Leading the Witness
New York Times bestselling author Chantal Fernando “turns up the heat” (RT Book Reviews) in this steamy standalone novel when a divorce lawyer finds himself stuck between his client and the woman he desires—and soon he’ll be forced to choose sides.
Hunter Brayze doesn’t always like his clients but as the divorce attorney for Bentley & Channing Law, he doesn’t have to. So when he meets his latest client, even though he can’t stand the guy, let alone understand how any woman would ever marry him, he is still determined to win his case. But he never expects taking this client would turn his entire world upside down.
When he comes face to face with his client’s soon-to-be ex, he’s shocked to see Riley McMahon, owner of his local pub and the woman he’s wanted ever since he first laid eyes on her. He didn’t even know she was getting a divorce, and now he’s stuck defending the man who wants to screw Riley out of everything. Feeling like he’s betraying her, Hunter vows to settle this case as quickly as he can by any means possible. Because after months of flirting with Riley at the pub, and now knowing that she’ll soon be free, Hunter is determined to make her his.
But as the proceedings get messier and secrets are revealed, Hunter’s running out of tricks to keep both parties happy. And when someone sets Riley’s pub on fire, he can’t help but suspect his own client. Torn between his professional code of ethics and his intense connection with Riley, Hunter finds himself at a crossroads wondering whose interests he’ll ultimately protect.
A Huge Conflict of Interest
Readers who have read Chantal Fernando’s Conflict of Interest series are more than familiar with Hunter Brayze - the gorgeous tattooed divorce lawyer who never lacks female attention, and now in, Leading the Witness, Fernando places this playboy attorney in a rather precarious position - one that makes Hunter question his code of ethics and makes him doubt his professionalism when, for personal reasons, he’s begins to push for a quick and easy fix for his current client’s divorce settlement.
Talk about a conflict of interest…Hunter doesn’t usually care if he likes his clients or not, but not only does he have a hard time interacting with this particular man, but come to find out, the man he’s representing wants to leave his soon-to-be ex with NOTHING and she just so happens to be the one woman Hunter’s always been attracted to but never acted on due to her martial status.
Riley McMahon can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to dealing with her impending divorce. Her husband is beyond an asshat and she doesn’t deserve his mistreatment, but she endures and keeps her head held high because that’s kind of independent woman she is and will continue to be despite the shitstorm that surrounds her. But boy does Hunter Brayze throw Riley off her game and even though he didn’t mean to, he makes everything that much more complicated but what he also does is make Riley see what attraction and desire look like, and it’s definitely nothing like what she ever had with her husband.
For most of the story, Hunter and Riley can only circle around one another because their mutual attraction can’t be acted on until Riley becomes a single woman again, and even then, she seems a bit gun shy, which makes sense give what’s she’s been through, but it’s more than difficult to not give into her feelings for Hunter, so exploring that connection may already be out of her hands.
Because of the circumstances standing in Hunter and Riley’s way, it’s definitely a slow burn romance; in fact, besides flirty conversations, nothing happens until more than 60% through the story, and while it makes sense given the situation they’re dealing with, it may be something that prevents readers from connecting with the characters, but Fernando does make it clear that both Hunter and Riley want something to happen between them, it’s just a tenuous situation, and it’s something that can only begin once something else ends.
I loved Hunter since he was introduced in the series, so I’m so glad his story was told, and while it wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it and was happy to see past characters and couples pop up in Leading the Witness because I love catching up with characters I’ve grown attached to and that’s what Fernando gives her readers in Hunter and Riley’s story.
4 Poison Apples The Fairest of All Book Reviews)
Hunter Brayze - Divorce attorney for Bentley & Channing Law. Hunter is known as the tatted up, playboy lawyer of the firm. He's easy going and the ladies love him. Riley caught his eye a year ago when she opened up her new Pub however she's married and off limits.
Riley McMahon - Owner of local pub called Riley's. She's got a pin up girl vibe to her. She's sweet but sassy. Married but soon to be divorced and she has a thing for Hunter. She see's the playboy in him and knows that's the last thing she needs right after a divorce.
Riley is a total sweetheart. She and her soon-to-be ex have grown apart and want different things. She just wants a quiet divorce and only wants her dog and her pub even though she is entitled to half of everything. The ex is being petty and wants to take everything away from her. Unbeknownst to Riley and Hunter, the ex hires Hunter as his divorce attorney.
I really enjoy it when an author takes a playboy and turns him into a loyal, protective boyfriend. He's been attracted to Riley for a year but knew she was off limits. The minute he finds out his new client is her husband, he's ticked that she didn't tell him but also elated to know that she will soon be free to date. He's in an impossible situation but handles it all very well.
This one is my favorite out of the series. Hunter is an easy guy to crush on and Riley was a very like-able heroine. Plus there is a great cast of side-characters in this series and the author added even more with the employees of the pub. A lot of possible future books! ARC provided by NetGalley.