Filthy Rich, Book #3
Heat Factor: Frequently interrupted, so there’s lots of foreplay, but full penetration doesn’t happen until the very end. It must be noted that Lopez’s sex writing is top-notch, with or without penetration.
Character Chemistry: Is there a grade higher than A+?
Plot: I must protect you! / I am a powerful woman, but I accept your protection.
Overall: A satisfying end to the series
A central theme of the Filthy Rich trilogy is the misogynistic bullshit that powerful women face from their underlings and competitors, but Cenobia Trujillo probably “wins” this one. She’s a young, female CEO of a Mexican car company; even her father seems to doubt her, as he continues to encourage her to take a less active role in the family company so she can settle down and have some babies. Cen has some major obstacles in her way as she works to launch a Mexican-made hybrid car, so the last thing she needs is a scary and credible threat against her life.
Enter Roman. Roman owns a security company and is very very good at his job. He also happens to already know Cen, because he rescued her when she was kidnapped thirteen years earlier.
Let me pause here. In another writer’s hands, there is huge potential for some serious ick-factor in Cen and Roman’s relationship. She was kidnapped as a teenager and he rescued her. She therefore has a serious case of hero worship going on. However, Lopez deftly navigates the fraught dynamic of Roman is the only person Cen feels safe with, while also demonstrating that they are developing a new relationship as equals. It helps that Cen is a major boss and that Roman recognizes that fact. His explicit goal is to provide security so that she doesn’t have to spend her brain space on thinking about it—she has more important things to worry about. So while the external trappings of a standard bodyguard romance are there, the emotional underpinnings for Roman’s take-charge behavior are not your standard fare.
But on with the plot! This is by far the most “suspense-y” of the trilogy, in that the mystery and action are integral to the story. Roman guards Cen, but tries to keep his distance, but then the threat is elevated, which throws them into closer proximity. And, of course, as a classic damaged warrior type, Roman can’t love because of a promise he made and his tragic past. I generally have little patience for brooding alpha heroes who are simultaneously up in their feelings and completely emotionally constipated, but Roman and Cen do have a great dynamic and the mystery of who is targeting her keeps the forward momentum going.
It helps that Cen is a really wonderful character. The trauma of her kidnapping has absolutely shaped her, and Lopez does not shy away from showing the myriad ways that Cen’s life and outlook were impacted because of her experiences. (Bonus points for frequent mentions of therapy.) But she’s also driven and focused on using her gifts and privilege and power to make the world better, but like, not in a sappy way, though there is a lot of focus on the whole Spiderman power/responsibility thing.
Also of note: there are lots of descriptions of clothing in this book. I could always picture exactly how the characters were put together. Roman’s clothes are perhaps described in even more exquisite detail than Cen’s, which felt like a nice little role reversal.
I will say that I’m not sure that this book entirely stands alone. The final third of the book takes place in the Monte, i.e. the Imaginary Benevolent Monarchy ruled by Roman’s half-brother and half-sister. A lot of the processing he does to get to true love while there relies on him referring back to their journeys (but without going into spoilery details), so those who are jumping into the trilogy now may find these bits confusing or not just not that meaningful.
Overall? This was a hot, propulsive read and a satisfying conclusion to the series.
Content note: Cen was raped during her kidnapping, and the characters discuss her experience.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
Looking for something similar?