Review: Tempted by Trouble by Michelle Smart

 

Title: Tempted by Trouble

Author: Michelle Smart

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Socialite Pippa Rowantree has always provided excellent fodder for the UK’s gossip rags. After another unfortunate scandal sends the gossips into a feeding frenzy, her shamed family retaliates by forcing her into hiding at old family friend Marco Capello’s lush Caribbean estate—literally the last place on earth she wants to be.As far as Marco’s concerned, wild child Pippa has ruined his life once and he’ll be damned if he lets her do it again. But it’s hard to reconcile the adolescent he knew with the mature, beautiful woman who stands before him. Soon he’s questioning if everything the media is claiming about PIppa is the truth or if he should trust his heart.


Review:

I love the premise for Tempted by Trouble.  Pippa is a socialite who has gained notoriety due to her bad behavior.  I have to admit that I was drawn to this book because I was hoping Pippa would be bad.  No such luck.  She’s now the reformed Pippa, working hard to make ends meet and forget about her distant, uncaring father.  She blames her step-mother in part for her father’s rejection of her, and ever since her mother died when she was a young girl, she has been trying to get attention – any kind of attention.  From her father or from Marco Capello,  a family friend.  Marco’s kindness has earned him a crush that just won’t die, and as the years roll by, Pippa thinks up more and more outlandish ways to try to get him to notice her.  Pink hair, loud clothes, bold makeup, and even bolder behavior.  In the folly of her youth, Pippa has become a party animal, and since there’s no one who seems to care, she just spirals faster and faster out of control.

Flash forward to the present.  Twenty-five year old Pippa has left her father’s house and has been working waitress jobs to pay her bills.  She has given up the parties, and she’s given up on her father.  He didn’t want her around when she was a child, so why should she be hurt when he doesn’t want her around now that she’s an adult?  Though she’s striving to put her past behind her, the paparazzi won’t leave her alone.  They stalk her and snap pictures of her every move, plastering lies about her in tabloids, online, and anywhere else they can find the space for their stories.  Because she has a record and has had her share of encounters with the police, she knows that nobody would believe the truth, so she tries to ignore the negative press about her.

After being assaulted by her employer, Pippa finds herself in another mess.  She’s going to be charged with assault, and because her boss was unconscious and bleeding all over the floor, the police don’t believe her story.  Her father bails her out of jail and trundles her off to Marco’s home in the Caribbean, where she’s to stay until her case goes to court.  Battered, bruised, and resigned, Pippa’s welcome to Marco’s home is less than enthusiastic.  He tells her the only reason that he’s agreed to allow her to stay in his house is because his mother asked him to, and because his house is large enough that they shouldn’t have to see each other.  Oh, boy! Someone else who believes all of her  bad press.

I didn’t like Marco at first, and  I was worried that I never would.  He always believed the worst of Pippa, kept flinging her past in her face, and treated her like a child.  He was certain that the assault was her fault, even after seeing the painful and vivid bruises marring her skin.  He was so pompous! So arrogant!  So alpha that I could almost smell the testosterone wafting from my iPad.  Ugh! He was so Italian!  He was the worst of my relatives rolled into one angry character who kept blaming a messed up, lonely kid for his problems.  Ugh! again!  His light bulb moment was almost too late for me to accept his remorse, but when it finally happened, I believed that he realized he had done wrong and that he needed to make up for his poor behavior. 

Pippa, I liked right away.  She’s carrying so much baggage that it’s hard to not feel sorry for her, even though that would be the last thing she would ever want.  She is a fighter and a survivor, and somehow she’s going to make it out of this mess, too.  The thought of going to jail is daunting, but she refuses Marco’s offer to foot the bill for a cut-throat defense attorney.  She doesn’t like to be in anyone’s debt, and she’s damned if she’ll be in his.  While I wanted her to just give in a little and take Marco’s help – after all, she is looking at jail time here – I could understand where she’s coming from.  The men in her life certainly hadn’t treated her well, or given her cause to trust them, so it made sense that she would be wary of accepting his help.

While I wasn’t always a fan of Marco, he did turn around near the end of the book.  Pippa’s emotional and personal troubles are immense, and I thought that the resolution of her relationship with her estranged  father was too simplistic and not convincing.   Still, I found Tempted by Trouble a quick, engrossing read that kept me engaged in the story.  With the warmer weather coming, this would be a great title to toss in your bag for a leisurely afternoon at the beach.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher