It had been a long year for Billie Carter, but things were finally looking up.

She’d made a career-altering mistake at her D.C. law firm, and while the partners were reluctant to fire her, she knew they were relieved when she resigned. After six months of joblessness, though, her old lawschool chum offered her a plum job—with strings attached. Billie had to win over a headhunter and, once she did that, she would have to work with her ex-husband on a big case. The first part would be a piece of cake. The second part would almost ruin everything.

Erica Kent had discovered the truth about her paternity by mistake. It was a bigger mistake to confront powerful Jonah Nolan about it because now he wanted to control her life, for her own good, he claimed. But Erica was fully capable of making decisions and finding her own love. Wasn’t she?

Oh, my. Where do I begin?

Let’s start with this: I fully believe there are way too many characters in this book; eight of them before you’re even at the end of page three. Add in an extremely convoluted tangle of infidelity that ultimately matters little to the storyline and you’re off to a not-so-good start.

If it got better, I would tell you. But I can’t.

From this weak opening, more characters are added: manipulators, alcoholics, liars, sniping “girls,” not much to like. The scandals are ho-hum, toss in a silly faux-intrigue story-with-a-story, and it’s all quite hard to follow. No matter: I pretty much stopped caring long before the contrived ending is revealed.

There are better books out there—some, by author Angela Winters! but I just can’t recommend this one. You may want to try “Nothing to Lose” but I don’t see anything to gain by it.

(“Nothing to Lose” by Angela Winters, c.2013, Kensington, $15/$16.95 Canada, 320 pgs.)

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