This story fascinated me from the very beginning and once I started this story, it held on until I reached the very end. This was a love story full of intrigue, twists and turns. This book had moments of sweetness, only to be countered with moments of confrontation. There were revelations that made my mouth drop, and under all of that were two people that managed to find all that they needed in each other. Still before Beth and Raph could find their happiness, these two would have to struggle through isolation, fears, and lies. An epic game of chess with hearts at stake.
I loved every single minute of it.
Beth Dreymon has her heart set on the law. It has been a dream even though the cost of her education has almost drained her. When she’s presented an opportunity to earn enough money to get through the final moments of school before the bar exam, it seems to good to be true. What man wants someone to come to his house only to play a game of chess and then pay so much money for the chance? The story only gets more complex when Beth’s opponent is none other than the elusive and very sexy Raphael North.
Raph is sexy. Smart. A strategist and technological genius. He’s given his money to charity and lent his name to worthy causes. But he’s a man with deep secrets, eccentricities and needs. He needs company in his ivory tower. He needs the touch of a woman – a real woman who will see Raph for Raph. From the moment he he sees Beth standing in the anteroom to his home, he is moved by her. She stands up to him. She calls him out on his mess and she doesn’t let the fact that he’s Raphael North change the way she plays chess. He wants her and the relationship builds. A slow burn, yes, but there is no denying the chemistry that these two have. Soon, she wants him wants more from the shuttered billionaire. As much as Raphael knows he needs to stay away from the young up and coming lawyer, he can’t shake her, but Raph’s past will make a future between the couple very, very difficult.
This book is not for everyone. The story line is complex. It’s not Callie’s typical story. That’s what makes this story so unique. This isn’t the normal Seth, Rebel, Michael book. This isn’t even Calico. This is dark, unexpected and uncomfortable. This is twisty, topsy turvy and edgy. I kept reading because I wanted to see the end and while I hoped so much for a happily ever after, I would have accepted this book even if there wasn’t one. This book was an incredible read.
Law student Beth Dreymon is out of money and struggling hard. If she wants to finish her degree, she’s going to have to earn some money and fast. When she learns of an exciting opportunity—playing chess with New York’s most elusive billionaire—the offer sounds too good to be true. Reassured the offer is legit, Beth gets her game face on and prepares to geek out…
Only, when she steps foot into Raphael North’s luxurious penthouse, the rulebook goes flying out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. North is beautiful and damaged—a terrible temptation—and he has his sights set on winning Beth over. He’s just a job, though. A job Beth needs in order to make ends meet. If she plans on making her life in New York work, she needs to keep her eye on the prize. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, however, and it isn’t long before Beth finds herself entangled in Raphael’s world of dark desire.
Beth should run from the devastatingly attractive blue-eyed devil, but Mr North has other ideas…and he’s about to make his next move.
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Raphael North stands on the other side of the abnormally thick glass. He’s dressed in a plain dark blue t-shirt, and a pair of washed out blue jeans. His feet are completely bare. His hair is even darker than it was in his picture, if that’s at all possible. Almost curly, too. It’s then that I realize it’s wet—he must have just gotten out of the shower. There are small dark patches on his t-shirt where water has obviously soaked through the material.
He turns those startling vivid green eyes on me and I’m breathless all over again. It feels like I’m tumbling over some steep cliff face, a weightless sensation turning my stomach over as I fall. Inside, I’m back to wanting to flee the building. Externally, I’m praying to deities of faiths and religions all over the world that I don’t look like I’m about to slump in an unconscious mess on the floor right in front of him. My top lip begins to twitch—something that only happens when I’m really, really anxious. Without thinking, I press my fingertips to my mouth, as if I can put a halt to the twitching by touch alone. A strange look passes over Raphael’s face. A slight movement at the corner of his mouth. I can’t decide if it’s displeasure or amusement. Either way, the reaction is fleeting, barely noticeable at all, and then his face is a blank mask again. He places his hand on a curved silver handle on the other side of the door, and then pulls it toward him, opening it. There are no barriers now. Nothing standing between myself and a man whispered and gossiped about by an entire city. Screw that, an entire nation. I’m in an enviable position right now, but I’d gladly thank the universe if the ground opened up and swallowed me whole.
The first words Raphael North speaks to me will haunt me until the day I die. He angles his head ever so slightly to one side, then says, “Your toenail polish is chipped, Ms. Dreymon.”
Lord have mercy. His voice is deep but soft. It has no hard edges, but at the same time his tone is overflowing with self-confidence and command.
“I’m sorry, I…wasn’t aware of your no-shoe policy.”
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Callie Hart is a USA Today bestselling author of dark romance novels. She is an obsessive romantic who loves throwing a dark twist into her stories. Her characters are imperfect, flawed individuals who dictate when she eats, sleeps and breathes. She loves to travel, and often pens her books when she’s on the road, drawing inspiration from her often unique and wild surroundings.
If she’s not writing, you’ll undoubtedly find her with her nose buried deep in a book, or binge watching Game of Thrones.
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