Once upon a time, there was a girl who dressed up and went to a big party at the palace. When she was there, she met a prince. They danced and fell in love…
Damn good line. Too bad I don’t believe a word of it anymore.
My name is Claire Montgomery, and I’m not a princess. I’m a fighter. I worked hard to earn my place on the emergency image repair team for one of the biggest public relations companies in the country. We’ve been called to the renowned Chicago headquarters of Stone Global Corporation, where it’s our job to clean up a heap of the Stone family’s filthiest laundry. Our success will be the biggest victory of my career. I’m on my game. I’m ready.
Why doesn’t ready include a contingency plan for Killian Stone?
Claire Montgomery is a 26 year old data member of a well-known PR company, Asher & Associates based in San Diego. Her company works to fix the images of high profile clients and the newest one is a member of the Stone family in Chicago. Her boss is her soon-to-be stepmother, Andrea Asher, and her daughter, Margaux Asher, is a key social media member of the same team.
The description of the novel describes Claire as a fighter and not a princess, but I didn’t really see much fighter in her aside from some bickering as she tries to stay away from Killian. She has her reasons for not wanting to be with him and she “fights” her feelings for him. However, she mainly is a pushover when it comes to everything else as she’s fearful of negative impacts on her career. I wished she stood up more for herself overall and worked a little harder about being the best that she could be in her job as it felt like she never put in a ton of time into her work considering she was supposed to be driven by the desire to do well in her career.
Killian Stone is the youngest child of the Stone family and CEO of Stone Global Corporation. His brother Trey has royally made a mistake in a sexual encounter that became public and the reason Claire’s PR Emergency Image Repair team was hired. He also has a secret that he’s not a biological member of the Stone family and he must work to maintain this secret. I’m not sure if this will be a larger deal in the future novels as it seemed to be a forgotten plot piece in this novel (this is a series where this couple are featured in the next so it could be addressed in those books).
Before entering the Stone building, Margaux has called “dibs” on Killian and threatens to expose Claire’s secrets if Claire tries to pursue anything with Killian (even before they meet). Claire must, therefore, fight her initial attraction as Killian turns out to be much more charming and handsome than she expected. Killian feels an insane attraction to Claire and must try and get her to see that they should pursue a relationship.
The two characters have crazy sexual chemistry and lust after each other, but it took a long time before I sensed any substance between the two. Even by the end, I felt that this couple’s connection wasn’t fully formed as they desired each other, but didn’t seem to find a lot of common ground. As their relationship builds, it would be nice to see some substance between them in book two. The points of view change between each main character which helps the reader determine what is going on through each of their heads at any given moment. This helped to give background to the characters and story and I enjoyed that both Killian and Claire got their “say” in what was occurring in the story.
Overall, I’m curious to see how Claire and Killian’s story officially turns out in the next novel, although, you could read this as a standalone as the ending is fairly conclusive. The Cinderella adaption portion is felt with Claire’s relationship between Andrea and Margaux, but I felt the “prince” portions were very forced as the moments are told to the reader rather than occurring naturally. The novel is fairly fast-paced and light-hearted which made for a fun and interesting read. Although it wasn’t quite the story I thought it would be, I’m still glad that I took a chance and read the first novel in this series.
**Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy to read. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**