By Celia Loren
When 24-year old struggling artist Cora MacAuliffe takes a job as a live-in maid for the old money Redmond family, the last thing she expects is to fall for her new boss, the dangerously sexy Brent Redmond.
The self-made billionaire lives a double life—in public he’s a shrewd real estate mogul and philandering playboy, but in private he’s a brooding, enigmatic protector…and a dominant alpha with sexual desires that no socialite princess has ever been able to satisfy.
Cora soon finds that Mr. Redmond has more inappropriate “chores” he’d like to add to her list of duties, things that definitely blur the lines between their employer and employee relationship.
But when the Redmond family’s previous maid turns up murdered, and her body is found nearby, Cora realizes that the Redmonds are hiding a dungeon of dark secrets—some that they might kill to protect.
Everyone could be a suspect…even Brent.
Beautiful Affliction starts with the Redmond’s live-in maid going missing. The Redmond’s (Brent especially) were investigated, but with no body and no proof of a crime, they were ultimately not charged. Since the investigation and the stigma attached to it, they’ve been unable to fill the maid’s position again. Having just finished a live-in assignment herself, Cora’s not afraid of the rumours and takes the position. What she is afraid of is her strong reaction to Brent when she sees him for the first time.
Brent fares no better, angry at himself for lusting after his new employee, causing him to break his own rules when it comes to her. But she is his employee so once he realises he’s gone too far, he pulls back so fast it gives the reader whiplash. He tries to keep the sexual side of things professional, but once you mix business with pleasure, trying to keep things professional is probably pretty useless.
When the maid’s body is discovered and Brent’s business is being investigated for missing money, Brent becomes the main person of interest. Add in to the mix that one of the detectives is Cory’s ex-boyfriend and the household is full of people keeping secrets, things are bound to get tense.
I quite enjoyed Beautiful Affliction and the scenes between Brent and Cora were hot. Really hot. The storyline was good and I liked the mystery that surrounded the dead maid. However, I felt the book was a little weak, especially regarding the murder and its resolution. Despite what the synopsis says, Cora is not a struggling artist. A person can’t be struggling at something they gave up on. She’s dealing with some guilt over something she feels responsible for, therefore she lost all interest in her art classes and feels she doesn’t deserve to have anything good in her life. When the reason for that is finally revealed, it’s glossed over. Actually, that’s how every big reveal was handled, it was discussed before quickly moving on to the next reveal. Other than that, I thought it was a quick and light read with some hot sex thrown in. I think if things were delved into more deeply, fleshed out a little more, it would have been a great read.
Beautiful Affliction: A Dark Billionaire Romance