BLOG REVIEW: Innocent in His Diamonds by Maya Blake

24y.o supermodel has her share of secrets 
and didn't know that her unpublicized asthmatic condition would inadvertently land her in jail. 
Or that she would personally encounter her boss Hero again.
   
Who still harbors much resentment against her for their parents' extramarital affair 16 years ago.
But 31y.o Swiss conglomerate-owner Hero demands to keep a watchful eye on her
in his chateau before her court hearing in 3 weeks as she has now become a major business liability.
He doesn't anticipate how much of a challenge she would be to his self-control
and his peace of mind.
Heroine doesn't anticipate his impact on her already-strained relationship with her manager mother. 
 Nor how she would provoke him regarding his estranged parents. 
Neither does she foresee how their volatile chemistry would result in shared surrender. 
 The aftermath becomes more uncomfortable, when her secrets get exposed 
and Hero leaves. 
What makes him come back? Will heroine still be there? 

This was my 1st Blake book and I enjoyed the dramatic romance. It was a speedy albeit somewhat unsettling read. It's psychologically rich, with lots of combustible emotions and shared painful past between Hero and heroine. There was so much brewing in the chemistry between these two that each time they were together a lot would happen. It wasn't just drama for the sake of drama. Their coming together now was like having two live wires with different voltages joined together. Lots of explosions, bringing out their ignored past and the different ways it shaped them. The drama was a series of confrontations of their past meeting their present. They couldn't hide from it as their physical and emotional attraction prevented them from truly staying away from each other.

The time span of their romance was quite short. About a week or so. But the brevity from being inimical to a full-on love relationship was believable, given the characters & how they dealt with their issues. Both were independent and relatively mature at the start of the book. Heroine was more emotionally developed of the two, despite being less experienced world-wise. Her approach to having a broken family and being consistently rejected was a combination of forgiveness, moving forward with her goals, and hope. His approach was to cut off those who hurt him, increase control of his world, and focus on work success. Their varied approaches to life came to a head when they had to deal with their shared past. They were forced to deal with their past now, if they wanted a chance of a future together. And they both really did. So, it was neat how they both were able to resolve things. It was a joint effort of learning from the other and enforcing their way. I liked how Hero eventually accepted his vulnerability to heroine. And that it wasn't a bad thing, as he realized how much more she struggled with and how she didn't let it overcome her.

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

Heroine's big secrets were linked together:

1.) She didn't know how to read. She didn't have a reading disability. She just never learned to read due to secret #2. She was on her way to learning reading with some tutoring and online reading practice.

2.) Her mother's emotional abuse and neglect of her as a child. Her mother shuffled her off with her as she went from one brief affair to the next. So, heroine's education was informal (i.e., tutors) and always cut short. After awhile, her mother stopped hiring her tutors since she didn't see the need for heroine's education as she saw that heroine could have a career based on her looks. Her mother controlled her modeling career and heroine only sought independence from her the last 2-3 years. 

3.) Heroine's virginity was due to her wanting a different life than her miserable mother. She didn't want to be a victim of sexual need like her mother or be dependent on a man in other ways. Plus her struggle to succeed, despite her inability to read, drove her to live a quiet life. Which really wasn't all that quiet until just the last 2-3 years. She'd been living with her mother for about 21-22 years, with her constant melodrama (i.e., various failed affairs, drug dependence).

The real drug culprit:
It was heroine's roommate that put the heroin in her inhaler, when they were at the dance club. Her roommate needed to hide the heroin she brought with her at the club, during the police raid. She chose heroine as her scapegoat because she was jealous of heroine's success and goody-goody character and wanted to ruin her. 

Heroine figured out it was her roommate after some hints from another model. Hero's hired investigators were also able to get some photo evidence of her roommate's guilt. All before heroine's court trial.

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

I also liked how Hero helped heroine face her codependent relationship with her mother, making her realized how she made excuses for it because she held out hope that her mother would grow to love her. Neither one was perfect and their confrontations were helping each other become better people. They didn't get so defensive & were more open to check themselves with what could be true, harsh as it may be. It also helped that their parents had done some growing up too and made the resolution easier for everyone involved. All in all, a believable end & HEA.

I recommend this book.
4-star

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