Title: Perfect Betrayal
Author: Season Vining
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: August 18, 2015
THOUGHTS:To the outside world, Taylor Hudson has it all: beauty, money and social status. But Taylor’s privileged life is far lonelier than it appears.
Levi is the inside man on a job to steal fifteen million dollars from one of the town’s wealthiest families, putting him on a crash course with Taylor. Neither of them believe in love, but lust. . . that’s undeniable.
Now they’re locked in a wicked game of seduction and it’s unclear who is playing who. But neither of them expected the affair to lead to the deepest connection they’ve ever experienced. Because beneath Taylor’s perfect exterior lies a need for love that mirrors Levi’s own.
As the heist approaches, how can Levi protect Taylor from the truth?
Is he willing to give up everything to save the one girl who’s made him want to be a better man?
I know I say this a lot, but I REALLY did not expect like this book so much. But I did. I really did. So... a little back story. I know I've talked about this (a lot) too, but I've come to find out that a huge number of New Adult book follow a formula these days - you know - two ridiculously hot main characters (plus points if the guy is all tattooed and just screams bad boy), lots and lots of sex, off-the-charts chemistry... and an earth-shattering secret that will pull them apart (for a while). I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about. And sometimes, the predictability of it all gets boring. REALLY boring. Never mind that the writing is sharp or the characters intriguing - sometimes you just want MORE from the story, you know? Well, actually, the main reason why I immediately give Perfect Betrayal a shot is because there seems to be a REAL plot - a real story - in this one, and praise the heavens, there actually IS!
Our main character, Levi, is in on a con to rob one of the wealthiest man in town of fifteen million dollars, and to do just that, he needs to work on the inside. He gets a job working maintainance for the Hudsons, and the (inside) job seemed simple enough - do recon, figure out where the safe is, tell The Boss where it is, get the money, and get out. He however never counted on Taylor Hudson to pose a distraction from what he's really trying to do inside the house. Off the bat, the attraction is palpable between Levi and Taylor. They do eventually give in to it... but they never expected feelings to come into play.
I really liked the slow burn of the whole 'will we? or won't we?' between Levi and Taylor. It was never love at first sight, but little by little, they stop fighting the attraction. While it wasn't long (but longer than two chapters, thank you very much) before they hook up, it took them longer to willingly start to get to know each other... and for there to be something more. Their relationship was a careful mixture of subtle and strong - the physical attraction was always apparent, always there, but the little things - the need to see each other, the need to always be with each other, took a while to play out. For me, this was what made what is going on between Levi and Taylor believable, and part of what had me hooked to the story.
As I've mentioned earlier, Taylor is introduced as your quintessential I-have-it-all rich girl, and she wasn't necessarily the most likeable of characters. I did like that she never pretended to be someone she wasn't though - she had people she liked, and she had people she couldn't care less about. She wasn't going to pretend otherwise. She wasn't your perfect, innocent girl - she has her own problems and issues, and she made it clear countless times that she will do all that she can to get what she wants. I did like that her character development had more to do with her own realizations than with Levi. While it was Levi who made her look at life differently, Taylor was the one who reconstructed herself - the one who put together a Taylor that she herself could wholeheartedly get behind.
From the first page, I was with Levi all the way. Never mind that he's technically about to commit a a crime; never mind that pursuing a relationship with the daughter of the man he's going to rob blind is just a disaster waiting to happen. Most of all... never mind that while he does end up feeling guilty about the heist, it has everything to do with how it will affect Taylor and nothing about the crime itself. There was never any meticulous exploration of Levi's past - we get a little stories here and there about his mother and father, and we gather enough to know that he just wants to be something... more. That's what he'll use the money for. I can't quite explain why (and I won't even try) I ended up liking Levi - all I know is that I want him to succeed. Something about him just tugged at my heartstrings, and that was it for me.
As I've mentioned earlier, I like that Perfect Betrayal has more of a plot in it than just Levi and Taylor's love story. We have the heist and everything that comes with it in every nook and cranny of the story - the careful planning, the fear that everything will all come crashing down over all their heads, the disappointment when not everything goes their way, and of course, the doubts. We were also made privy to so many relationships other than Levi and Taylor's - amongst others, there was the relationship between Taylor and Suzanne, the woman who was practically a mother to Taylor, and the relationship between Levi, Crystal, and Kyle - childhood friends and now (literally) partners-in-crime. I like how every aspect of the story fit so perfectly well with each other - there was no aspect that was glossed over.
I don't read that many New Adult books anymore, but I'm glad I gave this one a shot. I liked how Perfect Betrayal was subtle in some aspects of its storytelling, and how it made you read between the lines. While I do feel that the ending was a little rushed, it made me smile and feel a little wistful... and at the end of it all, satisfied.
Rating: 4 Stars