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December 2015, Sphere, 384 pages, Ebook, Review copy
Content: extremely mature frequent adult romance, some humour,
Summary from Little, Brown
When Emily Wayborn receives an answerphone message from her former best friend Amber, she knows something is seriously wrong. Emily hasn't spoken to Amber in years, and when Amber uses a safe word in her message that Emily recognises -- a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild partying days -- she knows Amber needs her help. But when Emily tries to find her, she discovers that Amber is missing.
Determined to track her down, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis. Renowned for his shady dealings and playboy reputation, Emily is convinced that Reeve knows something about Amber's disappearance. To try and discover the truth, Emily sets out to seduce him. But when she's forced to decide where her loyalty lies, how will Emily choose between saving Amber and saving her heart?
Normally I leave explaining the grade of a book until last, but this time I'm making the point first. Predominantly it's the strength of the adult romance which brought down the grade a little - I genuinely didn't realise it would be quite so graphic. It was easy enough to skip past scenes, the few parts I glimpsed while looking for the scene to end made me rather glad I was avoiding it. I'm more a closed doors kind of girl, but was gripped by the synopsis, especially as the story hinted of diving into the underworld (crinimal, not the death one with Hades although to be fair they do overlap in content sometimes) - yes I can be a bit Mafia/mob obsessed.
Before I get into that side of the story, I need to finish explaining the grade. Originally my grade was 8/10E, but as I wrote this review I remembered how much I enjoyed the novel, so I changed it. It's so rare I spend most of a book wanting a character to die, and with Emily that's exactly what I wanted to do. I stress that this issue amused me as much as it annoyed me. I understood why she went undercover to find Amber. I knew there would be risks, that much is obvious from the synopsis alone. However, I didn't realise Emily would be as dense as a dodo!
She's not without intelligence and acting skills or she would have died straight away from asking too many quesions, but it was a miracle she survived to the end. In my view she seemed to press issues to far - even when she had warnings as a consequence from being nosy (horrid ones, trust me) she was a total nincompoop and kept going! She kept investigating even when in a house of high security she should have known there were security cameras everywhere. If a character needed to die to learn her lesson it's Emily! Yes I'm smiling as I say that.
Thankfully she doesn't die as there's sequel - yay! The cliffhanger ending was enough to have me half-patiently waiting for it, that and I want to see how stupid Emily will be. She isn't 100% stupid, some of the things she does are quite clever, and despite everything she wins Reeve's heart which is no mean feat. The mystery behind Amber's disappearance is deep, with revelations being dripped through the story which is a bit agonising but it adds to the drama.
The underworld side of the story is oh so awesome and had me grinning away ^o^ Lots of dealings and Reeve gets pushed into corners by his peers over an issue or two, which I can so understand and see happening in real life. So called 'bad' people aren't 100% bad, or even 90%. Yes I'd class Emily as being more stupid than Reeve is bad, but that's just me and I mean it affectionately. Definitely a good book to check out, & reread!
Find out more on Laurelin's website.