|This tale wants to engage the reader in a bit of subterfuge, a bit of sex and an unlikely romance. If you read the Rogue Diamond trilogy, the hero of this story will be a well-known personality. If not, like me, then one must assume several things in order to believe and one must assume that this guy is worth hating at first, even though he seems like a nice enough guy. If you can go with the flow, one might feel this tale delivers. If not, Defiant Mistress, Ruthless Millionaire is just a run of the mill category romance with little to recommend it.
Josh Tremont has been the enemy of the Palmers for years, trying to steal customers, infiltrating their firm and stealing some of their best employees. The Palmer’s are in serious trouble financially and will be ruined if something doesn’t change. It is especially important to save things now since Bruce Palmer, the patriarch is about to be named as an ambassador. His wife Irene is bound and determined to stop Tremont. To do so, she enlists Callie Lee, a girl she rescued from the streets, educated and has given a position at Palmer Enterprises. Callie feels she owes Irene, although she knows that her hard work earned her the job as an upper level assistant in the firm. Irene has her respect and her gratitude for saving her. She doesn’t like the assignment she is given but is willing to do whatever she can to help the Palmers.
Her assignment is to pretend to be lured away from Palmer Enterprises by Josh Tremont and find out who is leaking him information. She is also to feed the Palmer’s information if she can, to help in their bidding war for clients.When Callie meets Josh, she is surprised. He doesn’t seem like the callous shark he was portrayed as and he is definitely good-looking. In fact, she is surprised at the attraction they seem to feel for each other. She hooks the job as his assistant and will be sharing an office suite with him. At first, she applies herself to her work and loves his energy and the way he seems to inspire trust with his employees. In fact, she starts to wonder if what she heard had been true.
But it is…Josh is the illegitimate son of Bruce Palmer. Bruce had destroyed his mother and his future when he rejected them and went on to raise his “other” family. While Josh’s mom was a great mother and never resented Palmer, Josh hated him. He especially hated him when he found love letters after his mother had passed away. Josh vowed revenge and is very close to getting it now.
Josh seems like a nice guy other than his revenge plot. He truly likes Callie and grows to trust her. When she follows through with her assignment despite her growing reluctance, the reader can clearly see the big misunderstanding coming up in the plot. The author doesn’t disappoint. It is a big one and seems almost insurmountable …but love wins out.
I struggled with this on several levels. I guessed the real villain near the beginning and couldn’t see why the characters couldn’t see the handwriting on the wall. Callie is wishy-washy and I never could believe she really loved Josh on the one hand and could betray him on the other. She rationalized it but I could not buy the reasoning. On the other hand, Josh seemed like a smart businessman for most of the tale and it wasn’t until near the end that he revealed his real plans. By then, it seemed over the top, and yet his transformation and realization that his revenge would destroy him too seemed to happen too quickly and was a bit unrealistic.
The bright spot in this is that the author does have a very readable style and the book flows well. Unfortunately, the characters are only moderately engaging and the story, not so much. Defiant Mistress, Ruthless Millionaire is a mixed bag, to say the least.