Book Review: Dealing in Deception

29073457In this companion to Samantha Joyce’s Flirting with Fame, Veronica Wilde finds that playing make-believe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—especially when it’s keeping her from pursuing the one man who makes her heart go wild.

As an actress-for-hire, Veronica Wilde has made a living out of pretending to be other people. It’s the one thing at which she’s always excelled: taking on someone else’s personality and running with it. So after Elise Jameson, author of the bestselling Viking Moon series, decides she no longer requires Veronica’s services, she needs to find a new gig—and fast.

But when her newest client hires Veronica to help him make his small business look more successful than it actually is, the sparks that fly between them are definitely not part of the act. Suddenly, Veronica finds she’s tired of playing pretend for a living. She’s been acting for so long, she’s blindsided by the one man who sees her for who she really is. And the most terrifying part? She might actually like it.

Pros – Veronica, Veronica, Bax, Veronica

Cons – I literally can think of no cons except I ran out of tissues (for happy tears)

Spoiler – Trigger Warnings for the book are a spoiler <spoiler> there’s a scene of sexual assault, and a discussion of mental illness (in particular disassociative personality disorder) </spoiler> My review will discuss both, in context of the story. If you would prefer to read my review without the discussion please see my GR review.

Note – This is the companion to FLIRTING WITH FAME (review here), while this is set two years later, it does give away some spoiler details for that book. Also please note I

Review –

Oh gosh, okay let’s talk.

I really enjoyed FLIRTING WITH FAME, Elise was my kind of heroine and Gavin was a good sort of hero. That said Veronica stole my heart. At the end of the book I somewhat desperately needed to know she would get her happy ending too. Because while I could identify with Elise’s insecurities and foibles, it was Veronica I wanted to protect.  Veronica who I wanted to see smile and happy.

Going into DEALING I was hoping she’d be happy. I was hoping she’d lose those demons and find someone on her level.

And Bax was so much more than I could have hoped for. Not perfect, a little self-righteous, but so warm. Snarky, genuine and earnest Bax who challenged Veronica just by saying “Hi”.

Veronica in FLIRTING both the same as the young woman we see in DEALING and different. As FLIRTING was about Elise, and her overcoming her troubled past, we only saw the Veronica who Elise saw. Conniving, manipulative, callous – a young woman who cared more about the superficial and materialistic than anything else. And this is true, but not for the reasons that Veronica presents.

We learn about Veronica’s mother and how from a very young age Veronica had to deal with the fact her mother was not just her mother. The woman who birthed Veronica suffered from dissociative personality disorder – meaning she had lots of personas grabbing for space in her head and Veronica could never be sure who she was talking to. Some personalities were as child-like as Veronica, some were older and more mother like. The personalities were so compartmentalized that they didn’t know what the others did – some didn’t even recognize Veronica as their child.

Due to this a tragedy happened when Veronica was in her teens and she ran away – she couldn’t deal with the guilt of what happened, couldn’t handle the fact her mother wasn’t even her mother most of the time, didn’t want to deal with the problem anymore. She fell into the whole “impersonating” people thing by accident and she realized if she could control who she was—her history, her personality, her image—being someone else was fun. It was freeing in a way she had never felt.

I sobbed through a lot of Veronica explaining to Bax her background. The scared, lonely girl Elise glimpsed at the end of FLIRTING had never really been given a chance to move beyond the guilt she carried. She wanted, even if she couldn’t admit it, what Elise and Gavin shared, but was secretly certain she didn’t deserve it. How could she? Her one moment of selfishness at 16 led to a horrible tragedy she should have prevented, but didn’t. (If you can’t tell that’s my sarcastic tone).

By comparison Bax’s personal unhappiness is much easier to relate to – in love with the same girl since high school, had their life all planned out, but he wanted to do more for the world and she wanted more from the world. She left him for someone rich, Bax was devastated and now was desperately trying to get his mad scheme financed. He’s a true do-gooder, the kind of altruistic sort you hear about, but scoff at because there is no way he is. But no, Bax is. This isn’t to say he’s perfect, but at the end of the day when he has a choice between helping a stranger because he can or walking away because it’s easier, he’ll choose the stranger every time.

I admire him for that and it’s something that Veronica slowly begins to admire too. Especially after Frank and his assault. Frank who couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer no matter how many times Veronica stated it clearly. Frank who felt entitled to doing whatever he wants to Veronica as long as he pays her handsomely for it. Frank who deserved to fall off a high sky scraper because he shook my precious Veronica’s confidence and trust in herself by insinuating things and forcing himself on her. Thankfully she fought him off before he could finish what he started, but just because he didn’t go all the way didn’t mean he didn’t scar her.

Her cynical world view hit the pavement. She had, in her own way, lived within a naive bubble. She had believed because she was the one doing her clients a favor—getting their girlfriend back, pretending to be someone’s business partner or date—that would help them get everything they wanted, she was in control. And she was, but it was a false sense of security. Frank showed just how easily that security could be taken away.

The two of them together was marvelous. It wasn’t really a relationship of imbalance – Bax gave as well as Veronica did when it came to poking buttons. The both didn’t instantly fall for the other – it was a give and take. Bax gave her warmth and genuineness that she rarely felt from guys, Veronica gave him confidence and perspective on this brave new world he was trying to create. Bax showed her that sometimes it’s the little things that help, while she showed him that grand gestures don’t always mean being untruthful.

And yeah the truth can set you free. Both of them being honest about what they wanted/expected from the other, both willing to work with the other to be happy…well. I’m so freaking glad Veronica got her happy ending. Seriously. Like joyful tears in my eyes even now.

Also, thank you Bax. You gave her the warm blanket I wanted to wrap her in! Even if it was smelly, dirty and not very pretty—you gave her the warm hugs and blanket I wanted to give her.

Want to Know More?

Published by: Pocket Star
Release: November 14, 2016
Series: Love in Disguise Book 2
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Lexie Words

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