BLOG REVIEW: The Most Expensive Lie of All by Michelle Conder

25y.o. heroine is desperate.
She has 5 more days to try to secure $10 million to buy her uncle's horse farm.
It's her last tie to her deceased mother and the place she considers home. She's been taking care of the horses herself
and plans on making a success of the horse farm on her own, proving her naysayers wrong. 32y.o. businessman Hero's agreement to her requested loan is conditional upon spending 1 night with him.
He calculated buying out the horse farm over her lower bid but accepted her loan request anyway with intent to not actually give her the $10 million. He wants revenge for how her seduction 8 years ago 
got him kicked out of the farm by her grandfather and ended his flourishing polo-playing career.
He also wants her out of his system and a glut of sex with for a night seemed like the answer.
However, spending time together
and finding out that things were not how he thought they were is making him doubt the soundness of his plans for her. 
But is he too late in changing his revenge plans for her? How can she trust him now?

My 1st Conder read & I was impressed at the soundness of the characterization and how that played into my emotions. Hero and heroine were presented with their good and bad. They both have baggage and had an uncomfortable past with each other. The book started with both of them wanting the horse farm. But for different reasons. Heroine with her desire to succeed independently and hang on to her connection with her mother through the farm. And Hero, with his desire to make more money and to usurp where he was rejected from 8 years ago. They were more enemies than friends, especially on Hero's part. But, as they spent more time with each other & got to know one another more, they saw each other in a different light. I liked how we get to see their defenses crumbling as they start doubting their views about each other. We saw Hero, in particular, battle between his conscience and niggling doubts about heroine's innocence and his firm belief that heroine deceived and betrayed him 8 years ago. Their realizations about the other induced a change in their own beliefs about themselves. The character growth of Hero, in particular, was a touching and believable progress. He changed from this cold and calculated money-focused man to a more open and considerate person. I liked him more and more. Especially when he clearly became into heroine & begin to really understand her & get her.

Heroine was a more steady character.  She'd been working on her independence and no longer letting any man control her. She was almost done with vet school while working hard with her horses. I liked that she admitted to being a people-pleaser and even a doormat. She'd lost her mother at age 10 and was entrusted in her hard-to-please grandfather's care. Her need for love translated into trying to please her controlling grandfather. So, at age 17, she reluctantly consented to marrying now-ex-husband because she feared getting kicked out of his house the way her mother did when she disobeyed him. Her fear of rejection also kept her from telling her grandfather the truth about Hero.

     -----------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-----------

At the time of her grandfather's catching her and Hero kissing at the stable, heroine froze in fear. She didn't defend Hero then but she did so when she & her grandfather got back to the house. She confessed to initiating the kiss with Hero because she felt emotionally vulnerable at being forced to marry someone she wasn't sure about and she had a huge crush on Hero for years. But, unbeknownst to her, her grandfather had already kicked Mexican Hero out for touching his White granddaughter. She'd always wondered why he left and why he stopped playing polo. But she was too immature, scared, and controlled by her grandfather at age 17 and later by her husband to do anything about it.

      ------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------------------

As soon as she could, she apologized to Hero. I liked her combination of assertiveness and humility. She may have been scared but she didn't let that stop her any longer from doing what she wanted. Even when faced with her fear of sex, she didn't let it over-ride her desire to own the horse farm and all that it meant to her. And she was smart to get everything in writing to avoid  sabotage. 

This book also dealt with sexual problems. Heroine believed she had a problem with sexual arousal (i.e., lack of lubrication) because she didn't get turned on with her ex-husband and he denigrated her for it. Sex was always uncomfortable for her the few times she experienced it with him. She also believed she wasn't sexy or sensual enough to hold a man's interest since her ex had erection problems and, again, blamed her for it. I guess, she wasn't interested enough to research it herself or get help and find solutions. She just accepted her limited knowledge and her ex-husband's sexual judgment of her as truth. This was an example of her doormat stage during her marriage. By the time she met Hero, she was scared of sex but would brave it for the sake of the farm. Her self-sacrifice didn't hold though when things went further sexually between her and Hero. She'd freeze or back out on him. I liked that she became assertive enough by this time to say "no". I appreciated Hero's response to her sexual inadequacies even more. He was patient, sensitive, confident, and reassuring with heroine. It came from his care for her and understanding of what she'd been through. Their first sex scene was both tender and hot. It was all about her needs and pleasure. And it turned him on to get her turned on. I loved it. 

I highly recommend this book.
4.5-star

3 comments:

  1. I want to read this book. What a great review. Loved all the little graphics. I was surprised at it being listed as a Maisey Yates. It sounds more like the Michelle Condor in that bundle.

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    1. Fiona, it is Maisey Yates. I read the single book but, since Amazon no longer sells it, I could only link the HP bundle. Haven't read Michelle Condor yet. Any recs?

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    2. Fiona, you're right. It is written by Michelle COnder. I just re-checked. I don't know how that happened. Will update now. Thanks for the heads up!

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