The Rebel (Harlequin Intrigue) - Adrienne Giordano

Bad to the bone…in all the right ways

 

A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider -- at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

 

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn't want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

 

Loved this book, the latest in the series about the Hennings family and their friends/coworkers. It begins with a Chicago detective finding a skull while walking his dog. Five years later the victim has still not been identified and the detective is looking for help. Enter Amanda, an artist and sculptress, who the detective asks to do a reconstruction from the skull. She initially refuses, but is overheard by Mrs. Hennings, David's mother. She talks him into seeing if he can convince Amanda to take on the project.

 

David has just moved back to Chicago after living and working in Boston for several years. He has never felt like he fit in with his family of rather intense criminal lawyers. As the oldest, he was expected to join the family firm, but that wasn't what he wanted to do. Being able to live his own life took moving far away from his family. But now he wants a chance to mend fences and connect with them again. He doesn't expect his mom to rope him into her latest project. He especially doesn't expect the instant attraction between himself and Amanda. I really enjoyed seeing how he showed his individuality, and loved the motorcycle riding, bad boy image.

 

Amanda is very reluctant to take on the forensic sculpture job. Her mother had done that before her death and Amanda remembers all too well the emotional trauma that it caused her. Thanks to her mother's extreme emotional highs and lows, Amanda has led a life that she works hard to keep on an even keel. She avoids anything that could wind her up, until David appears at her door. The man is seriously sexy and has a way of overcoming all her misgivings. As soon as she agrees to help, her life goes completely crazy.

 

Within hours of her agreement, the building where she lives and works is shut down, her bank accounts are frozen, and the plaster cast of the skull is stolen. Many of her paintings are destroyed in another attack. Throughout it all, David is at her side as they try to track down who is doing these things, and why. David is determined to protect her from whoever is causing the problems. As they try to track the clues they uncover, it becomes obvious that someone doesn't want her to finish what she started. It was really interesting to see the way it all came together. I was totally surprised by who was behind it and the reasons for their actions. I could not put it down until I finished it.

 

I loved seeing the relationship grow between David and Amanda. The chemistry was hot from the very beginning. I liked the way that David accepted it and wanted to pursue it. I loved the way that he saw her hesitation and understood what caused it, but he wasn't going to give up. Amanda fought her feelings hard. She didn't want to deal with the riot of emotions that being around him brought out. I loved seeing the way that they balanced each other. David brought a sense of fun and spontaneity to Amanda's life, and Amanda's calm helped to temper David's volatility. I loved how they realized that neither was perfect, that their relationship would always be a work in progress.

 

The family dynamics were wonderful. David was mentioned in previous books, and I always got the impression that he wanted nothing to do with them. In this book we got to see what had driven him away. I loved seeing him come home wanting to be part of the family again. The relationship he has with his mom is a good one. I loved seeing the way that she was able to get him to do exactly what she wanted him to do, and that he saw what she was doing and didn't resist. He gives a great description of his relationship to his mom when he's talking to Amanda about her. I liked that he and his brother didn't really have any problems between them and got along well. It was the relationship with his sister Penny that had the most turmoil. There were times that I wanted to smack her, because she really seemed to be doing her best to piss him off. She definitely came off as being something of a spoiled brat. David made up his mind that he wanted to fix things, but stopping the bickering was harder than he thought it would be. There were a few moments when I thought they were never going to get through it. Once again their mom steps in, and I loved seeing her lay down the law.