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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfect Partners by Carly Phillips

Perfect Partners by Carly Phillips
Publisher: InkWell Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (169 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

No sooner had Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart lost their siblings in a car crash than they find themselves fighting for custody of their two year old niece. Griff wins only to discover Chelsie is the only one who can soothe the child’s night terrors and fears. Chelsie and Griff bond over the little girl and their growing sexual desire is mutual. But is it enough? Chelsie’s been hurt before and Griff isn’t sure he can trust the woman who once tried to take his niece away. What will it take for them to realize they are … perfect partners?

Lawyers Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart deal with career obligations and lots of personal baggage as their lives get enmeshed with their precious two-year-old orphan niece Alix. Heartbreaking moments of Alix’s night terrors and confusion become the catalyst for major adjustments in both Chelsie’s and Griffin’s lives. The sub-story of spousal abuse and its effect on victims even after they escape the abusive situation adds a special poignancy to the story.

Chelsie, a busy lawyer, regrets that her sense of duty has put her at odds with the high-powered lawyer Griffin Stuart. Since two-year-old Alix is her niece and his niece also, she would like to have an amiable relationship with him, which isn’t likely after the stunt her parents had pulled in a custody battle.

Griffin gets custody of Alix and makes drastic changes in his law career and personal life to make a home for his much-loved niece, daughter of his dead brother. Alix, too young to understand the disappearance of her parents from her life, acts out during the day and suffers night terrors that have her, Griffin, and Mrs. Baxter worn to a frazzle. So the day Griffin hears Alix laughing and sees her happily cuddled up close to her Aunt Chelsie as they read a book, he knows he has to rethink his attitude toward her.

Griffin’s experience with women is that they are takers not givers. But if Chelsie can make Alix happy then he needs to broker a deal with her—and what a deal it turns out to be. As he takes on some of her caseload to free up some of her time and to expand his private law practice, he finds there is at least one woman in the world that is a giver. Chelsie’s pro bono workload is a shock to him.

The secondary characters stay in the background for the most part. Of course, little Alix rules supreme and already knows how to manipulate in her charming and humorous way. Ryan, Griffin’s private investigator friend, really sets the fox among the chickens with his unsolicited research report about Chelsie, but he is a godsend at other times and is always an unfailing friend. Chelsie’s parents, while miles away, still must be dealt with for Chelsie to move on with her life--as does the despicable Jeff Sutton, her former husband.

Carly Phillips creates a love story that has humor and heartache as she ties Chelsie and Griffin to each other with a breathtaking love that grows and glows even though they have some tough problems to solve along the way. The easy flow of Ms. Phillips writing style makes Perfect Partners a joy to read and her characters seem real and struggling with modern day problems that engender empathy. Good entertainment!