Title: Knave of Hearts
Author: Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Amber Allure
Characters: Elijah Gentry, Nathaniel Diamond
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Nathaniel Diamond, head of a corporate restructuring consultancy firm, is as hard as his last name suggests when it comes to sealing the deal. In his personal life, broken hearts are nothing more than collateral damage, and business is his sole priority. Until, that is, he meets his new client’s right-hand man, Elijah Gentry.
Elijah returned home to Seattle out of love and respect for his guardian, Charles Ballard, head of Ballard Holdings Worldwide, who is dying. Charles hired Nathaniel to help secure his financial legacy, and Elijah is expected to aid him. Although Elijah has a grasp of the business, his true passion lies in Los Angeles with his sound editing career, not with Ballard Holdings. Eventually, he plans to return to L.A., away from the world of high finance and dog-eat-dog corporate politics.
When Elijah and Nathaniel first meet, they are strangers. Well, almost. Nathaniel knows Elijah’s type, and he plans to use the man to get intimate and necessary information Elijah might not share otherwise in order to do his job. But Elijah is not quite the easy target Nathaniel expects, and soon the games begin.
Sex and power quickly tangle in this high-stakes game of corporate politics. Will either man emerge heart-whole from their encounter? Or does destiny have another set of plans for these two very different men?
The blurb covers the plot well enough. Elijah has put his personal dreams aside to tend to his dying guardian, Charles, whose business is a legacy that also need tending. Charles has called in Nathaniel, a heartless expert who has a head for business. Since Elijah is close to Charles, Nathaniel sets out to find out where Elijah’s loyalties lie. And he’s not above using sex to learn the truth.
The problem with this so-called romance is that I didn’t get Nathaniel’s attraction. He’s a cold-hearted dickhead through most of the story, and Elijah means nothing but a desirous target for him. I didn’t want Elijah to get together with Nathaniel, but to slug him and walk away. The attraction made no sense to me. And when Nathaniel had his epiphany and turn of heart, it was so soon and for a man he didn’t really know. And… no matter what the blurb suggests, there’s not much sex here.
Despite the above mysticism, the characterization is done well. Both men, and the side characters of Charles and Gloria, stand out as their own personalities. There’s basically nothing wrong with the story except for the short length which didn’t allow these people to develop together as a couple, not even as prospective daters. The plot moves along well enough, the pace matching the shortness of the novella. The writing is solid and effective, with no major problem areas.
So, all in all, a good book, worth the read. Where I saw a weird lack of a true emotional connection, someone else can see strong chemistry and sexual tension with a frustrating but endearing character. This is a novella, so do check it out for yourselves. Just because I wasn’t taken with the hero doesn’t mean you won’t.
Reviewed By: Susan