In the third installment of this e-serial, Bell’s quest for revenge is complicated with the interference of her Russian Mafia “godfather,” Micah. (If you recall, Micah and his henchmen kidnapped Bell at the end of the last novella). He knows that she’s up to something with the Gables, and he doesn’t want it interfering with his financial investment with the family. Bell knows that this is a serious wrinkle in her plan: “Micah will make sure that I don’t temper with his interests. If that means he has to kill me, that will happen.” The only reason he’s not getting involved now is because he told her mother that he would look out for her. Bell is more frightened than she’s been since the night her mother was taken from her.
Her impulse is to run to Lander’s, and she recognizes this irony: “I’m seeking comfort from the man I want to destroy, and the reason I need comfort is because someone is trying to keep me from destroying him.” But this visit with Lander is more than just comfort for her – it brings them even closer when Lander shares how much his own mother was betrayed by his father. And we learn that Travis is only his half-brother. In his pain and suffering, she finds a kindred spirit. “I do something that even surprises me. I reach over and take his free hand in mine. I’ve been underneath Lander, had him inside of me. I know what it’s like to have him caress my skin. I know what he tastes like. But other than a fleeting, thoughtless moment in the bedroom, this is the first time I’ve ever held his hand.” They have intense sex, and Bell knows “I will not have this man as my enemy. I will not destroy him.”
Bell starts re-formulating her plan so that she can bring down Travis and his father while shielding Lander from the worst of the fallout. She knows that Lander wants to take down Travis, too. But she’s disappointed when she finds that he still wants to preserve the corporation. Meanwhile, things get more complicated as Travis uses her as a double agent against Lander, and Lander uses her as a double agent against Travis.
Bell is amazed that for the first time in her life, “I have a new dream, one that doesn’t directly involve revenge.”
But that doesn’t mean revenge is off the table. Now it’s just a matter of how to bring down Travis and Edmund without destroying Lander, and without getting herself killed by Micah’s retribution. But at least she knows that she is no longer alone. In Lander, she has found her partner in crime.
This novella is probably my least favorite out of the installments. I enjoyed the romance between Lander and Bell, but the external tension felt weaker. Yes, Micah’s involvement added an additional risk. But it still feels abstract since it came in the third act of this particular part of the story. The big picture revenge plot is still unresolved, left for future installments of this series. I like Bell as a heroine and I’m rooting for her. But her relationship with Lander seemed like a fete accomplis from the earliest chapters, while the unresolved threads of the story are still open-ended by the last page. I know this is by design, but it’s not entirely satisfying. Still, I enjoyed this e-serial trilogy overall and I’m looking forward to the next part of the story. Until then, here’s my conversation with author Kyra Davis.
Deceptive Innocence, Part 3 by Kyra Davis
March 17, 2014/Pocket Star/$1.99