GILDED SECRETS – Maureen Child
The Highest Bidder , Book 1
Harlequin Desire #2168
ISBN: 978-0-373-73181-7
July 2012
Series Romance

New York City – Present Day

A scandal threatens Waverly's auction house, and Vance Waverly will do anything to protect his family's business. Whispers in the press are that Waverly's CEO, Ann Richardson, is having an affair with a rival, while there are inklings that someone is tapping into Waverly's secrets. Vance needs to put a lid on the gossip, and he looks around to see who could be the mole. His first glance lands on his newest personal assistant, Charlotte “Charlie” Potter. She's a beautiful blonde and appears to love her job, but is the interest in their acquired auction items because she is taking inventory for their rival? Vance intends to find out…even if he has to romance her.

Charlie is a single mother determined to rise out of the bad luck she has fallen into since arriving in New York. She does indeed love her job, but the same day that the newspapers hit about the scandal involving Ann, a mysterious email arrives in her inbox threatening to expose Charlie's secrets and prove she's an unfit mother unless she send them certain files. Nervous and scared, Charlie begins to act strange and attracts the attention of Vance. He appears nice and concerned, but is it all an act?

The first book in The Highest Bidder series, GILDED SECRETS, starts with a bang of two possible scandals and the search for a missing artifact. Waverly's handles elite auction items that are certain to wow the wealthy looking to score an elusive deal. Their CEO denies the rumors of an affair, but why would anyone even attempt to link her with their rival? Vance's half-brother, Roark, is off on another venture to secure a topnotch piece of jewelry for the company and suggests Vance work on getting Charlie's secrets—in any way he can. For Vance, he is already intrigued by Charlie, but his attraction scares this confirmed bachelor. But to woo Charlie, he's going to have to accept her young son as part of the deal.

Charlie is taken by surprise when Vance starts paying attention to her on a personal level. She's already been duped by one suave male that resulted in her getting pregnant, so she's wanting to tread carefully. But Vance is persistent and, finally, she gives into him and spills her secrets and he's angry, especially that the blackmailer has made threats. He moves Charlie and her son into his home and her into his bed. Slowly and surely, Charlie falls for Vance. But he is her employer, and they are so different from each other. How can there be any chance of a future together?

Get yourself immersed in this intriguing series revolving around auctions and the people involved in them.  As the first book in a series, GILDED SECRETS weaves together many characters, yet the romance between Vance and Charlie remains front and center. Pick up this enjoyable tale that will leave a smile on your face.

Patti Fischer