Smite Turner is a very damaged man. Raised by a mother who went mad and nearly killed him, he has made Justice his life's mission. A magistrate for the court, he's married to his duty. Nothing comes before his need to do right.
But when Miranda makes her second appearance as a witness in his courtroom, he remembers that she once went by a different name and had a different color hair. He doesn't know why she is pretending to be someone else now, but he is intrigued enough to follow her and confront her about it.
Miranda doesn't want to get in trouble, but she is indebted to a local crime boss. Either she does what's asked of her, or her young ward Robbie will pay the price. That was the reason she had jobs to do in and around the court and why Smite spied her there a third and fourth time. She tried to run from him, but he caught up with her --and that would have been bad enough-- but then Robbie saw the confrontation and lobbed Smite over the head. The fallout from that, and Robbie's later brush with the law, draws Smite and Miranda together over and over. Finally, he decides to no longer fight his attraction to her and asks her to be his mistress.
The arrangement is only supposed to last a month and feelings are never supposed to come into play. But Miranda can't help falling for Smite as she learns the intricacies of his character. She respects his devotion to his calling and understands the effects his childhood have had on him. And though Smite tries his hardest, Miranda cracks the tough shell he carries around him like a shield.
I really enjoyed the book and one of the things I liked best is that Courtney Milan didn't take the obvious route. When she's got her back up against the wall, Miranda doesn't make the eye-rolling, frustrating decisions most heroines in HR would. (You know, the one that would set up the big conflict readers know could have been avoided if she weren't a giant idiot.) She makes the smart choice instead. We don't have any big misunderstandings; any lies that loom over the path to happiness. The conflicts --both internal and external-- never felt contrived. They all felt organic to the characters and their circumstances.
I loved poor, screwed-up Smite. And that Milan didn't try to fix him. He simply found some measure of peace in the woman he loves. The romance is great; the pacing and action were just right; and the sex was satisfying too. Another winner from Courtney Milan.