Despite the warnings that he would break her heart, Jayne Hughes fell for the bad boy. And Conrad Hughes, casino magnate, did just that with his absences and lies. Now she’s ready to move on, but her husband has other plans….
Conrad’s undercover work for Interpol destroyed his marriage. When Jayne comes to Monte Carlo seeking a divorce, he launches an all-out assault. Seducing his wife back into his bed is child’s play; earning her trust is another matter. Yet Conrad knows the odds favor the house. And he has no intentions of losing.
Why I read this book: Last year I read my first Catherine Mann book, a romantic suspense titled Cover Me, loved it, and immediately read the rest of the Elite Force series. When I saw this new title from Mann available earlier this year as an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) from NetGalley, I was excited. Even if I hadn’t already been a fan of the author, the blurb would have sold me with the idea of Monte Carlo and romance within a marriage!
I was also curious to read a category romance, which this is, because it’s not the romance format I usually go for.
And boy was Conrad sexy! The debonair casino-owning, opera-going, secret agent thing really worked for me.
The best surprise was the locale change about halfway through the book, to the plains of Africa. From the private compound with a panic room to the wildlife gathering at the waterhole out back and a nearby hospital for poor villagers, I felt transported. The flipside is that I was really excited about the Monte Carlo setting mentioned in the blurb, yet despite that the first half of the book was set there, I didn’t feel that it came alive as a unique setting, instead feeling like a fairly typical glamorous area.
I wasn't a fan of the wishy-washy love–leave tug of war, though. There was such a focus on the emotional turmoil that I sometimes found myself bored, wishing for more variety to drive the story. I didn’t always buy into the reasons for why the characters couldn’t come to terms with their pasts and with each other, and why they'd kept certain secrets from each other for so long. Then again, I have to remind myself that this is precisely the confines of category romance, so this comes down to my personal preference.
The biggest disappointment for me personally was the lackluster ending in regards to the semi-suspense element that drove the external portion of the plot. However, since All or Nothing is part of the Desire line from Harlequin, I can hardly fault the author for toning down this element since part of the parameters of the Desire line are that the stories not be classed as romantic suspense. Even still, the ending in regards to the external plot did feel rushed and convenient, which wasn't satisfying for me.
For my personal reading tastes I’d rank this book in the 3 star range, but for the type of book that it is, I think it’s well written and many readers would feel it was near perfect, hence my given rating of 4 stars. :)
Series: book 2 in the The Alpha Brotherhood
Publication: MMP and ebook from Harlequin Desire, January 1, 2013
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.