Riley Parker is a temp to Gabrielle Gautier, owner of her own cosmetics company. He’s been working there for several weeks and he’s satisfied, but things get hectic when Gabrielle, a known tea junkie, dies at the launch party for their newest product.
There was discord with Gabrielle and her grown children—both of whom have positions of power within the company—which only heightens when they discover Gabrielle has a secret newly-wed husband, Cody, a man many years Gabrielle’s junior. Was there foul play? The police certainly seem to think there might be. Riley’s concerned. And distracted by the detective on the case, Tadeo Martin. Tad was two years ahead of Riley in school, and he’s even more gorgeous all grown up. Yep, Tad was a heartthrob for Riley back when he was lanky and awkward, but now, with his tinted contacts and highlighted hair, Riley thinks he might be worthy of his high school Adonis. If Tad swings that way…which he does.
Tad enlists Riley’s help on getting the inside scoop on Gautier, and Riley’s a little unsettled, but also determined to help with the investigation how ever he can. He snoops…a bit. And then a bit more. It’s good he does, because he discovers a plot that could frame him… or worse.
Meanwhile, things with Tad are really heating up. They have amazing chemistry, and it seems like a real relationship is just within reach. Unfortunately, when an arrest is made, Tad insists they break things off; Riley is now a material witness, and having a relationship with the investigating detective will compromise the case. Yeah, it was compromised already, but now it’s absolutely official. And it absolutely breaks Riley’s heart.
I liked Riley a lot. He’s a fun and interesting character who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Watching him reunite with his high school crush was sweet, and the sexytimes with Tad were yummy. It was rough, how things took a hard, hard, pause, but in the end, Riley’s keen observation leads to an alternate ending that allowed he and Tad to reconnect without consequences. Riley’s friends seem to grow in the book, and he ends up with far more allies than enemies, which was nice as he’s really just a temp, after all. The unraveling of the mystery was done well with good moments of misdirection. It thrilled my mystery-loving heart. If you enjoy a mystery and a yummy romance, this one might be your cuppa… (tea, that is.)
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.