by Kate Bateman

Rating:
5/5

Plot/Storyline: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📖
Feels: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋
Romance: 💞 💞 💞 💞 
Emotional Depth: 💔 💔 💔 💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ 
Sensuality: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Sex Scene Length: 🍆 🍆 🍆🍆 

FINALLY! A book with a “mystery” and a villain that worked for me! At first, I wasn’t sure about reading this book. I thought I might hate it because books with spies and villains are not my thing. So I was worried I might hate it, but I am so glad I tried it because I was wrong. Wrong. Wrong!

I adored the premise of this book. The heroine, Georgie, forces the hero, Benedict, to marry her, thinking he is an inmate that will never get out of prison. But he’s really a spy undercover and when he’s released she suddenly has a husband.

I could come up with myriad ways to describe what I loved about this book, but I think the thing that struck me the most is togetherness. To me, this whole book feels like it was about them being together. They marry immediately and quickly learn that they are stuck in this marriage and instead of working against each other, they become a team. There is no animosity between them. No fighting. No disagreements. Just two people who are together in this crazy situation and they make the best of it. 

Their marriage and the investigation are the two things that drive Georgie and Benedict together. Georgie’s main reason for marrying an inmate is that she is so rich that no once can see her as worth anything more than a bank roll. Her mission is to become an unavailable women while still solidifying her place in society without ruination. Benedict is a penniless second son who is helping his brother pay off the debts of their father. His mission is to complete his investigation for some reward money. 

While both of their issues in life are rooted in finances, their greater battle is that neither of them are truly seen for who they are. Benedict is viewed as a rogue without scruples and a fortune hunter in his own right, when in reality he is honorable and loyal and doesn’t care one bit how much money someone has. And Georgie is overlooked entirely because people can’t see past her gorgeous sister and Georgie’s endless piles of money. So when Georgie and Benedict are thrown together, they don’t expect to find someone who can truly see who they are. And as they begin to learn about each other, they find partnership and trust in a way that neither of them ever expected. 

This togetherness is what made the “mystery”/spy/villain aspect work for me. Because it was just a backdrop to their relationship. There were interesting tidbits here and there to further the plot along, but the focus was always Georgie and Benedict.

In all honesty, Benedict is a terrible spy. He divulged his secrets too easily. Takes few precautions in his investigations. Makes decisions that involve Georgie to an irresponsible degree. Some people may be bothered by this, but frankly, I just don’t give a damn about those things. Because, as I said, these two were together through all of it! They shared the page and that is really what I want from a romance. 

I’m not sure I can properly call this a “mystery”, which is why I have been putting it in quotes. There were no people dying all over the place and their lives didn’t feel like they were constantly in danger. It was more an investigation style with a dangerous pinnacle. And I vastly preferred that it was not a whodunnit. 

There was the unfortunate villainous kidnapping of the heroine as a side story and that was resolved in a hilariously simplistic fashion. It’s probably the only thing I didn’t like about the book. It didn’t feel purposeful and the aftermath was not realistic to me. Georgie is just all “Oh, was kidnapped. No biggie.” With a flip of the hand, and everyone seems to go along with that. This is my biggest complaint about these story lines. No one is ever adequately traumatized by them. And in this particular book, it wasn’t integral to the plot in a way that there was no alternative.

However, it also happens to be a blip on the radar. One thing Kate Bateman did right here (at least in my opinion) was that this happed early enough in the book that we were able to move on and go back to the romance and end on a downpour of feels and love. And instead of the end devolving into one having to rescue the other, they worked together. Which is really all I want in a romance. 

The romance really took off in the second half of the book. It’s rare for me that the beginning sustains me until that happens, but here I was interested in the story line. The writing was so good. I loved the characters and their interactions with each other. And then once the romance truly gets underway, I just loved it more and more. 

I could really feel them falling in love. There was sweetness and joy that came about as Georgie and Benedict grew to understand each other. They had an easy going camaraderie that was fun to read, gave me some laughs, and made me melt for their companionship. I especially loved when they shared secret moments where they were amused by something that others didn’t seem to notice. They just got along and then fell in love when they weren’t expecting it. 

Their relationship also had a good dose of steam. Their kisses were hot and the sex even hotter. I do wish there was a drop more of it, but truly only a smidge and that’s because I am greedy for it. (As Becky likes to say.) I think my favorite thing about the sex is that we get a super hot love scene after they realize they love each other. I feel like that is so, so rare. Usually by that point you get a fade to black or half a scene. But I thought this one better than the first and had so much feeling. 

I could still feel them falling in love at the end. And that usually dissipates for me.  But here it was just growing and continued to develop to the very last page. In fact, I thought maybe this would be a 4 star book for me, but the end knocked it out of the park for me because it left me with all those bursting heart feels that I love from a romance. This was my first book by Kate Bateman and I cannot wait to read the next one.

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