Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Order of Protection by Lexi Blake

A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

Win Hughes has it all, or so it seems. She's the poster child for the poor little rich girl. Orphaned at a young age when her parents’ boat sunk during a storm, she was the sole survivor and the heir to their fortune. Taken in by her uncle and raised by a nanny, Win's childhood wasn't terrible. She didn't haven't the typical two parent household, but she knew she was loved.

A mistake in her 20s and a turn on reality TV led to a stay at a state of the art rehab facility in Sweden to help her combat anorexia. Being back in the states, her friends are pressuring her to return the reality TV world and she knows if she goes back down that path, her health will suffer.

Henry Garrison had it all. He was an outstanding attorney who prided himself on being the best. Until he married an actress and lost everything, including his pride and his sobriety. Now, struggling with his sobriety, he's on Martha's Vineyard to pack up his grandparents’ home and make a fresh start in New York with two new law partners.

A chance meeting with Win and there's something about her that pulls to him. Henry doesn't know about her past and she's happy to keep it that way. She knows that if she tells him who she is, he will walk away from her because he doesn't want anything to do with Hollywood life, even if the connection is tangible. Their brief affair over, they part ways.

A horrible crime is committed, and Win is accused of murder. The only person who can save her is Henry but once he finds out that Win lied to him, he wants no part of representing her.

I enjoyed this book, but I think the relationship between Henry and his partners could have been fleshed out a little more to set up the next book in the series.

This is beguiling romantic suspense full of secrets and unpredictable twists. An affair between a disgraced New York lawyer and a society queen in hiding becomes something more when he is hired to defend her against a murder charge.

Part Gossip Girl and part Suits, this is a story of high society family alliances, complicated legal wranglings, and far too many long-held secrets. To clear Win, Henry and his legal team must find the actual murderer. The mystery aspect of this story is genuinely frightening at times. I loved the dropped clues and there are a few brilliant action scenes at the end.

While the murder investigation was exciting and well plotted, I didn’t love the romance in the story. There were too many implausible moments where Win was willing to compromise the investigation because of a crush. And for a lawyer trying to reestablish his reputation, Henry’s feelings for Win completely jeopardise his professional standing.

I usually love Lexi Blake’s women, but Win is easily the least interesting heroine I’ve read by this author. The former reality TV star is nice but she’s also too passive and too helpless for my liking. Henry feels like a compilation of several alpha male tropes and he is far too young for half of his life story to be believable.

I’m a longtime fan of Lexi Blake’s urban fantasy books but this is my first contemporary romantic thriller. And honestly, I prefer Blake’s urban fantasy. While I enjoyed the murder mystery/thriller aspects of this book, I struggled with some of the contemporary romance tropes. Win is a much more vulnerable and needy character than Zoey in the Thieves books or Kelsey in the Hunter stories. I get that the character development across a single novel was never going to be as effective as it is with characters developed across a series. And I get that urban fantasy allows for powerful female characters who can be so much more than typical contemporary romance heroines. So, my reaction is just preference. This is an exciting and well-crafted romantic suspense story but it lacks the depth I love in Blake’s urban fantasy.

Anyone who has read a Lexi Blake book before will be delighted to know that this is the start of another great series! With a few nods to previous series, which I think keep us loyal followers happy and secures the novel in a time and place, we are straight into the drama from page one.

I loved the two leads and their issues, which ensure we see them as humans first and as what they own and have done second. Their addictions may be very different, but they somehow make them perfect for each other... but I get ahead of myself, this is not an easily tied up romance. This is gritty, difficult, and intense. There is danger, intrigue, and a real legal mystery to solve, let alone the consequences following on from omitting the small issue of one's identity. Not as complicated as the Masters and Mercenaries series – crime more than espionage – but definitely a page turner with lots of indications of new storylines being in our future – I cannot wait.

Blake has a wonderfully flowing and enticing writing style, nearly as smooth as her leading men, and as intense as her strong, leading women. There are a number of great side characters here, which I am looking forward to meeting again.

Lexi Blake is the New York Times bestselling author of the Courting Justice novels, including Order of Protection, the Lawless novels, including Ruthless, Satisfaction, and Revenge, and the Masters and Mercenaries series, including Love Another Day, For His Eyes Only, and Submission is Not Enough. She is also coauthor with Shayla Black of the Perfect Gentlemen series, including Big Easy Temptation and Seduction in Session, and the Masters of Ménage series, including Their Virgin Mistress and Their Virgin Secretary.

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Berkley Romance

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Order of Protection (Courting Justice #1) by Lexi Blake to read and review.

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