Series: Courting Justice #1
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 5th 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo ♥ Apple Books
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She’s soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She’s actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.
When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win’s charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.
Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can’t reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he’s not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.
As the case takes a wild turn and Win’s entire life is upended, she must look to the people she’s closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves…
The first few pages of this story almost made me put the book aside because I thought it was going to be some snooze-fest about people with too much money and out of control actors acting out, but surprisingly it was not. It was more about two people who had hit rock bottom after rising so high and were trying to find their feet after the fall. When you combine that with decades-old secrets and murder, what you get is a really enjoyable story with lots of surprising twists and turns. Once I got into the story, it was kind of hard to put down and I finished it within a day!
Both Taylor and Henry understood each other so well because in their own way, they had scrapped the bottom of the barrel and the only way out was up, one day at a time.
Taylor was a really sweet character, very far from the demanding diva I expected when I started reading this book and it was quite refreshing. Henry on the other hand, was quite annoying and it’s easy to see how much of a douche he was when he was at the top of his career. His quick assumptions and tantrums did not me very much a fan of his.
One of my favorite parts of this story is the growing friendship among the three guys and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. Overall, it was a really interesting story and a new tone from Ms. Blake.
One thing I’ll say is that it’s hard to not measure this book (and others) against the Masters & Mercenaries series, against which it falls short obviously, but on its own, it’s still a really enjoyable story and for me, the budding friendship among the characters here reminds me of the M&M series, so I am excited about what the author has in store for David and Noah.
Henry glanced up at the clock. Two thirty p.m. Somehow he’d expected Win to show up bright and early this morning. He’d woken up and made a pot of coffee, and he’d gone over all the ways he would explain to her that this was a bad idea.
Because it was still a bad idea.
Alicia might have given in to Noah and Drew Lawless’s blackmail, but she would be back at some point. Then there was the fact that he dealt with unsavory clients on a daily basis. He took on high-profile cases and often got dragged through the mud along with the client.
There were plenty of people out there who hated him. Loathed him and despised the very fact that he existed and cheered if he failed. He was used to it. Sweet little Win was not and would be horrified.
So he was going to tell her how amazing their night together was and then turn her down gently.
Except she hadn’t shown up and that bugged the hell out of him.
She’d been the one to claim she would be here despite the fact that he’d told her not to come. She’d told him she didn’t care what he thought.
It was perverse, but if he’d had her number, he might have called and said a few things about setting expectations and then not meeting them.
He started another pot of coffee. This was completely foolish. She’d put some distance between the two of them and realized how little they had in common. At least one of them had some sense.
The scent of French roast hit the air and he realized he was pro-crastinating. He was putting off the moment when he had to step back into the city and face the music. He would have to work his ass off to find anyone who wanted to hire a lawyer with his tarnished reputation. It didn’t matter that his addiction issues had never cost a client a dime. The perception would be there, and perception was over half the battle in life.
He should pack up tonight and leave it all to the agent. It’s what he should have done yesterday, but he’d enjoyed spending time with David, showing him places on the island and telling him stories.
It was time to go home now. Time to forget about pretending to be someone he couldn’t afford to be anymore. Time to put away thoughts of quiet and peace and get back to being the Monster of Manhattan. That was the only way he was going to survive.
The Monster of Manhattan didn’t give in to urges. He plowed through all problems with a single-minded, ruthless intent. The Monster didn’t need attention, though he tended to get it. Attention didn’t matter to the Monster. Money mattered. Power mattered.
He would get them both back.
The Monster certainly didn’t need some do-gooder in his bed. He would select a woman, rationally discuss his needs with her, and pay her for her services, whether they be as a plus-one to gatherings or as a body in bed. That was how he would view it. Transactional.
Transactional was safe.
So he was going to stop being such a whiny asshole and be grateful that Win had some sense.
A knock broke through the quiet of the house.
He practically ran for the door.
He opened it and there was Win, standing in the soft light of the afternoon, her hair up in a ponytail. She was wearing denim shorts and a blousy, feminine shirt. She had a bag of groceries in one hand and what looked like a duffel in the other.
“I know you said I shouldn’t come back, but you’re wrong and I’m going to give you all my reasons why.”
He didn’t care. She was here. He walked straight up to her and cupped that pretty face in his hands and kissed her for all he was worth.
Fuck transactional. He wanted something real for once in his damn life.
When he came back up, he was rewarded with a soft look in her eyes, her lips curving into a small smile.
“No arguing with me?”
He did have some problems they should discuss. “You’re late.”
Her smile went brilliant. “I had some things to clear up. I thought if you didn’t mind, I might stay with you for a few nights.”
He took the bag of groceries out of her hand and led her inside. “I think that sounds like a great idea.”
“This is way easier than I thought it would be,” she admitted. “Have you had lunch? I could whip up some sandwiches and we could have a picnic.”
He stashed the grocery bag in the fridge. She set down her duffel, and that made it much easier to scoop her up and into his arms. “I know exactly what I want for lunch.”
Her eyes went wide, but she didn’t struggle at all. Her arms went around his shoulders as he carried her to the big bedroom.
It had been cozy in his old room, but he needed more space if she was going to live here with him for a few weeks.
He stopped at the edge of the big bed he’d had brought in after he’d inherited the place. It was the only room he’d redone, with the thought of spending long weekends with his friends up here. He never had managed the time, but now he was happy he’d spent the cash to do it because he could share it with her.
The last few weeks of being Henry before going back to the real world.
He set her down on the bed and pulled his shirt over his head. He wasn’t playing around this time. That was for later. It had been entirely too long since he’d had her.
He needed her.
He knew it was something he should question, even be slightly afraid of, but he didn’t care in the moment. All that mattered was she was here and he could put off any thoughts of letting her go for a few days. He could sink into her.
She was his reward for every crappy thing he’d been through in the last couple of years.