It’s Complicated by Joyce M. Holmes

It’s Complicated
By: Joyce M. Holmes
Publisher: Sweet Cravings Publishing
Published: April 28, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Sensual
Reviewer: Marchelle
Date: March 21, 2015


Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she'd had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family and to protect her own heart.

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter and another for the woman he loves.

He wants a real relationship, she's afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

Maggie Lapage is a youth counselor working at an outreach program assisting children and families in need. Tom O’Shay is a struggling artist who is not only struggling to make a living but also having a difficult time with his young daughter, Hailey. His ex-wife recently died, leaving custody of the child to her wealthy parents, Sebastian and Agnes Devetrie, in a final act of spite against him. His former in-laws, besides being filthy rich, are not his biggest fans and are doing everything they can to turn his daughter against him. He quickly gets a court order granting him temporary custody and on the advice of his lawyer, seeks a therapist to help Hailey deal with her feelings and all the changes she is being subjected to. Hailey is angry and confused about everything that is happening. She is acting out against her father and his heart is breaking for the pain his daughter is in. He just wants to help her through this difficult time and prove to her that he loves her more than anything, no matter what her grandmother tells her.

Maggie, although young, has a great deal of experience dealing with troubled kids and seems like the perfect solution. She is caring and kind while at the same time she is straightforward, direct and sometimes painfully honest. She begins working with Tom and his daughter and quickly becomes an advocate for keeping them together. However, while helping them, her own life seems to be taking some rocky turns. To make matters worse, personally, she wants to see Tom on a personal basis, but as a client, he is off limits. She can lose her job and everything she’s worked for if she pursues him.

Maggie is a great character. She is the perfect mix of a strong woman with a vulnerable side. She isn’t afraid to take what she wants or needs. The fact that she is passionate about helping people makes her likeable. When she speaks to the gallery owner about Tom’s paintings much to his annoyance and tells Tom what she has done on his behalf, he gets angry and they argue. She is unapologetic because she firmly believes what she was doing was for his own good. That was one of the best scenes in the book in my opinion. She is feisty and opinionated and stubborn but she truly has a heart of gold. She is very real. She also doesn't learn a lesson from Tom’s anger with her and continues to meddle in other aspects of his life.

I found this book very well-written and I loved the story. The characters were believable and true to life. I even found myself rooting for Nora, Maggie’s mom, and having a grudging respect for Sebastian Devetrie.

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