Last year I read the first of the Heirs of Damon series by Noelle Adams. Businessman Cyrus Damon has no children himself but he has four nephews. Brothers Harrison and Andrew Damon have their stories told in books 1 and 2, Seducing the Enemy and Playing the Playboy. Their cousin Jonathan is the hero of book 3, Engaging the Boss and there is another cousin Benjamin Damon, who I believe will be the hero of book 4, due out in summer 2014. I read books 2 and 3 of the series back to back, which worked really well actually, as some events in book 3 follow on from book 2. Here are my thoughts on the series so far.
Please note, for those who prefer to avoid them, that all these books contain sex scenes.
Seducing the Enemy begins with Marietta, who has an interesting back-story, having spent a number of years in a wheelchair after being involved in a car crash as a child. Following several surgeries she has now recovered, and after so many years she wants to live her life to the full, and has come to a club to see if she can attract a man...
Harrison is checking the facilities at a club his family owns when a sexy blonde catches his eye. He really shouldn't let himself get distracted, as he'll need to keep his wits about him for the following day, when he'll be meeting to try and agree a settlement for a long-running legal battle with his uncle's former business partner for a long-ago car crash...
Marietta is sweet, genuine, and amusing, although a bit too nice. Harrison is a bit too alpha-male some of the time for my taste, but he seemed nice enough when he wasn't being an arse, either generally, or specifically towards Marietta because of his misinterpretation of her motives. Marietta doesn't appear to hold a grudge at all and she forgives him much more readily than he deserves!
There were a number of instances of behaviour that I didn't really feel was plausible and although the author provides explanation I still didn't see some things as being likely to happen. Also, I'd have liked there to be more of a basis for their feelings for each other, aside from their chemistry, to see their relationship develop, as I felt that it happens too quickly. Aside from these quibbles, I found this book to be an enjoyable quick read.
In Playing the Playboy we meet Laurel who is in a bad situation; she is a widow who didn’t have the best upbringing, and was managing the bar in a seedy strip joint when she met an older man who she fell in love with. After they married he gave her a hotel in Greece. This was about the only good thing he did for her – over the time of their marriage she lost one illusion after another about him and he ended up bankrupt after his debts caught up with him. Now he is dead and the Damons are saying that her hotel belongs to them. Since Cyrus Damon isn’t speaking to his blue eyed boy Harrison, he’s sent Andrew Damon, a notorious playboy, in his brother’s stead to try and sort out the dispute amicably. Laurel has done her homework on Andrew and, desperate not to lose her home and her livelihood, she has decided on a dishonourable course of action, which is to seduce Andrew, get it caught on CCTV and blackmail him with the evidence.
I really wondered if I could like Laurel at all after an introduction like that but it really is desperation that has brought her to this point and she isn’t anywhere near as heartless as her plan suggests. Andrew ends up staying at the hotel and it brings Laurel some conflict because she keeps feeling like she should be manipulating the situation to her advantage but she genuinely likes Andrew and is very strongly attracted to him. Andrew is similarly conflicted – he really wants to prove his mettle to his uncle and close out this situation advantageously for the company while on the other hand he finds himself believing that Laurel may have been dealt a bad hand here and feeling sympathetic towards her.
Both Andrew and Laurel are likeable protagonists and they fit together very nicely. Both of them feel unworthy to an extent, her because of her background (although she has done nothing wrong, just tried to make the best of the hand that life has dealt her) and him because he doesn’t knuckle down to anything and doesn’t feel respected. She is very bad at allowing people to help her, but she is forced to accept his help on more than one occasion which is good for them both, as she comes to see that she doesn’t need to only rely on herself, and he finds himself in the novel position of having somebody trust in him. This story is set largely on a Greek island and I thought a few times while I read it that it would make an excellent holiday sun-lounger read. It’s a very easy to read romance and I enjoyed it very much. This is book 2 in the Heirs of Damon series and though Harrison and Marietta from Seducing the Enemy play a part in this story you could read this one as stand alone.
Engaging the Boss is book 3 in the Heirs of Damon series and tells the story of Harrison and Andrew’s cousin, Jonathan Damon, who is a genetic scientist. His uncle, Cyrus, has funded Jonathan’s research lab, which has been of huge advantage to Jonathan, meaning that he’s been able to do the research purely independently rather than having to worry about commercial bias and keeping the sponsors happy. However, Cyrus has decided that Jonathan needs to settle down and the lab is taking too much of his focus, so he makes the despotic decision to cut the funding unless Jonathan pays more attention to his personal life. Panicked, Jonathan blurts out that he has recently become engaged. He is overheard in this phonecall by his assistant Sarah, who is devastated by this news because she’s been madly in love with him for some time. Jonathan confesses his lie to Sarah, and she offers to pose as his fiancée for a week-long visit to his family and to attend his cousin Harrison’s wedding.
I love, love, love the fake fiancée trope, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and I really enjoyed this book; it’s probably my favourite of this series so far. Of course we know from the outset what is likely to happen between the protagonists, but the fun is in the journey. Sarah is a really nice heroine. She has worked closely with Jonathan for the past few years, but she knows that somebody that gorgeous couldn’t be interested in her because she doesn’t feel that she’s attractive enough to tempt him. She also doesn’t want to endanger her job, which she loves. Jonathan was such a loveable male lead, most definitely not the alpha male type, but a sweet geek who doesn’t believe that people will love him as he is, but that he has to earn their love. His parents were very disinterested in him, and he found the only way he could get positive attention from them was through achieving well in school. His parents died when he was still a child and he was put under the guardianship of Cyrus. He never felt like he fitted in with his cousins and uncle, and feels like he doesn’t matter to his family.
Jonathan is very much the type of person who shows his love rather than expresses it, for example he does thoughtful things for Sarah such as keeps her desk stocked with mints he knows she likes and fixing her chair after hours without expecting thanks. However when he tries to express things with words he just clams up:
“You look...” She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He swallowed. “Fine.”
Sarah obviously finds this very frustrating!
She wanted to hit him and take care of him both. It was a very disorienting feeling.
I could completely understand where she was coming from. To secure his lady Jonathan must first understand that he wants her, that he is worthy of her love, and be willing to get out of his comfort zone to make sure she knows it before it’s too late.
This is book 3 of the series and although the couples from books 1 and 2, Seducing the Enemy and Playing the Playboy appear, the story is stand alone. I think you’d probably get more from it if you’ve read the others too, but you wouldn’t be lost by any means if you just read this one. We have a very interesting introduction to the other heir of Damon, the black sheep of the family, Benjamin Damon, who I think will have his story told in the next book, due out in summer 2014, and I’m certainly intrigued to read it.