|I liked the beginning and the end. If I had liked the heroine in the middle, this might have been a keeper. As it is, The CEO’s Scandalous Affair is a decent category romance introducing a series.
The Garrison family is rich and has been for a while, partly due to patriarch John. He has five children by his wife and, as we learn at the reading of his will, a sixth child who was born as a result of a love affair. The will leaves shares of the company to each child, as expected. What was unexpected was leaving equal shares (and thus controlling interest) to Parker, the eldest and Cassie Sinclair, the interloper.
Parker is furious and not sure what he is going to do. It doesn’t help that as the CEO of the conglomerate, he has become suspicious that there is a spy sharing secrets with the biggest competitor. What he does know is that he has a super executive assistant named Anna Cross. He is surprised when he returns from the reading of the will to find her in his executive office shower, singing about feeling pretty. He is also surprised to find out she has been hiding her charms with a maidenly hairdo and frumpy clothes. Now he is intrigued.
Anna, meanwhile, is horrified that she has been discovered. She has secrets and not just the fact that she showers after her morning run when she thinks Parker will be late. She has been fighting her attraction to Parker ever since she received the promotion from the HR department. Now that he is showing interest back, she is not sure what she can do.
Anna’s secret is that prior to moving to Miami, she worked for a firm in Chicago. She was introduced to a scheming young man who took advantage of her, romanced her and stole her password and then committed a crime, leaving all the clues heading back to Anna. Even though the charges were ultimately dropped, there was no retraction and no real effort to get the true story in the papers. Her biggest fear is that someone will “Google” her and discover the false accusations.
Here is where I lost it with Anna. Rather than trust the new relationship she is developing with Parker, she actually does things in a way to make him more suspicious of her. For someone who has convinced herself that she can work through things, she essentially acts like an idiot. Then she can’t understand why he believes she could be the spy. What happened to the competent assistant here? Parker, too, acts rather than asks questions, but at least his reasoning is that he is trying to protect his company. He doesn’t want to believe the worst, but doesn’t want to be misled by his feelings either.
In the end, the author brings things back together in a way that makes me feel good about the pairing. She easily introduces the rest of the cast and sets up stories for at least two of the siblings. Her skill at writing keeps this story from plunging into the depths.
The CEO’s Scandalous Affair isn’t that scandalous and there are some major distractions at work. But ultimately, the romance delivers and story regains momentum and acceptability.