Meddling With A Millionaire
by Cat Schield
(Harl. Desire #2094, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73107-7
***
Cat Schield has written an interesting first novel with a lot right and just a little bit wrong. I enjoyed the story for the most part and will look forward to her continued writing.

Emma Montgomery is the daughter of a rich family. When she refuses to follow her fatherís dictates, he cuts off her ability to get to her trust fund. She uses her friendsí help and starts her own jewelry business. She is even somewhat successful, but the money is relatively slow coming in. She signs up for a show and is determined to make enough jewelry to sell. But there are complications.

Her father convinces an old friend of Emmaís brother to include a clause of marriage in a business deal. Now Emma had a major crush on Nathan Chase when they were in their teens, but she is over him and in no way ready to marry him so he could make a great business deal. Nathan, on the other hand, is badly in need of the deal. He is the illegitimate child of a man who owned a company and decided to split the company between his three sons.

Max and Sebastian were both products of the marriage and resented Nathan from the time he came to live with them after his mother died. Nathan wants to show his brothers that he is the better businessman and to do that he needs to set up this deal with the Montgomerys. If it goes through, heíll prove to the board that he knows how to take calculated risks and is the right man to head the company. He is also determined to never let love rule his life. He grew up watching his mother suffer for her love of a married man.

So the stage is set Ė Nathan wants to marry Emma and Emma wants nothing to do with a business deal. She has feelings for Nathan, but doesnít want him unless he can love her. Nathan is often pushy and at times, downright unlikable because of it. He forces Emma to move in with him when her condo is found to be full of mold. He often denigrates her need to make jewelry and has to really learn about her as a person before he can accept that she is a pretty remarkable woman. When he discovers that Emma made her own deal with her father, he is torn between wanting her to succeed and knowing that her success is probably his downfall.

Emma is an uneven character, primarily because she is still getting her legs under her. At times she is stubborn and determined, persevering in her quest. At other times, she acts like a spoiled brat who wants her way and pouts when she doesnít get it. I liked her and yet, there were times I didnít.

It all comes out in the end, but almost too easily - just like a fairy tale. That means both Emma and Nathan see things so clearly and are able to be the person the other wants. That means that Nathanís relationships with his brothers seem to get much better and everyone understands and accepts the other. That means that Emma is able to compromise with her father and all their differences seem to disappear. It was this very easiness that caused the most dissatisfaction for me. I think the author almost tried to put too much into the tale for it to be realistic. Yet, I did enjoy the story on some level.

Meddling With A Millionaire is often engaging and full of spirit. And at other times, it is filled with convenience and characters that turn-around effortlessly. Cat Schield has talent and I look forward to her future tales.

--Shirley Lyons


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