Author: Pamela Burford
Publisher: Radical Poodle Press
Release Date: April 2017
Length: 197 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Snowed in with a billionaire! A fun contemporary romance novel brimming with secrets, witty banter, and surprising twists.
The last thing wealthy photographer James Bradburn expects when he turns in after his surprise birthday party is to find a beautiful woman asleep in his bed. The last thing Leah Harmony expects after succumbing to exhaustion during the party is to find herself stranded with the yummy birthday boy at his isolated Gold Coast mansion. A record blizzard has trapped them together for days on end.
Leah guards a stunning secret as she struggles to resist their mutual attraction. Of all the men in the world, James is the last one she should even think of that way! Little does she suspect he harbors a secret of his own.
This book contained a plot line I have never encountered before. At least, I’m pretty sure. Trying to rack my brain and coming up with nothing. However, the plot revolves around a subject that turns most people’s stomachs: incest. The plot was very predictable and lacking. It needed much more development, as did the characters.
Leah is a young, in her early 20s, and has worked hard to open her own business, Southern Grits. She is rather mature for her age, educated, and has a wealth of compassion. She is left reeling in the very beginning after discovering a heart-stopping, revealing secret about her parents and her older sister, who conveniently died on the same day she was born. Immediately she heads to the Gold Coast Mansion where both her parents worked many years before. She plans to confront a man there. She convinces an art gallery owner to bring her as his date to a birthday party at Gold Coast.
Everything from here goes downhill for Leah. She’s laid a perfect plan – in terms of getting to the mansion – and that’s about it. She quickly discovers the birthday is not for the man she believed. Instead, it is his son. Then her date turns into a sleazeball and tries to rape her upstairs. She winds up locking herself in a room. No surprise whose room it is.
Leah is harboring MANY secrets, not just one, all tied to her identity. James Bradburn is a reknowned photographer and enjoying his big birthday bash – especially when he finds a beautiful Leah in his bed after sending all the partygoers home because of the impending blizzard. They are effectively snowed in. A perfect setting to build tension. In that respect, the book almost mirrors Perfect by Judith McNaught. Since there’s nowhere to run, the close proximity should lend itself to secrets being revealed, but Leah refuses to budge on her secrets and even outright lies at times to hedge the truth.
While snowed in, the two pretty people hook up after their physical chemistry. Then they are on “don’t let me see you” terms. Then Leah saves James and eventually the snow clears and she goes back home to take care of her business with her tail between her legs, ruminating on how stupid her plan was to just show up and abandoning her parents and her business partner without so much as a by your leave.
A strong sting of irony existed in the book in the fact that Leah expected honesty from James and was so deceitful herself. It was galling. Even though James’s lie revolved around being adopted (or not). Although his lie tied to her lie, and the possibilities of their own relation, Leah was never upfront or honest with James in any way. To throw herself into a snit over his dishonesty is laughable. A good “cover” and excuse to continue to hide her lies.
James oozes sex appeal, but he has a funny and caring side to his charisma. He’s also a very prideful man, and from the beginning, he sets his mind to the notion of Leah being one of “those” women trying to corral him. She so conveniently winds up in his bed to be snowed in together, so of course, that’s why she’s at Gold Mansion. James tries peeling back the layers of Leah while revealing his own. I felt more of James was revealed in this book than Leah.
All of the characters needed more depth and development. They were very flat and predictable characters. There was chemistry between Leah and James that started out strictly physical and it does slowly develop and build. Upon a tower of lies, but there is relationship development.
The concept of incest and Leah dreaming over James was stomach curdling. I knew there had to be some loophole to the whole situation, but it was too weird that Leah could even knowing what she knew.
The book was much too short – it felt more like a novella than a novel. Perhaps because it was largely underdeveloped in the characters and a strong, unpredictable plot line.
Pamela Burford comes from a funny family. You may take that any way you want. She was raised in a household that valued laughter above all, so of course the first thing she looked for in a husband was a sense of humor. Is it any wonder their grown kids are into stand-up comedy and improv? Oh, and here’s another fun family fact: Pamela’s identical twin sister, Patricia Ryan, aka P.B. Ryan, is also a published novelist. Patricia is the Good Twin, and yeah, Pamela knows what that makes her. But hey, Evil Twins have more fun!
It should come as no surprise that everything Pamela writes is infused with her own quirky brand of humor, from her feel-good contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels to her popular Jane Delaney mystery series, featuring snarky “Death Diva” Jane, her canine sidekick Sexy Beast, and a fun love-triangle subplot. Pamela’s own beloved poodle, Murray, wants you to know that any similarities between himself and neurotic, high-strung Sexy Beast are purely coincidental.
Pamela is the proud founder and past president of Long Island Romance Writers, Inc., a chapter of Romance Writers of America.