Title: The Contract
By: Melanie Moreland
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
A tyrant by day, a playboy by night. That is the reputation that precedes Richard VanRyan. He lives life the way he wants, no concern for the opinion of others. He cares for no one, is completely unrepentant, and he has no desire to change his ways.
Katharine Elliott works under Richard as his PA. She despises him and his questionable ethics, but endures all the garbage he sends her way, because she needs the job. Her end goal is far more important than the daily abuse and demands she tolerates from her nasty tyrant of a boss.
Until the day, he asks her for something she never expected. A new role with a personal contract — fiancée instead of PA.
What happens when two people who loathe each other, have to live together and act as though they are madly in love?
That’s what happens.
Can the power of love really change a person?
Will they survive the contract?
What do you do when the one person you hate the most becomes the one person you can’t live without?
This is my favourite of Melanie Moreland’s stories to date, which came as some surprise to me based on the beginning of the story.
There’s no other way to say it. When we meet Richard VanRyan, he’s a dick. I can’t remember encountering a bigger tool in fiction. Everybody I know who’s read this book loves to hate him. And why not? He picks on his powerless employee. Nasty piece of work.
But is he really an a—hole, or is he just protecting his heart in colossally inappropriate ways?
He refuses to look at the feelings of others. He doesn’t exactly thrive on their misery. Rather, he chooses to be miserable himself. It’s his way of maintaining separation and it totally fails to do him (or anybody else) any personal good.
Enter Katy. She’s not your typical heroine. Many readers mistake her for a doormat but Katy is anything but. She’s between a rock and a hard place. She can’t afford to lose her job but she doesn’t kowtow to VanRyan, either. She’s counting the days until she can leave, but something much more interesting happens, and that’s where the author’s command of character is best revealed.
Katy doesn’t have to be nasty to get control over her boss. What a revolutionary idea. Kindness and self-control actually pay off. She doesn’t need to be vindictive, mean-spirited or loud, she just behaves maturely. Holy cow. That doesn’t make her weak, it makes her a grown up.
I may actually fangirl.
The relationship of convenience that turns into love is not a new trope. Neither is redemption. But wow, when it’s done right, it’s a beautiful thing.
I love Katy’s display of quiet strength and Richard’s contrition. I adore Penny. I loved the slow build and watching Richard VanRyan wake up to his responsibilities and his various personal debts (which are emotional, not monetary). Plus, there’s a moment in this book that just wrecked me. I actually contacted the author and told her she made me ugly cry. She was worried that was a bad thing. It’s not. I love it when an author provokes an honest emotional reaction. We don’t see enough of that these days.
Five stars and a request for more stories like this.
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/216mCfV
I tilted my head. “I apologize. I’ll try to do better. Is there anything else you want since we’re putting everything on the table?”
She hesitated, her fingers worrying the ugly shirt she wore.
“Spit it out.”
“You can’t, um, you can’t mess around while we’re doing . . . while we’re together.”
She looked everywhere but at me. “You can’t sleep with other women. I won’t be humiliated like that.”
“So what you’re saying is: I can’t fuck anyone?”
Her cheeks were so red I thought her head would explode; however, she straightened her shoulders and looked right at me. “Yes.”
This was too fun for me.
“Yes, I can fuck around?”
“No fucking,” I enunciated the last word.
“You expect me to remain celibate the whole time?” I asked, now incredulous.
“I will be, so I expect you to do the same.”
I snorted. “I doubt it’s anything new for you.”
She threw up her hands. “That’s it. You want to fuck someone? Go fuck yourself, VanRyan.”
Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-six-plus years. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.
Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works at a local university and for its football team. Her job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.
While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.
Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.
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