|Trouble in High Heels is one of those books that I wanted to like, tried to like and actually did like until the story lost its focus about two-thirds of the way through. When it lost its steam, the book became hard to finish and was relegated to the “barely satisfactory” category.
Lori Jean Granger is the daughter of a deceased rich man, who left her lots of money, but then proceeded to tie it up with some unique items in his will. She gets part of the money, but not the rest until quite a bit later, unless she is married; then she can dip into some of the other portion. Now since we are talking millions, it wouldn’t seem like this is a big deal. Except Lori loves to spend money on worthy causes; in fact, she considers herself quite a philanthropist. Her causes range from a camp for kids with disabilities to some unique animal causes. The amount of money she spends is so extreme that she is basically out of money until the second half of the will kicks in, which is still several years away.
Jackson James is an accountant but he wants to be a real estate developer. He has the land, just not the money to actually get the building started. His goal is to keep working and save for that dream. His boss offers him a partnership with a raise and a corner office. He only has to manage one account – Lori Granger. It seems that Lori is so charming that the previous account exec let her run all over him and couldn’t say no. Jackson has the task of letting Lori know that she is basically broke.
Of course, they meet and are instantly attracted and then proceed to dislike each other. Jackson can’t believe she can be so irresponsible as to spend that much money so soon. He is determined to hold his ground. Lori really detests his holier-than-thou attitude and is determined to find a way out of her budgetary restrictions. She decides to marry – and entrusts Jackson with finding her a man who needs money, who will marry her, sign a pre-nuptial agreement giving him a specified amount of money and agree to a divorce in six years, when she will have full control of her inheritance. It sounds so simple…and of course there are snags, especially when an English nobleman turns up who might fit the bill.
Lori and Jackson end up on the ranch that operates the camp for kids. This gives them an opportunity to fall in love, providing the English Duke, Geoffrey Taylor, doesn’t sweep in and steal her heart and her money.
Beyond the somewhat convoluted premise, the story is actually engaging when Lori and Jackson are bantering and battling over the best plan of action. Jackson is funny and Lori is actually quite smart, even if she has poor judgment. They have some depth, as Jackson is battling his poor beginnings and Lori is trying to find her independence after being coddled for years by the men in her life. Things start to heat up when Lori discovers that Geoffrey actually is a nice man and Lori thinks they could make things work. But she really lusts after Jackson
It all falls apart when Lori and Jackson secretly get married and then decide they have to hide the fact. Meanwhile Geoffrey lusts after the hired help on the ranch. At this point, I was lost. There seemed no real reason for the two to marry, except they finally acknowledged their lust. But wait, the marriage is supposed to be in name only. To top it off, they then started fighting and had several misunderstandings that kept them apart. It was hard to believe they had fallen in love when they weren’t even around each other. The last 50 pages were a struggle to get through.
Trouble In High Heels started off strong and then fizzled.