The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon
Book One of the Games People Play series
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
He’s known only as Wren. A wealthy, dangerously secretive man, he specializes in making problems disappear. A professional fixer, Wren hides a dark past, but his privacy is shattered when Emery Finn seeks him out—and what she wants from him is very personal.
Some people disappear against their will. Emery’s job is to find them and bring closure. Wren is the only person who can help solve Emery’s own personal mystery: the long-ago disappearance of her cousin. Just tracking down the sexy, brooding Wren is difficult enough. Resisting her body’s response to him will prove completely impossible.
Anonymity is essential to Wren’s success, yet drawn by Emery’s loyalty and sensuality, he’s pulled out of the shadows. But her digging is getting noticed by the wrong people. And as the clues start to point to someone terrifyingly close, Wren will have to put his haunted past aside to protect the woman he loves.
What I Liked:
No one does romantic suspense like HelenKay Dimon. I have yet to read a book of hers that I didn't like. Usually you'll see me read historical romance novels, or contemporary romance novels, but romantic suspense seems to take a backseat. However, I know my go-to author for this genre is HelenKay Dimon. Her stories of sexy commanding alpha males and strong feisty women are so engrossing, moving, and lovable.
In this new series, Dimon takes on a new set of characters. We're not looking at a man in uniform - no, Wren is a business. He's a "fixer"; he's sort of like a private detective, except that he researches a problem, and then fixes it. He's a powerful, rich man, but he doesn't like to be known. No one knows who Wren is, in real life, and within the man himself. Until Emery. Emery has been trying to find Wren for the last weeks, because she found the name "Wren" in a file of her missing cousin's case. She is determined to find Wren to see if he something to do with her cousin's disappearance. Instead, Wren finds her, and he begins to help her. Emery finds this mysterious, totally formal and somewhat robotic man intriguing, and frustrating. Wren is not only helping Emery find the cousin, but he's protecting her from the danger that she unknowingly brought on herself.
I'm not sure if this is a new Dimon favorite of mine (Mine takes the cake at the moment), but it certainly comes close. From the start, there was something about this book that screamed my name. I knew I would enjoy it. Was it the cover? The mysterious synopsis? Simply the fact that it was written by HelenKay Dimon? We'll never know.
To start, I adored Wren. I haven't read a book featuring a hero quite like him. He comes across as robotic and distant, because he is precise and neat, deliberate and intelligent. He does not interact with fellow humans very often (except his best friend, and his housekeeper), and you can clearly tell by how he doesn't always pick up on subtle social cues. Don't get me wrong, the man is so observant and very, very good at his job. But sometimes he's a bit dense, when it comes to emotions and feelings. The "robotic" description would seem closest to his personality... except you quickly see that he is not that way at all. He wears black suits and crisp white shirts underneath every day; he is dangerous and powerful and exacting; but he is protective and direct, honest and genuine, and so selfless. Wren is easily the most complicated and complex character of the book, and he's my favorite character of the book.
I liked Emery a lot though! She is practically the definition of a strong and capable woman. She got on my nerves a few times (especially when she thought she was more capable of investigating than Wren - no honey, that's his job). But I loved how direct she was, how she went after what she wanted. She didn't always do well with Wren's commanding, bossy personality, because she's a bit bossy herself. Emery is impulsive too, but she's smart.
The pair together... they fit well together. They argue and bicker, and there are disagreements left and right (especially on Emery's side). Emery would say that Wren is so difficult (which he is - stubborn especially), and Wren would say that Emery is contrary. Their interactions are always entertaining.
I liked seeing the romance unfold, between Wren and Emery. Emery slowly begins to trust Wren as the book goes on, and Wren slowly begins to let Emery in. It was kind of bizarre that all of Wren's walls tumbled right down for this one woman, but Dimon made it very believable. Additionally, the chemistry was pretty hot. Combine an alpha male and an alpha female and you've got a whole lot of passion. It was great to see a romance in which both characters simply go after what they want.
I was a huge fan of the ending, and not just because of the HEA. You know in the climax, how there is often some "big reveal" or something that makes the couple temporarily break up? This is so so common in romance novels. In this case, Wren reveals something that he learns late in the book, about the missing cousin. Emery flips out and says a whole bunch of things that were wrong and insensitive, and she storms out.
Why I love this climax (and ending) is because Emery is the one who messed up, and Emery is the one to go after Wren. I love that both of them fight for each other (really, Wren does not give up), but it's Emery that goes after Wren (especially since she was the one who needed space). I love this! Yes! You mess up and then you fix your problems. I hate it when the woman messes up but it's the man that is grovelling. Not the case, in this book!
And there is a resolution, in terms of the missing cousin. That whole part of the book is so heartbreaking, and not just for Emery. There are parts of Wren's past that have nothing to do with Emery or her missing cousin, but all him to relate to Emery and her missing cousin. Wren's past is terribly sad, and you can clearly see how his past shaped him.
Anyway! Overall, I really enjoyed this book (clearly). I think there were a few minor things that are worth mentioning but those things definitely did not bother me enough for me to drop my rating. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series!
What I Did Not Like:
Minor things -- occasionally I found Emery to be irrational and b****y. She wasn't cruel to Wren at any point, but she could have been less abrasive.
Another minor thing -- usually Dimon's books are MUCH steamier! I was a little disappointed. Dimon dimmed the lights and the stopped the scene several times, in terms of sex scenes. So we're left with, like, two fully written sex scenes, and implications of other ones. And the fully written ones... I didn't hate them, but didn't love them either. There was no variety. Emery on top, Wren on the bottom... every time. No variety! The implied sex scenes were the ones that varied, and none of them were written out. Disappointing! I bet if this book had some of those varied sex scenes written out, this one would have gotten five stars. Because steamy! Variety! Good stuff.
Would I Recommend It:
If you like suspense, and adult romance, then I highly recommend any of Dimon's books, including this one. I recommend this book and you should read it especially for Wren. Discovering more about Wren bit by bit... *swoon* I adored him. I haven't ever seen a hero quite like him!
4 stars. Dimon never disappoints me! She always delivers, and I'm glad for that. I am looking forward to reading The Enforcer (though I am a tiny bit disappointed that the next book is not about Garrett, Wren's best friend and second-in-command!).
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