Protecting His Brother’s Bride by Jan Schliesman

protecting his brother's brideTitle: Protecting His Brother’s Bride

Author: Jan Schliesman

Mills & Boon imprint: Romantic Suspense

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: Insurance investigator Kira Kincaid

The hero: Coffee chain CEO Dalton Matthews

The blurb: Framed for embezzling, investigator Kira Kincaid must clear her name. So she’ll team up with Dalton Matthews, her estranged and deceased husband’s brother. But the reclusive mogul isn’t what she expected: he’s an alpha male who evokes an unwelcome yearning. And now, she is a target for a killer.

Dalton will protect Kira. He plans to walk away at the end but her green eyes melt his defences. When a family secret is exposed, Dalton must choose between his brother’s betrayal and the one woman he should deny.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: I’ve spent three days reading this book, far longer than it would normally take, and I find myself asking just one question: what was the author smoking when she wrote this? Because I want some! 🙂

The best thing about this book is the cover. I love, love, love the cover. It’s deliciously hot and I love the rain all around them. So let me see if I can make some sort of sense of this book: Kira Kincaid was married to a man named Josh, and they got married essentially because she was pregnant. He was a starving artist who wanted to be the next Rembrandt, so Kira supported them both while he painted. She knew nothing of his family, didn’t know he had one.

When she’s framed for embezzling a large sum of money, she knows that a man named Geoff Griffin is behind it because she was close to busting him and his shady dealings wide open. Then somewhere along the line, she finds a link to Josh, from whom she’s been estranged for three years after their son, Brandon, was stillborn. So she goes to the cabin where he proposed, hoping to find something there that might lead her to Josh.

What she finds there is Dalton Matthews, CEO of Buckshot, the world’s largest coffee chain. Dalton has been a recluse for the last eighteen months after the death of his music superstar wife, Lauren, who committed suicide. Dalton also happens to be Josh’s half-brother (they share a mother). He’s never heard of this woman who’s in his house, and he sure doesn’t believe she was ever married to his brother, who died in a car accident two months previously.

Kira is struggling to believe Dalton is who he says he is – Josh never mentioned having a family, let alone any money. Josh owns 10% of the company, so he has always had access to money. Dalton agrees to help Kira when the cabin retreat they meet up in is blown up. Dalton is presumed dead by Kira’s hand, so they go on the run.

What follows is one of the most bizarre tales ever. One minute they’re arguing, the next they’re all over each other or thinking about it. I found it hard to keep up with what the heck was going on. SPOILER ALERT: It turns out that Geoff Griffin is Josh, who’s obviously not dead. He’s the one who framed Kira after stealing all her passwords and information from work, and stealing the missing money. Not only that, but Brandon was not stillborn – Josh changed his name (to Rembrandt, no less!) and spirited him away to be raised by a nanny. When Kira finds Lauren’s diary on her laptop, she discovers that Lauren and Josh were also having an affair. Lauren was pregnant at the time of her death, so which brother is the father is now unknown.

What made absolutely no sense was Josh and all of his actions. He claims he only married Kira because she was pregnant – why bother? Why make her think their son was stillborn? Why not just divorce Kira and let her keep the kid, or fight for custody if he was that set on having the child? Why was he so pissed at Dalton taking over the company Dalton’s father founded? Dalton was groomed for the job and Josh was not the father’s son, so why would he think he’d get the company over Dalton? Why steal money when he had access to millions anyway? He owned a share of the company. If he was really in love with Lauren (and it’s hard to know whether he was or not) then why didn’t they just leave their spouses and be in a relationship? I mean, I had so many questions about this book that weren’t answered. Josh just seemed to be like a child throwing his toys out of the sandpit.

Having said all that, however, I did like Dalton and Kira’s sometimes odd relationship, especially at the end. Both were grieving spouses they thought they knew and both were hurting over their deaths. I like that they found each other; they seemed a much better match than their previous pairings. Kira was reunited with her son, and she agreed to marry Dalton and raise Brandon together. They got their happily ever after, which I love reading about even though I know all of these books end the same way…