A tyrant by day, a playboy by night. That is the reputation that precedes Richard VanRyan. He lives life the way he wants, no concern for the opinion of others. He cares for no one, is completely unrepentant, and he has no desire to change his ways.
Katharine Elliott works under Richard as his PA. She despises him and his questionable ethics, but endures all the garbage he sends her way, because she needs the job. Her end goal is far more important than the daily abuse and demands she tolerates from her nasty tyrant of a boss.
Until the day, he asks her for something she never expected. A new role with a personal contract — fiancée instead of PA.
What happens when two people who loathe each other, have to live together and act as though they are madly in love?
That’s what happens.
Can the power of love really change a person?
Hate to love. Involvement of contracts. Jerk changing his ways. Nothing unique about the plot but Melanie Moreland definitely put those tropes to good use and added her own flavor to it.
The Contract by Melanie Moreland is embedded with some of my favorite tropes and so I found myself gobbling it up page after page. It’s an easy read that offers a good kind of drama and slow burn romance (which I love so much). The story is fairly predictable and cliched but instead of being turned off by it, it made me even more eager to finish the whole thing. I became so curious with the events that transpired from point A to point B and I can say that Moreland surely knows how to create a good build up and has a way of evoking emotions out of her readers.
Richard VanRyan is such an asshole and I want to smack him. I’m not a violent person but that was the exact thought that popped into my head the first time Richard and his assistant, Katharine Elliott, had an interaction. He made her run errands here and there, he kept on judging her, he yells at her – just uses his authority in full. It’s bad. Despite him being an asshole, I still carried on reading because I was interested on how his character will be redeemed and I was excited to see the changes in him (and on how he acts towards Katy).
And Moreland did not disappoint.
“When you get older, Richard, you realize life is made up of moments. All sorts of them. Sad ones, good ones, and great ones. They make up the tapestry that is your life. Hold on to all of them — especially the great ones. They make the others easy to take.”
There’s more to the asshole front that Richard’s sporting. He’s one tough nut to crack but as you went deeper into the story, you’ll notice how he’s shedding one layer after another. Even though there were times that Katy has to force him to spill the beans. His ideals in life and how he reacts on things were the results of his scarred past. Still not an excuse to be an asshole. The Contract was written through Richard and Katy’s POV (but mostly through Richard’s) which basically showcased his character and its development. It was amusing reading how his thoughts, thought process and actions towards Katy (and the people surrounding him) gradually changes. He slips up but the desire to change his ways was there.
Katy surprised me in a lot of ways. Her past. Her personality. Reading about her through Richard’s eyes during the first few chapters brought pain in me because he talks and thinks about her rudely. Being treated like that, why would she even sign the contract and endure everything Richard sends her way? Just like Richard, I know there’s so much more to her character. What she went through in the past and what she’s experiencing in the present is hard. A real challenge but she would endure it for the sake of her loved one. She’s in a really precarious situation and Richard’s offer just came at the perfect time.
On a lighter note, it was fun reading how she kept on surprising Richard at every turn and endlessly proving him wrong on things that he thought of her. Especially during those parts wherein she showed him that she has a backbone of her own and that she knows how to stand up for herself too.
The romance between them is actually tied to Richard’s character development. Love changes a person kind of thing. The progress of their relationship was visible and everything flowed (felt) so organic. It was so well-done. I was completely teased by their interactions. Their shared kisses, hugs and hushed conversations sparked a fire in my heart. Slow burn at its finest.
Every side character (Penny, Gavin, Laura, Jenna and everyone else) played a big role in the story and on Richard’s life. Just like everything in this story, the movement and growth between all of them felt natural. You can see their relationships blossoming with every interaction that they have and resulting to them becoming a one big and happy family by the end of the story.
“None of my cruelness changed you. Instead, your sweetness changed me, Katy. You and Penny brought out that little boy who could still love.”
The Contract speaks about second chances, honesty and the power of love to change people. Love doesn’t make us weak but instead it gives us strength and urges us to be a better person. How human beings have the capability to change if they put their 100% to it and if they are surrounded by the right people who give them love and support.
Moreland also released The Contract 1.5, The Baby Clause, and it was the perfect combination of fun, sweet and heartwarming. I wish it was longer, though. I want to read more of Richard and his dad moments. ❤