Book/Author and Year Published: The Deceit Duet by Logan Chance (2019)
Age/Genre: Contemporary Romance
Preferred Reading Environment: A jacuzzi (just don’t splash on your book)!
Reading Accoutrements: Champagne, candles, and some mood music
Content Notes: Kidnapping, Blackmail
I’ve been had, reader! Tricked, duped, swindled, bamboozled, deceived even! I “purchased” Bride, the first book in The Deceit Duet by Logan Chance, for free on Amazon Kindle. By the time I was hooked, I realized that this was not going to be a standalone romance. I would have to buy Groom to find out what happens to the characters…so, of course, I did. Luckily, Groom was only $2.99, so I’m only a little bitter…
The Deceit Duet is about Clementine Bright, a cake decorator and single mother who is stuck. She hopes to one day open her own cake shop, but has no plans in place to make that happen. Her life is normal and mundane until she receives a letter from Joseph Prince, a billionaire that her father worked as a groundskeeper for when she was younger. Joseph Prince recently died and he dictated in his will that his grandson, Gabriel, had to marry Clementine in order to inherit the family business (a ridiculously antiquated idea). Clementine remembers Gabriel Prince from her visits to her father at work when she was a teenager. She has no interest in marrying the man, who is now a complete stranger to her and as entitled as his meddling grandfather.
From the moment he received the letter from his grandfather, Gabriel Prince had his lawyers looking for a way around Joseph Prince’s dictates. The best he could find was a small loophole – he had to marry Clementine Bright, but they only need to be married for a year for him to inherit the company. When Gabriel proposes a trade – a year of marriage for a ten million dollar settlement – Clementine is forced to consider the proposal. Ten million dollars would pay for her son’s future.
As plans for the wedding commence, Gabriel and Clementine quickly realize that someone powerful opposes this union. Gabriel’s long-time nemesis in business, Bishop Blackstone, has been sending threats to the couple, but the two continue to go through with plans for the wedding. It soon becomes apparent that Blackstone doesn’t just want to stop the wedding to thwart Gabriel’s inheritance – he wants Clementine.
One thing I really appreciated in this duet was Gabriel’s story arc. Gabriel starts out in the books as a loner, an entitled billionaire who considers himself not-quite-mafia (because he does some illegal things to ensure his deals go through and his business is successful, but he hasn’t killed anyone). He “needs” control over all aspects of his life, so when his grandfather dictates that Gabriel must marry Clementine, he is unenthusiastic; she’s a poor nobody with a 4-year-old and she makes cakes for a living – not the type he would choose for himself. Gabriel also judges the Hell out of his older brother, Ronin, for his partying and philandering ways; he says repeatedly that he will not continue to support his brother’s bad habits once he inherits control of the company.
At the beginning of their arrangement, Gabriel tries to exert control over Clementine however he can. He uses everything from sex to money to try to control her. It becomes apparent that Clementine will not be bought, so the only way to get her to go along with his plans is to explain them. He makes adjustments accordingly and the two start to get along and grow to like each other, little by little. Gabriel eventually even connects to her son so well that Clementine starts to imagine a future as a family.
Clementine, on the other hand, doesn’t really have an arc. She is an independent single mother with a tragic past and she just gets dragged around from one place to another by rich men who use her to get what they want. That’s it. That’s her role. She tries to make sure that she is morally in the right – she says that she won’t be bought, at one point – but she also allows herself to be manipulated into certain decisions – she later says that she might not be bought, but she could be rented for a year.
Despite the fact that Clementine came across rather flat, I was engaged by the suspense that Blackstone’s character brought to the story. I wanted to know Clementine’s secrets and find out what Blackstone wants from Clementine; I wanted to see Gabriel and Clementine and her son safe from Blackstone’s machinations. If you like simple contemporary romantic suspense (and don’t mind the occasional dated trope), The Deceit Duet is an easy and affordable read.
Have you ever been tricked into buying a book that turned out to be worth it?