At the age of fifteen, Troy Donavan hacked into the DoD's computer system and uncovered government bribery and corruption. With that one act, he became instantly famous and was dubbed the “Robin Hood Hacker”. He was spared from having to serve jail time because his influential father managed to get him placed in a military boarding school to serve out his time. Seventeen years later, Troy owns a software company and runs a legitimate business. However, his many connections and his skills are often called upon by his former mentor, Colonel Salvatore. It is one such called in favor that has him on a flight heading for Chicago and a weekend gala of the rich and famous.
Hillary Wright is on a flight to Chicago, dreading the upcoming weekend gala she is being forced to attend in order to clear her name and get a keep out of jail card. Barry Curtis, Hillary's ex, has been accused of international money laundering; fleecing the scholarship donations of her contacts and clients from her job as a high society event planner. The authorities are not convinced of her innocence about his illegal activities and offer her a way out: attend the gala and identify her ex's elusive business partner. Chastising herself for having fallen for yet another jerk, she swears off men and dating in general. That is until a charming and handsome stranger takes the seat next to her on the plane.
Their chemistry sizzles from the moment they lay eyes on one another. Troy's charm and sense of humor make it very hard for Hillary to dismiss him. Even I liked him a lot. He's a nerd, but a successful nerd. He's somewhat socially inept, due to his upbringing. First his parents who were more concerned with their image and careers to pay any attention to him. Then his time spent in the military boarding school where he formed a sort of second family with some of the other boys. That friendship carried over into adulthood – calling themselves the Alpha Brotherhood
. Hillary is the first woman to truly capture and hold his attention. From the very beginning he knows that he wants more with her than just a fling. But first he'll have to get over her trust issues. Not an easy task when he has secrets he can't tell. To keep her safe from retribution for identifying her ex's partner, he whisks her off to his secluded home in Costa Rica. It is there that she gets a real glimpse at the real Troy, and not the image he projects to the public.
I can't say that I liked Hillary. I understood her reluctance to open herself up to another man, especially one of Troy's background, but I felt that her back and forth dragged out too long – pretty much from beginning until the very end. It often seemed like she was fishing for compliments. Troy would say things that would set her heart a flutter, and immediately afterward she would tell herself that he doesn't really mean anything he says. She fails to be honest with herself, even 80% in to the story, and Troy is too afraid to push too hard, too fast. Then were things that bothered me a little. During a slightly kinky scene, Troy thinks to himself: “he hoped he could cement their bond before they left”
. That was one point when his lack of relationship experience shone through. Sex does not a relationship make. I was not pleased either with Hillary's reaction to Troy's confession, that he'd kept the truth about them being in the clear for one whole day. “Why? Why wouldn't you tell me?” Pain laced her every word. “Why would you let me worry and wonder? It's almost like you kidnapped me, handcuffing me here with a lie.”
Was Troy wrong to prolong their bubble by a day? Perhaps so, but she wasn't exactly unwilling. In fact, she was along for the ride that lasted for days. Worrying was the furthest thing from her mind. The ending was predictable, and you could tell the exact moment when she'd finally pick up her heels and run. I had hoped that she would have her epiphany on her own, without her sister's help. Hillary redeemed herself in the end, but for me, it was a little too late. I'm definitely going to read the rest in this series, but I hope the next heroine will be a little less over dramatic. I'm giving this 3.5 stars.Favorite moments:
“Are you seriously hitting on me?”
“Yes.” And for once he wasn't holding anything back.
“You must be really hard up.”
“Or just h–“
“Don't even say it.”
He passed her one of the condoms, and she sheathed him with torturously slow precision that threatened to send him over the edge, here and now, with the monkeys laughing at his lack of restraint.
That made me think of those annoying monkeys from Angry Birds.
She closed her fist around something square and pulled out...
“A cowbell?” Laughing, she rolled to her back, clanging the copper bell.
“Everything's better with a little cowbell.”
Classic!Thank you Harlequin (Imprint: Harlequin Desire) and NetGalley for the ARC.Disclaimer: A review in exchange for the ARC was not promised. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.