Providence – Leigh Hays

4.5* – How did I not read this sooner? By the second or third page, I was all in.

Rebekiah Kearns didn’t want to inherit her best friend’s many millions, but trying to get rid of them isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. When she takes over Rebekiah as a client, wealth management consultant Lindsey Blackwell convinces her that she can do more good if she keeps the money than by donating them. “Do you trust me?” asks Lindsey.

That’s what Providence is about: trust. In all areas of life. One of the reasons Rebekiah feels burdened by Emma’s money is that, as a photographer, she spent the last year of her friend’s life documenting her dying, and it broke her. Convincing Lindsey to let her take photos of her, intimate photos of her, is all about trust. As is letting Lindsey in when both decide to stop fighting the attraction. Neither is used to trusting or letting go. Both have shut themselves off, in different ways — Rebekiah favours sex with friends, Lindsey chose her career over any kind of relationship — and for different reasons. Both have complicated relationships with their family. Both need more but only when they get together do they realise that.

The photoshoots at the beginning are tremendously sensual. Hays could have stopped there and I would have been happy. I’m happier that she didn’t, however. At first, Lindsey seems to be the one who needs/wants to get out of her comfort zone but as the story develops, Rebekiah gets more and more challenged. It’s no secret that I love power play in my romance novels (I’m versatile, I love vanilla sex too) and I enjoyed the shifting power dynamics a lot. I also loved both characters, they’re captivating and relatable. The secondary characters also have depth, except maybe Lindsey’s partner, despite the important role she plays in part of the story (there are many layers, I can’t get into them all without spoiling).

Providence is Leigh Hays’ debut novel, which impresses me even more. It came out a few months ago, but her second novel, Too Good to be True, will be released soon and as it’s set in the same universe and I’m a tad obsessive about reading series in order, I had to get to this one first. I’m now looking forward to Hays’ second book even more.

5-stars

Providence @ Bold Strokes Books

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