Imprisoned by the Greek's Ring
There is a special skill in writing a Harlequin Presents novel. I’ve read enough bad ones to know when there is a diamond in the rough, and everything by Caitlin Crews is exactly that. So soapy it’ll slide off your Kindle, but never tipping into eye-rolling ridiculousness, and boasting grounded characters with depth. I dip in and out of this line, but a book by Ms. Crews always makes its way onto the TBR pile.
In this particular romp, Atlas Chariton is about to be released from prison. He’s been serving eleven years in a Massachusetts prison for the murder of British heiress Philippa Worth – a crime he did not commit. Now exonerated, he is ready to enact his elaborate revenge upon the Worth family. You see, before his jail time, he was the CEO of Worth Industries and had transformed their crumbling pile of an English estate from near ruins to an international tourist destination and his plan will catapult him right back into that seat. It will also ensure the total destruction of the family who put him away.
Orphan Lexi Haring, niece of Richard Worth – the current owner of the estate – was instrumental in Atlas’ conviction, having testified that she saw him at the scene of the crime all those years ago. Then a scared eighteen-year-old, Lexi now lives in a carriage house on the edge of the Worth estate and works for the family holdings. Her mother died of a drug overdose many moons ago, and when we meet Lexi she is grateful for her uncle’s largesse. Upon Atlas’ arrival, that’s the first thing to change. A final detail about Lexi that’s important before we get going: she’s been in love with Atlas for most of her life, but kind of hates that she still is. She’s also, as it happens, a virgin. Trope alert!
It turns out that Lexi’s uncle has been keeping all sorts of secrets from her, including that her mother’s death did not disinherit her from the family fortune the way she has been led to believe. Once that lie is revealed, other pieces of the house of cards come tumbling down. Lexi agrees to marry Atlas – I’d lean more towards coerced, but she does consent – to cement a final piece of both his revenge plot and her move to gain her inheritance, and the rest of the book is taken up in the process of moving them from pawns in Atlas’ game to a bona fide HEA.
This thing could have slid off the rails at about fourteen different points, but Ms. Crews keeps it tightly in line. The revelation of Lexi’s virginity is exactly in line with the characters she’s introduced us to – Atlas can’t fathom that Lexi is still a virgin and Lexi doesn’t want Atlas to know the strength of her attraction to him. The precipitating event of the main climax is soapy but believable, and how they hash out the Big Argument that is required in a Presents book fits completely. I bought into this world and enjoyed every minute of my time here.
The next time you’re looking for a read of this nature, I recommend you pick up Imprisoned by the Greek’s Ring. I think you’ll have as much fun as I did.