“The real reason we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post ‘Thou shalt not steal’, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’, and ‘Thou shalt not lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.” – George Carlin
Title: The Dangerous Seduction
Author: A.N. Bond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: With a beautiful, doting fiancée and a dream job at one of New York City’s top law firms, life is going well for ambitious but inexperienced attorney, Ryan Paullson. Handpicked by his new boss, Joseph Van Aardt, to work on the firm’s biggest case, Ryan soon finds himself out of his depth and struggling with a dangerous and irresistible attraction to the charismatic and ruthless Van Aardt—an attraction that seems mutual.
Ryan and Joseph begin a secret affair as they work to build their case against controversial billionaire Jack McNeil. As their affair heats up, Ryan starts to fear how far Joseph is willing to go to win the case, and when two critical witnesses die under suspicious circumstances, Ryan doesn’t know whether to suspect McNeil or his lover. He wants to be with Joseph; he just doesn’t know how far he’ll have to go–or how far he’ll have to fall–to hold onto him.
Review: A.N. Bond is a new author for me. Right out of the gate, I have to say that Ms. Bond managed to create a character who is exceptionally difficult to like. And I wanted to like him! Joseph is very much a mercurial personality. He holds a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other. He is hard to read. Not in the words sense, but his moral fiber and motivations are hard to pin down. Just when you think you know Joseph Van Aardt and what his impetus is, Ms. Bond turns your belief on its head and you have to try to figure him out all over again.
When newly minted lawyer Ryan Paullson is short-listed for a job at a top New York law firm, it seems like a dream come true. He will get to work at the firm where one of the rock stars of the legal field works. He and his fiancée are thrilled when he is handpicked by said rock star, Joseph Van Aardt.
Ryan finds himself strongly sexually attracted to Joseph, whose changeable personality makes it difficult to read his feeling at any given time. Joseph does make it clear that he is equally attracted to Ryan, and they begin a hot and heavy office romance that must be kept secret at all costs. My first thought was, here is a lawsuit in the making. A named partner having sex with a junior associate? Not a great idea.
The case that Ryan and Joseph are working is a lawsuit brought against controversial billionaire, Jack McNeil. McNeil is accused of misappropriating funds from his employees’ retirement accounts and insider trading. He has already been found not-guilty in a criminal trial, so Ryan and Joseph have an uphill battle on their hands.
As their work together brings them closer, Ryan begins to wonder just how far Joseph will go to win. Joseph is able to charm his way into Ryan’s heart and convince him that the suspicious deaths of witnesses are the doing of Jack McNeil and his people. It seems Joseph is able to pin anything and everything on McNeil.
Ryan allows his feelings for Joseph to cloud his judgment and render his intelligence useless. Ryan wants to be with Joseph so badly that he believes whatever Joseph says. Until he doesn’t. The case becomes personal for Ryan in ways that could never have been predicted. Although it seems that perhaps Joseph was able to predict them. And perhaps Ryan was hired not because of his qualifications as an attorney but because of his hidden ties to the case. Ties of which he was completely unaware.
How much Joseph knew when he hired Ryan, and his motivation for doing so, are questions Ryan inevitably begins to ask himself and eventually, Joseph. Ryan wants to win the case. He wants to be with Joseph. But he doesn’t want to break the law he has sworn to uphold. And he doesn’t want to be in bed with someone who does.
It becomes a deep internal dilemma for Ryan. He doesn’t know who to trust or believe anymore. Nothing is as it appeared months ago when he was hired for what he thought was his dream job. A.N. Bond adroitly takes us along inside Ryan’s thought process and his disillusionment as he uncovers just how deeply he is personally involved in the case. Not just as a lawyer but as a man. He is torn up by disappointment in everyone around him and really doesn’t feel like he knows Joseph at all.
The Dangerous Seduction is a fast-paced, thrilling read. There are a lot of loose ends left when the book is finished. I cannot wait for a sequel to tie them up. I certainly hope there is a sequel in the works, or I will be forced to stalk this great new author until I find out what happened after the last page. Picture Misery without the hobbling. I’m not cruel, just a little crazed! And I highly recommend this book.