I received A Tangled Web by A. Claire Everward as a review copy from StoryOrigin and am thankful to them for the same. This book is an unputdownable romantic suspense.
A woman needs to disappear. A man must get his life back on track. They are both willing to pay the price.
“A superb tale of suspense spun together with intelligent characters, corporate espionage, and closely held secrets that will catch readers from the very first page! ” -In’DTale Magazine
Data expert Tess Andrews thought she was finally safe. All she wanted was to stay where she was, keep the job that she liked and the only friend she trusted. But an unexpected turn of events puts her in danger, and she has only three days to find a way out.
Billionaire businessman Ian Blackwell wants the gossip chasers to get out of his way. Besides the obvious disruption to his life, their recklessness also puts at risk a critical merger he is after, one that would put his company’s artificial intelligence arm at the forefront of technology.
With contract marriage their only resort, the two are trapped in a relationship full of disdain and mistrust. But when Ian is threatened, Tess has a choice to make. Protect herself, or help the man she married deal with an opponent who could destroy them both–and risk her secret being uncovered.
Facing an opponent who is always one step ahead of them, they must find a way to stop him before they pay the ultimate price.
A Tangled Web weaves a tale full of romance and suspense with characters who pull at your emotions and a wealth of twists and turns you can lose yourself in. A recommended read for fans of Nora Roberts, Robert Galbraith, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard.
If you like page-turning suspense and enjoy contemporary romance tinged with plenty of thrill, you’ll love A Tangled Web, the first novel in the Blackwell romantic suspense series!
Powerful, rich, and respected, Self-made Billionaire, Ian Blackwell is the darling of the Social media and being good-looking does not help. He is portrayed as a playboy by the media and that is one image he needs to kill because it would not help his businesses. So he asks his best friend and personal attorney, Robert Ashton, to hire him a wife, an ornamental wife, who should be socially adept, tasteful, intelligent to accompany him to the social functions, and the relationship would be strictly businesslike. He tells Robert that he trusts him with his choice, because he knows that Robert would find him a socialite who would be after his wealth, and he wpuld be left alone to do as he pleases, discreetly.
Ian is a ruthless and relenting, but also fair and relenting. His company IBH, Ian Blackwell Holdings is his sole focus. IBH, with its head office in San Francisco, makes companies that are not doing well its subsidiaries by buying them out. When he is in Denver in the process of such an acquisition, he is misled by his team to fire a key employee which is timely averted by Tess Andrews, Data Expert of that company. And Ian does not like it.
Unknown to them, Robert is watching this exchange and decides that Tess is the girl he is looking for to be Ian’s wife and goes through her background. She is an orphan, has no social life, no friends except her colleague, Jayden Rees and his wife, whose apartment she rents. She likes her privacy and prefers to read and is not active on social media and does not even own a television, so she knows nothing about Ian or Robert or the gossip.
Hiding his and his client’s identity, he approaches Tess and offers her a marriage of convenience with ‘his client’ and creates a marriage contract for the two of them after she agrees (because she wants to save Jayden from Ian’s wrath). And he keeps her identity from Ian, a secret, and introduces the two of them on the flight back to San Francisco. But, both Ian and Robert don’t know why she agrees.
Once she arrives at Ian’s home, she handles the social engagements well, much to the surprise of Ian who thinks that she is reserved. At home, they address each other as Mr and Mrs Blackwell (a clause in the contract) and maintain their independent lives. She gets along well with his domestic staff and also with Robert’s wife Muriel, but still she is inaccessible and untouchable. As time passes, Ian and Tess become friends and start liking each other’s company.
Ian also takes her help in business matters. And once while going through his spreadsheets, he realizes that someone is hacking into his business internally and tells Tess. She agrees to help him and the two of them start working side by side. And they are attracted to each other, though both of them do not want to acknowledge it.
So what happens next? Read the book and find out.
I enjoyed the story and loved how romance and suspense build side by side. The cover is so apt.
Initially, I found the book slow, what with descriptions of mergers, and then as the story moves, it picks up speed, so much so, that the book becomes unputdownable. The story flows smoothly and the twists and turns kept me hooked. I read till 2 in the morning, but then my Ipad had no battery left so I had to reluctantly put the book down, but I could not sleep as I really wanted to know what happened next.
The characters are so realistic, both of them have a past, which gradually is revealed. I really wanted to know about both Tess and Ian’s families and their early days. The feelings of the characters for each other become evident as the story progresses. The romance is slow and beautifully written. Secondary characters like Robert, Muriel and Graham have important parts to play in the story.
The suspense is such that I really wanted it to end soon, the stress was just too much. Though a lot of computer language is used, which I could not understand much, but still I loved how the author went about it step by step.
The scenes and some places are so well described that I could actually picturize them like the library, the apartment, the den, the office.
This is not a love story out and out, it is about friendship, trust, understanding and romance. The slowly simmering romance has been written very well.
This the first book I’ve read by the author and I plan to read more of her books. I would love to read the next books in the series. And this book can be read again.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free e-copy of the book from StoryOrigin in exchange for an honest review. I have nor received any monetary compensation for the same.