Review: Blackmailing Mr. Bossman by Anna Hackett

Review: Blackmailing Mr. Bossman by Anna HackettBlackmailing Mr. Bossman (Billionaire Heists #2) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Billionaire Heists #2
Pages: 292
Published by Anna Hackett on June 18, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

To save my best friend’s husband, all I have to do is blackmail a billionaire.
My friend’s husband was abducted by a gang of white-collar criminals. These guys are bad, and they want her to spy on her boss—a man who owns half of New York. She’s falling apart and she needs my help.
My name’s Aspen. I’m a private investigator, and I’m usually doing surveillance on cheating spouses or insurance scammers, but now I’m going undercover.
I’m trading my jeans for skirts, and playing assistant at Kensington Group so I can get up close and personal with Liam Kensington—the owner of a multibillion-dollar construction and property empire.
Not to mention a tall, lean, golden-haired god with a sexy British accent.
The white-collar thieves have Liam in their sights and in return for my friend’s husband, they want me to blackmail a billionaire. Aw, hell.
But I didn’t count on how Liam would make me feel, or my crazy need to keep him safe, or our incendiary attraction.
Now I have to save a man’s life, catch some bad guys, and stop myself from falling in love with a billionaire who’s way out of my league.

My Review:

I was looking for something a bit lighter than yesterday’s book. You know, something with not quite so many deaths and dismemberments. Or at least not so many gruesome descriptions of the dismemberments. Fictional deaths, if they’re of the right people, aren’t so bad.

There are certainly more than a few people who need to die – or at least be removed from their ability to make trouble one way or another (and possibly from the gene pool), in the Billionaire Heists series. Not to mention, the billionaires are gorgeous, the women who manage to win their hearts have plenty of moxie and especially agency, and there’s always a happy ever after waiting in the wings.

After evil gets its just desserts, of course.

In the first book in this series, Stealing from Mr. Rich, the first of the “Billionaire Bachelors” found himself falling for a woman who set out to rob him blind. Not that Monroe O’Connor actually wanted to steal anything from Zane Roth, except possibly his heart. But Monroe was in over her head with some really evil dudes who had kidnapped her way-more-immature-than-he-thinks-he-is younger brother, and, well, needs must because the devil is certainly driving.

The situation in Blackmailing Mr. Bossman does have some familiar vibes from that first story, and not just because Zane and Liam Kensington, the titular Mr. Bossman, are besties. Or would be if billionaires would be caught dead using that term.

Like Monroe in that first story, Aspen Chandler has no desire of her own to blackmail Liam Kensington – not that he doesn’t spark plenty of other desires in Aspen and every other straight woman with a pulse in New York City.

Aspen is a licensed private investigator. She’s working on behalf of a client – one of her own best friends – who happens to work at Liam’s megacorp headquarters. Her friend’s husband has been kidnapped, and his “ransom” is delivering the blackmail material to Liam. A task that Aspen has taken over on her behalf in the hopes of finding a way to take down the bad guys behind this mess.

But she has to go through with the blackmail in order to get all the goods on everyone involved. Or, at least she thinks she does. So she goes undercover at Kensington Group in order to get close to Liam and let the real blackmailers believe she’s on their side and under their thumb.

And that’s where everything starts to go very, very wrong – at least as far as Aspen’s ability to keep her work compartmentalized from her heart. It’s also where things start to go very, very right for the possibility that the P.I. and the billionaire might have a chance at an HEA.

They just have to survive a crazy mobster first. Make that two crazy mobsters, one in the here and now, and one reaching from beyond the grave with his hands full of diamonds.

Escape Rating A-: I have to admit that I’m not all that crazy about the cover of this book, and I kind of hate the title – but I really LOVED the story. So definitely don’t judge this book by anything you see on its cover except the author’s name. Because Anna Hackett delivers and this one is definitely no exception.

I’m really loving this Billionaire Heists series quite a lot after merely liking a couple of the Norcross Security series – although there was one book in that series (The Specialist) that I absolutely adored. For a good reading time call Anna.

The thing about this series in particular is that the women are all very, very good at taking care of themselves, thankyouverymuch. Neither Monroe nor Aspen ever needs to be rescued by their billionaires. It’s not just that they are in control of their own lives before their current problem landed in their laps, it’s that they are working the problem that has landed in their laps – and doing a damn good job at it.

Where Aspen doesn’t so much fall down on the job as change her plans for the job is that she can’t continue the undercover aspects of the mess once both hers and Liam’s emotions get involved. Once she stops pretending to be either a PR assistant or a blackmailer, their working relationship becomes fairly equal, and that’s something I always like to see in a romance, because relationships that are not equal don’t work in the long run.

The inequality in their relationship, and there certainly is quite a bit, can be set aside if they’re both willing to work at it, and that’s where the push-pull tension comes into play fairly realistically for a story that has a high quotient of real-world-type-fantasy mixed in. Liam is, after all, a multi-billionaire, as are his friends. Aspen works hard to support herself, her twin sisters and her mother. She’s doing okay most of the time, but Liam is in a whole other stratosphere.

Aspen’s certain that the gap can’t be bridged, while Liam is certain that it can. They’re the best thing that ever happened to each other, if they can just manage to hang on to what they’ve almost got.

The case that brings them together is a scream. Both in the sense that Liam, Aspen and the reader all want to scream at Liam’s douchebag father who is the real target of the blackmail. There aren’t words for how vile he is. The ransom is an even bigger scream, in the sense that it’s fascinating and historical and, in the end, plenty scary. It reaches all the way back to Prohibition and features a dilapidated warehouse, a notorious gangster and a too-well-hidden cache of priceless gems.

All in all, I had a terrifically good reading time with this one, and I can’t wait for the final book in this trilogy, when the last billionaire bachelor takes his fall in Hacking Mr. CEO, coming in late July to a kindle near you. Or rather definitely, to an iPad near me!

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