.
Left without her well-paying job, Alexa sneaks by security into Caine’s office to ask him to get her her job back. Normally, I would say this is a very ballsy of her and pretty desperate, but obviously with her connection to the man that destroyed Caine’s life, it is a little cruel to push herself in his face and ask a favor. Yes, I agree that she is not her father and should not be held accountable for his actions. But it seems rather mean to have ripped open his most painful wound with no warning, and then go ask for a favor. I guess there would be no story without this set up.
Caine can’t get her a job back, but he offers her the position as his PA instead at an obscene amount of money. The bonus to Caine seems to be tormenting Alexa, by making her work crazy hours and run stupid errands, even on the weekends.
We also have several men flirting with the pretty PA, and Caine sneering and chasing them all away because he wants her but he doesn’t want to want her.
Of course, there is crazy sexual tension between the characters but even giving in to that tension doesn’t go smoothly. As soon as it’s over, Caine seems to remember who’s daughter he just had sex with and quickly pulls away.
Alexa won’t be pushed away so easily but she has to put up one hell of a fight for Caine. In fact, we could have shortened this story a bit without all the hot sex–no, it doesn’t mean anything…hot sex–no, it doesn’t mean anything being dragged out. Alexa is a bit of a glutton for punishment because she keeps pushing and he keeps kicking her away (after the sex, of course) and she just keeps trying. Alexa’s heart is in the right place and you can feel her frustration with Caine trying to get him to acknowledge his emotions.
But we do find out that there is more to Caine’s commitment phobia than just not finding the right woman, or in the case of Alexa, her family connection, Caine has his own ugly secret which he fears will turn Alexa away from him. When it is finally revealed, I was surprised that someone hasn’t already blackmailed Caine or released that scandal a long time ago.
I read this story in a day and was too enamored with the characters to put it down. Caine has a delightful older neighbor who is like a grandmother to Caine. This is mostly because she is the type of character that won’t be told no. Caine tells her everything and she gets behind the matchmaking between Caine and Alexa.
My biggest issue here was the juxtaposition between Alexa and her mother. Alexa was still resentful at mother for being subservient to her father and allowing herself to be treated badly all those years. But Alexa doesn’t seem to be any better in her behavior with Caine. She allows herself to be used by him for a sex-only relationship and after it’s done, he walks out on her time and again. What makes her any different from her own mother?
Alexa keeps holding onto a man who treats her bad. Every time she say, “you have feelings for me” and he’s all, “nope,” it leaves Alexa coming off as a bit desperate. This is a case where the heroine started out all confident and I can take anything you dish out, to a pathetic, I’ll let you do anything if you please love me.
Regardless of Alexa’s desperation (which does pay off in the end), it was a good story.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Then again…it would be a chance to see Caine interact with Mrs. F. I sighed and decided to face his wrath in order to appease my curiosity. “I’ll have the moo shu pork, and a little less matchmaking from you.” I handed her the menu and she burst out laughing. “Mrs. F,” I warned, “you know with our history it’s never going to happen.”
“Call me Effie, dear. And yes, I thought that too, about your history, I mean,” She admitted, “But you and Caine don’t get what this is all about. He thinks he gets it and you think you get it, but really that’s not why.”
I stared dumbly at her. “That made no sense.”
“It made sense to me.”
Panic transformed into nervous flutters in my stomach. “Please don’t do this.”
Effie patted my shoulder in reassurance. “I would never do anything to make either one of your uncomfortable or upset, but from what I’ve learned from both of you, you’re both dancing around each other and you haven’t really learned a thing about each other that means something. A little time together outside of work will do you both good.”
“He’s very scary,” I pointed out.
She snorted. “To you maybe. To me, he’s a sweet, sweet boy.”
My jaw almost dropped at the double use of that adjective. “Sweet? Caine? No, I don’t think so.”
She smiled almost smugly to herself. “You’ll see.”
The minute I heard Effie’s door open, my pulse stopped for a second, and when it restarted it was suddenly going a hundred miles an hour. Effie grinned at me and looked over my shoulder as heavy footsteps drew into the main room from the hall.
They suddenly stopped. “Effie?”
Huh, so it wasn’t just my name Caine used that warning tone with.
I glanced over my shoulder at him and gave him a little wave. “Hey, boss.”
I was so glad I got the words out before I took in his appearance, because my mouth went dry and my brain stopped processing actual words. Caine was wearing a white T-shirt that sculpted his body. I would see the superb strength in his shoulders and arms. To make matters worse, he was wearing a faded pair of blue-wash jeans that hung on his hips in the most delicious way.
Caine Carraway in a business suit was gorgeous. Caine Carraway out of a suit was sexy as hell.
He also seemed human and normal to me for the first time ever. Or he would have if he’d stopped scowling at me.
“Caine, come and sit down. Alexa’s joining us for dinner.”
He looked from Effie to me and then back to Effie. “Is that right?” he muttered.
The buzzer from reception sounded in the apartment before anyone could say anything else.
“That’ll be dinner,” Effie said.
“I’ll get it.” Caine strode away, tension stiffening his shoulders.
Once he’d left, I said to Effie, “He’s not happy.”
The older woman just grinned at me.
Caine returned with the takeout and without saying a word he walked into the kitchen and surprised me by plating up the food and serving it to us. Effie didn’t seem at all shocked by this.
As he correctly guessed that the moo shu pork was mine and placed the plate in front of me he must have felt my burning, questioning stare because he asked quietly, “What?”
“You just did something for me. Me. Another person.”
That familiar scowl returned to his face. “I put food on a plate. Shut it and eat.” He sat down and began digging into his own sweet and sour chicken and rice.
“Caine, be nice to Alexa,” Effie said, “Or you won’t get a piece of the lemon meringue pie I made earlier.”
“There’s lemon meringue pie?” Cain and I asked in unison. We shot a look of displeasure at each other.