Review: With Good Behavior (Book #1: CONduct Series) by Jennifer Lane

Title: With Good Behavior Series: Book #1: The CONduct Series ISBN:  1936305267 (ISBN13: 9781936305261) Published: July 13, 2010 by Omnific Publishing  Literary awards:  Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Romance (2010)
Title: With Good Behavior
Series: Book #1: The CONduct Series
ISBN: 1936305267 (ISBN13: 9781936305261)
Published: July 13, 2010 by Omnific Publishing
Literary awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Romance (2010)

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Synopsis:

In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer’s door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

Source:  author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Sophie and Grant are having really, really bad mornings.  Though both have been released from prison early (for good behavior!) they are both meeting with their parole officer for the first time.  Jail was horrific but a parole office once a week for at least the next year is humiliating.  Add to that, for the rest of their lives, Sophie and Grant get to live with the stigma of being ex-cons and all that comes with that title.

Sophie is a good girl and going to jail was never, ever a part of her life’s plan.  However, early in her career as a psychologist, Sophie made a mistake and slept with one of her patients; certainly this wasn’t enough to send her to prison, right?  Right!  But, the fact that the patient is a criminal and stashed a load of stolen cash and guns in Sophie’s office and then fled, was enough to make Sophie an accomplice and send her to prison.  Rat bastard!

Grant is a good guy and going to jail was never, ever a part of his life’s plan.  After being rescued and adopted by his uncle as a child, Grant was on track to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and have a stellar Naval career.  However, one mistake, made to save his uncle’s life landed Grant in the middle of robbery gone bad and right on into a dishonorable discharge and prison.  Balls!

By chance, Sophie and Grant meet outside their parole officer’s office and it is interest and attraction at first sight!  Understandably, both are very, very cautious about beginning any sort of relationship as their parole officer (the awesome Jerry!) has them both on the hunt for jobs, setting up meetings with shrinks (Sophie) and, finding places to live that don’t involve criminals.  If either of them fails to meet all of Jerry’s requirements, they get a one-way ticket back to prison.  How in hell are two people supposed to start up a relationship with all this on their plates?  Well, they can start by working together.

Grant and Sophie do indeed begin working together on a delightful little cruise ship that educates tourists about the architecture of the area.  Both work hard and as they work together they also begin to trust one another and discover that maybe, just maybe if they allow themselves to trust they can also allow themselves to heal.  But before the true healing can begin both Sophie and Grant have to share their deepest, darkest secrets about their pasts with one another.  But, before both Grant and Sophie can do the big reveal, the past literally comes crashing in through Grant’s front door and ruins pretty much everything.  And this is where the crap really hits the fan: Sophie must face her estranged and very angry father; Grant must come face to face with his despicable family; Sophia must deal with the loss of Grant and; someone gets shot and Grant gets blamed.  That is a lot of crap to be hitting the fan J

The Bottom Line: I have only two complaints about With Good Behavior: 1) Grant’s constant angst.  Sure, given what he has been through, he deserves a bit of a pity-party but at some point, I really wanted Grant to get over it and man up.  He’s a sweet guy with good intentions but he had better toughen up if he expects to keep my attention.  2) The length of the read; while I am not really opposed to long reads, I found myself thinking in several places toward the end “What a good place to end this one!” but it wasn’t the end.

With my two complaints being noted, I have to say that those two things didn’t keep me from enjoying this read as a whole.  I like Sophie; she’s plucky and strong, good for Grant and, willing to work hard to correct the mistakes of her past.  BUT, Sophie is no longer willing to take crap from others and that makes her quite likeable.  Grant has a lot of potential for me and I am looking forward to seeing if he plucks up in book two.  Recommendations?  You bet!  This one will appeal to lovers of light suspense/mystery, family drama and, romance.  With Good Behavior is a solid read and the beginning of a series I think is going to get stronger with subsequent offerings.

A note about the cover: I really like this cover!  It’s simple, it’s direct and, once you read the book you understand how every element of the cover ties into the novel.  Excellent choices were made where this cover is concerned 🙂

Links to find/buy With Good Behavior (Book #1: CONduct Series):

Amazon          Barnes & Noble

Other books in the CONduct Series:

Title: Bad Behavior Series: Book #2: The CONduct series Author: Jennifer Lane Published: March 8, 2011 by Omnific Publishing (first published March 7, 2011)  ISBN:  1936305658 (ISBN13: 9781936305650)
Title: Bad Behavior
Series: Book #2: The CONduct series
Author: Jennifer Lane
Published: March 8, 2011 by Omnific Publishing (first published March 7, 2011)ISBN: 1936305658 (ISBN13: 9781936305650)

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Synopsis:

Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.

Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.

When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time — and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

Links to find/buy Bad Behavior (Book #2: CONduct Series):

Amazon          Barnes & Noble

On Best Behavior (Book #3: CONduct Series)

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Synopsis:

Planning a wedding is never easy—especially when the Russian Mafia wants you dead.

On Best Behavior—the third and final book in The Conduct Series—finds our favorite couple moving forward, despite the odds. Following a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, ex-cons Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finally free to pursue their love and the life that lies ahead for them. Grant now fights the forces that have hurt his loved ones by working undercover for the FBI, and he has infiltrated the Russian Mafia in Chicago. Sophie dives into swimming with Grant’s nephew, Ben, and into her career as a psychology professor. Thankfully, now it’s Ben’s turn to heal through therapy sessions with Dr. Hunter Hayes.

With so many things going right for Grant and Sophie, it’s too bad the Russians aren’t their only threat. When Grant’s father, Enzo Barberi, discovers his own son thwarted his plan to break out of prison, his overdeveloped sense of vengeance flares to life. As Sophie scrambles to save her fiancé, it’s impossible to say who will kill Grant first—the Russians or his Italian family. Can love triumph over evil? Are hard work and a pledge to be on best behavior ever enough?

Once again, author Jennifer Lane brings a harrowing tale of romantic suspense with a psychological twist, and it’s sure to leave readers breathless.

Expected date of publication: September 24, 2013

About the author and where to find her:

Jennifer LanePeople fascinate the psychologist/author (psycho author) known as Jennifer Lane. Her therapy clients talk to her all day long about their dreams and secrets, and her characters tell her their stories at night. Jen delights in peeling away the layers to scrutinize their psyches and emotions. But please rest assured, dear reader, she isn’t psychoanalyzing you right now. She’s already got too many voices in her head! Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is the author of The Conduct Series—-romantic suspense for adult readers—-and recently completed the third and final installment: On Best Behavior. Streamline is her first foray into writing for young and new adults, but she’s found this sort of writing even more fun. A former college swimmer, Jen was able to put a lot of her own experiences into this book. Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and hanging out with her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

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