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?
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.”
“Think of this as an opportunity. A lucrative one . . . A deal with the devil, if you want.”
Katherine “Katy” Elliott is in dire straights. So much so that when her boss, douchebag extraordinaire, Richard VanRyan offers her a ticket out of her financial troubles in exchange for participating in a sham romantic relationship, Katy has no choice but to sign on the dotted line.
Poor Katy — she’s had a tough life, but it hasn’t broken her — yet. Her job at the advertising firm, Anderson, Inc., is the only thing keeping her afloat and to that end, Katy is the model employee. She cannot afford to lose this job. Unfortunately, she’s been reassigned to be the new assistant to Richard VanRyan – a job so odious that the company pays Katy a premium over her standard salary. How bad can this guy be?
Meet Richard VanRyan. Handsome and wealthy with a reputation as a love ‘em and leave ‘em playboy, Richard is a rising star in the advertising universe. Infuriated when passed over for a partnership at Anderson, Richard decides to take his talents elsewhere but advertising firms in Victoria, B.C. are not plentiful. The only other company in town worthy of his genius is The Gavin Group — a first class, straight-up family owned firm that openly embraces family values. Richard realizes that getting into the door of The Gavin Group will require that he clean up his playboy act immediately.
Hell bent on sticking it to his boss at Anderson while at the same time scoring points with his prospective employers at Gavin, Richard comes up with the idea to stage his exit from Anderson as one necessitated by a deep love for his assistant, Katy. You see, Anderson, Inc. has a strict “no fraternization” policy that is fully enforced, regardless of stature within the Company. It’s a win-win for Richard — all he has to do is get his doormat of an assistant, Katy, on board. Good luck with that, buddy . . . .
Since Katy has been Richard’s assistant, he’s tried everything to get her to quit — he can’t stand her. Richard makes no secret the level of contempt he has for Katy — she’s dowdy, a spineless creature that he bullies at will. (Here one must credit author Melanie Moreland in creating, with an economy of words, such a despicable character in Richard that this reader feels the need to caution other readers to consider purchasing the paperback as opposed to the eBook — the hard copy can handle the inevitable impact with a wall — the eReader, not so much.)
Katy is fully aware of her boss’s disdain for her, but is clueless as to why he’s so cruel. Make no mistake — Katy’s neither a fool nor a doormat — she has legitimate reasons for tolerating Richard’s attitude towards her.
When Richard does an about-face towards her, Katy’s survival instincts kick into overdrive, and Richard discovers Katy is neither spineless nor a doormat. Buy the time he gets Katy to sign the contract to pose as his fiancee, Richard is already re-evaluating his opinion of Katy on all counts. Maybe she’s not so bad . . . .
The Contract is Melanie Moreland’s best writing to date. While the tropes utilized by the author are very familiar (the contractual relationship that grows into the authentic, tossed about with small bits of the Cinderella/Pretty Woman scenarios), it is the magical writing of Melanie Moreland that keeps the reader invested in the story. The Contract is neither repetitive nor tiring — author Moreland’s writing has the capacity to evoke visceral reactions from her readers to the degree that one just wants to step into the story, grab Richard VanRyan by the scruff and shake some sense into this énorme chapeau de cul.
Whether you’re looking for a great summer read or just enjoy a well-written contemporary adult romance, Melanie Moreland’s The Contract is time well spent.
*ARC received in exchange for an honest review.*
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author 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.
– AUTHOR LINKS –
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/MelanieMoreland
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-L-Moreland-512254118848084/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/morelandmelanie