The Art of the Deal - B.A. Stretke 3 1/2 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

Sean has fought hard for everything he has, so when he discovers he has been snubbed for a top internship with Coleman West and the reasons why, he refuses to allow another man’s snobbish prejudices to affect his life and ploughs onwards. Ignoring Mr. West is harder than he thought when the man won’t leave him alone. Coleman has high standards and anyone who doesn’t live up to his personal expectations get nowhere with him, but Sean leaves him reeling when he meets the man and he is nothing like Coleman’s preconceived notions. Wanting to get to know Sean is hard though because Coleman’s own damning words come back to haunt him and his reputation as a harsh man won’t let Sean trust him. Can Coleman break down Sean’s walls? Can Sean trust Coleman not to betray him?

This is a very sweet love story that has a very Mills & Boon/Harlequin romance feel to it. Sean is a lovely character, he is honest, hardworking and loyal and he also has his pride. Coleman West is a harder character to like, he is an elitist snob, he comes down hard on those that cross him and has a love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude, he also likes to get his way no matter the cost. When Sean accepts a lesser position in Coleman West and Associates because he isn’t ‘good enough’ for the top internship he knows he has to avoid Coleman West at all costs, it’s not just his internship on the line, but Edward Murray’s job as well. Coleman becomes intrigued by the young man who disappears every time Coleman sees him, determined to discover who the mysterious man is he is shocked when he discovers it is the very man that he looked down at for working in a pub.

Coleman is a very arrogant character and he has very set ideas about people and you seriously want to punch him for his preconceived notions about people, but this time Coleman’s arrogance bites him in the arse when he meets Sean. Sean has no intention of forgiving Coleman for his prejudice (you cheer for his determination) but Coleman is a lot nicer in person than his reputation says he is, but it still takes Coleman time to wear Sean’s walls down. These two characters are very different and they each struggle with their feelings for the other man, Sean is warned repeatedly by people about Coleman’s reputation so he doubts that Coleman wants him for anything but a passing fancy. Coleman has never felt anything for anyone before and struggles to get things right.

The storyline is pretty good and we also get some interesting twists in the way of a slimy professor and a vindictive classmate, well intentioned people and the MC’s own doubts and insecurities. It’s a light read that you can enjoy with a cup of tea, although there are times when you wonder why Sean doesn’t want justice and just accepts Coleman’s excuse for his original rejection. At times it got a bit too much sugar and became overly sweet with Coleman running to the rescue and taking over, whisking Sean away to the country house or new apartment and fixing Sean’s problems.

I will recommend this to those who love tarnished white knights, good characters, an easy reading storyline, some sweet loving and a very happy ending.