An appetite for ambition yanks a small town student, Willow Walsh to the big beautiful Windy City, Chicago. A mission to make a difference in the world. Desperate to avoid failure after a few bumps on the road, she pursues her dream career with the prestigious Architectural Design Magazine, Racer Journal. Owned by Ella Racer, a queen in her own right. The only woman she admired and held on a pedestal, then, she met Harry, the mysterious perfect stranger. As cliché as this may sound, he was the most drop-dead gorgeous man she has ever encountered.
He unraveled a world she never knew existed. A complex world of passion, vows and obsession. He was hers and she was his. A bond so powerful nothing could break her bliss but boy was she mistaken. One minute she had it all, the next, she was left stranded in a shady game she didn't know she played. Her perfect gentleman —— wasn’t so perfect after all. He held a profound secret. A secret that could destroy not just her future, but an entire real estate empire he is set to inherit.
Yet, such a treacherous revelation couldn't sway Willow away from Harry, she was in deep, so deep it suffocated her, destroyed her friendships, credibility, honor and dignity. Then, she met the mining magnate Bruno Calderon, a powerful and charismatic man, who gave her an offer she couldn't refuse, a way out, a chance to salvage her damaged reputation and start anew, a thorn in Harry’s flesh.
Will her past restrict her from her much deserved happy ending?
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A Story By An Impeccable Storyteller
Clandestine Affaire by Frances Paul is a contemporary romance novel. The main characters include Willow Walsh, secretary to Ella Racer; Ella Racer is the owner of Racer Journal; Harry, Willow's love interest; Bruno Calderon, a mining magnate with amazing houses. Among these major characters are characters like Willow's roommates and other employees or Racer Journal associates.
Willow Walsh is ready to start her career, as she tries to get her foot in by assisting Ella Racer in the production of Racer Journal. The reader is often reminded that Willow is from Minnesota, and has moved to Chicago for college (our story takes place in Chicago), and is also reminded that the only people that Willow has in Chicago are her two roommates. This is hard to believe, after four years (maybe more) Willow only has two people in the entire city that she knows and is close to. I would think that after years of living in Chicago she would know more people, however this is a minor detail in the story. Willow is young, and vivacious. She wants to be able to travel the world and simply do something that she loves, which is something all of us can relate to. While we might not agree with Willow's affair, Frances Paul has done an amazing job making the reader feel connected to Willow, as Willow is like most female young adults in today's society.
Ella Racer is everything a boss is, in our heads. Ella is cold and distant, often withholding information about her personal life. She often doesn't make small talk with her employees. In fact, her main focus is the journal, often disregarding her family. Okay, so maybe not exactly how a boss is in our heads, but definitely how a boss we don't like is portrayed in our heads. Ella is very well respected by her employees, and those she has worked with. Because of her major success, she is very dangerous and it would not be good to cross her.
Harry is the handsome stranger Willow went home with from a club one night. He leads a double life, one where he is married and one where he is with Willow. Don't let the summary of the book fool you though, Harry and Willow have a one night stand and don't see each other again for awhile. When they do finally see each other again, the secret is out. The summary makes it sound like their relationship is more than a one night stand before it is revealed that Harry is married, but in reality it's within the first few chapters. I simply wanted to clarify that, as I was under the impression that their relationship would continue after that one night stand before Harry's secret was revealed.
Bruno Calderon is the second love interest in Clandestine Affaire. Bruno is to be featured in one of the editions of Racer Journal, and Willow was hired just in time! Ella still has a few pictures and an interview that needs to be done before the edition is to be published, and lucky for Willow, she gets to tag along. While at Bruno's Argentina home, Willow manages to catch his eye. They are then together a few more times throughout the story for various events. Bruno is a hard working, honest man. He had to build his fortune from the ground up, and his dedicated several years to becoming successful. And successful he is! Willow is rather attracted to Bruno, but could never imagine leaving Harry (despite his little secret).
Frances Paul did an amazing job writing Clandestine Affaire. Paul has an innate ability to tell stories, placing details and events in just the right place to keep the reader hanging on for more. You can tell that Paul knows what she is talking about when it comes to the detailing of the architectural structures Ella and Willow are writing about. Clandestine Affaire is very realistic as Frances Paul details the architectural structures, the plane rides, the encounters Willow has with Harry and then Bruno. I think the part that really made it interesting, and realistic, was Willow's interactions with her roommates as they were often very short due to the fact that all of them had a different life and their work schedules were very different. These interactions were special to me because life is chaotic, and this definitely portrayed that.
As I have mentioned, Frances Paul does an amazing job detailing events. The reader is easily sucked into the events and the settings. There were a few small events that were predictable, but Clandestine Affaire is incredibly similar to real life, the events were as unpredictable as real life. I did not feel like Clandestine Affaire was either rushed, or that it drug on. The story moved along a moderate pace, as the events gradually became more exciting and detrimental to Willow's career. In the end, everything added up and the story ended up nicely. The ending itself was not necessarily climatic, however the events to lead to the ending were very climatic, and had me reading as fast as I possibly could to find out what happens!
I really enjoyed Frances Paul's voice, as Clandestine Affaire felt like you were listening to Willow talk about this time in her life. It also helped give Willow a unique voice, and more character. I also greatly enjoyed how the ending tied up nicely, and didn't leave you guessing about what happened, or question why it happened. I definitely recommend the book to young adults or more of a mature reader (as there are several detailed sexual scenes), and readers of contemporary romance. I do not normally read contemporary romance, and this is actually my first contemporary romance, and I greatly enjoyed reading it. I found the plot very intriguing.