Behind their united front, they’re butting heads—and fighting their hearts.
Sophia Hamilton can’t believe her late stepfather split the family firm three ways. With her hard-earned master’s degree, she and her stepbrother, Allen, are perfectly capable of running the firm. Instead, she’s forced to share the reins with Dante Leone. The man who split her heart in two. Six years ago Sophia fell hard for Dante, but when he discovered she was a starry-eyed nineteen to his twenty-eight, he shut her out. Worse, Allen’s defection from the firm has left Dante with controlling interest.
Dante is having a tough time seeing Sophia as anything other than the woman who lied to him. Yet her resignation isn’t the moral victory he intended. He feels her absence deep in his heart—and the company plunges deeper into turmoil. Sophia returns on one condition: equal partnership all the way. But their redoubled efforts aren’t working. And soon it becomes clear someone is bent on destroying not only her stepfather’s legacy, but any chance of a future with Dante.
Warning: Contains a no-nonsense hero who thinks he can manage his heart as easily as he manages money, and the one woman capable of adjusting his risk tolerance for love.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
Although I read this book easily enough, I have to admit I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as I’d hoped. Most of that is down to the pacing – it’s all over the place. After the funeral and the reading of the will, complete with a nasty face off with Allen, the useless stepbrother, we jump forward to Sophia at the office thinking about how hard it is to work with Dante, moments before she overhears about her brother wanting to sell his share. Next thing we know Dante’s trying to get her to come back to the company.
Er… what? Firstly, it might have been nice to have seen some evidence of why working with Dante was such a terrible thing. I’ve no doubt he didn’t listen to her and made her job difficult, because he’s that kind of resentful guy, but we get nothing. Then to completely miss out on her leaving the company – or even her considering doing so, since the scene before showed how determined she was not to run away and let Dante or Allen win – was just disappointing. The rest of the book tends to follow suit, not bothering with any scene-setting or moments to think about what’s going on, instead it just jumps straight to the pivotal moments, robbing almost all of them of any impact or emotional resonance.
The romance didn’t much work for me either. The chemistry is lacking at times, contact comes out of nowhere and Dante’s whole reason for hating Sophia for so many years shows that he doesn’t deserve her. Then there’s the other side of the plot – the business woes and attacks on Sophia. This could have been so much more interesting, but thanks to the pacing that eradicated anything but the bare bones of the tale, deals are made out of nowhere, slimy threats seem to come to nothing, and the most obvious candidates for the crimes aren’t given a second thought. As for the end when everything comes out, that definitely needed something extra, as Sophia practically shrugs it off because Dante is there and hearts and flowers for evermore! Which… no, just no.
So, in all, this was disappointing. The story does have the potential to be good, but it’s just too sparse. I usually love an enemies to lovers/second chance tale, but I just couldn’t like this one.
The Business of Love is out September 8th.
Visit Anna James for more details.