A well-written book but almost zero tension. Everytime I thought the author had managed to build an angle for HP-style tension, it was quickly diffuseA well-written book but almost zero tension. Everytime I thought the author had managed to build an angle for HP-style tension, it was quickly diffused. I feel that there was a lot of potential here. Tough-minded executive hero of Russian heritage, poor little rich girl with daddy issues, forced marriage scenario. But it turns out where everyone is really nice to each other, and even though Viktor blew off Madison years ago and they weren't friends in the interim, it takes a short discussion to clear all that up. A slightly longer discussion has them agreeing to get married. Sex works out perfectly, and while Viktor has sowed his wild oats, Madison has kept her aged hymenal status for an incredible to believe twenty-four years. I'm being a bit sarcastic, but that was a big irritating that such a huge deal was made about her being a virgin so long. Yeah, I know that most people aren't virgins into their twenties, I think that way too much of a deal was made of it. And I found it irritating that while Madison couldn't feel that way about other men, Viktor was able to have his share of sexual attachments in the interim. When asked why he didn't take her up on her offer at eighteen, his answer is too glib for my tastes. "It's marriage or nothing with you." But I guess women who aren't Madison can be used to slake his sexual urges with no emotional entanglement. *Rolls eyes." I'm all for virginity. I like virgin heroines. But I really hate that double standard for men. It sticks in my craw. Your mileage my vary. Of course after marriage, declarations of love occur equally smoothly. It's all too smooth for me.
Yeah, that's the problem. Everything felt too copacetic in this book. I guess that would be fine if you were looking for an easygoing romance where everything is assured, despite a sticky beginning. I wasn't.
I did like the descriptions of Viktor's grandparents Russian marriage customs, and the family drama aspect almost created more tension, almost.
I think this is a perfectly fine book if you're in that headspace where you don't want too much drama and tension. But usually, I reach for a Harlequin Presents because that's exactly what I'm looking for. So it failed to meet my needs.
I would say that this is worthy of 3.5 stars. I took off a star and a half because there's practically no tension and the obnoxious virginity hype/double standard was irritating.
I think Jennie Lucas might give Lynne Graham a run for her money with the sweet, naive heroine theme. Josie is as sweet as they come. She really seemsI think Jennie Lucas might give Lynne Graham a run for her money with the sweet, naive heroine theme. Josie is as sweet as they come. She really seems out of her league with Kasimir. It seems like shooting fish in the barrel. But Kasimir never knew what hit him. Before he knew it, his plans for revenge that involved Josie were flying away like birdies, and he was stone cold in love.
Jennie Lucas understands the appeal of escapist fantasy romance and she delivers it. While most of the readers of this genre won't know what it's like to swept off our feet by a ruthless billionaire, and probably don't want it in real life, Lucas gives us a 2 hour read that allows us to explore the possibilities. That's why I like this series of books so much. It's a different world and I like that I can spend two hours in that world.
Kasimir is a very bad man. Well, at least he was. I mean, he wants to be. But I think deep down, he's a decent fellow who forgot what was important in life. He lost everything, and when you lose everything, you have nothing to lose. Josie teaches him what it means to love and to sacrifice for love. She teaches him what it means to be a genuine person. And she teaches him to follow his heart and love passionately.
I really liked the first book, Dealing Her Final Card, but I think I liked this one even more. It felt more like Princess fantasy. I liked that they are actually married, and she's not just a mistress. And I think the change in Kasimir is more dramatic than in Vladimir. I also think it's because this was not a reunion romance. The feelings between Josie and Kasimir develop on the page before my mesmerized eyes, and I enjoyed every page of it.
Plus the ending was so sweetly romantic, it made me sigh.
I can't rate this very highly because it felt rather tame and didn't really touch my emotions. I read this on a Harlequin Presents Weekend Binge, andI can't rate this very highly because it felt rather tame and didn't really touch my emotions. I read this on a Harlequin Presents Weekend Binge, and while I enjoy those, just picking books randomly from my Pile o' Harlequin Presents, sometimes you get this feeling of incongruity when you read a book that isn't as intense and emotional as the other ones. Unfortunately, this book felt like the ugly stepsister because I was 'feeling' the other books I read so much this weekend.
Patricia Wilson is a proven vintage Harlequin Presents author. I really enjoy her books and she has more than a few that are all time faves for me. However, no author has a completely winning streak. This one is just decent. Not bad, but not particularly memorable.
What I liked:
*I really liked Brett, Kit's grandfather. I love how Charley immediately bonded with the old man, and how he approved of her and liked her. *Kit's possessive/jealous leanings. I am unrepentant about my love for jealous/possessive heroes. He could have been more demonstrative of those traits, but I liked it when I saw it. *Overall, Charley was a heroine that I liked. She's a bit on the meek side, but that doesn't bother me as much as it might some readers.
What didn't impress me:
*Kit's way of treating Charley was weird. He sent out so many mixed signals. He admitted at the end that he needed to stop lying and I totally agree. If I was Charley, I think I would have had whiplash at how often Kit's behavior changed. *I didn't like the whole Antebellum thing. I think it's my own personal issues with that time period in US History and so it rubbed me the wrong way. *The evil other woman plot didn't impress me much. I did like that Brett couldn't stand her but he liked Charley.
I think I have high expectations for the authors I really like, so when I read books by them that are just okay or decent, it's disappointing. I think I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn't read it between two really intense, dramatic books. It was a cute book overall....more
A nice old school Harlequin Presents. Jonas has a repressed/dark/seething vibe that I found intriguing. Jonas is intense! He and Cassandra apparentlyA nice old school Harlequin Presents. Jonas has a repressed/dark/seething vibe that I found intriguing. Jonas is intense! He and Cassandra apparently couldn't stand each other. So why was he demanding marriage from her? This is one of those books that works better if you don't have the hero's POV. You have to use your imagination on what the hero is thinking and why he does what he does until the last few pages, and then you get the reveal and all is good.
It's a guilty pleasure of mine, but I love the blackmail marriage theme. It's harder to pull off in the newer books because most readers aren't going to go for a book with a heroine-limited POV, and it would almost surely spoil it if you know what the hero's thinking in this scenario. I think it can be done, but it would take some skills.
I liked that Cassandra decided to dive in and find out about the relationship between Jonas and his father. There is clearly something very wrong, and it very much affects her since she was married to his half-brother (she's his widow). Jonas's bitterness and lack of trust can be linked right back to his troubled relationship with his father, and secrets that come to be revealed about his father's marriage. It wasn't just selfish on her part, though. She correctly felt like it was destroying Jonas and he was missing out on a genuine relationship with his father, and she wanted to help, out of love for him.
I felt like Jonas was a "still waters run deep" guy when it came to his feelings for Cassandra (or at least I read them into his interactions with her). He is very fixated on her, and has been since they first met. I didn't think it was just about her having been married to his brother (and spillover resentment for his brother). I liked how the reveal wasn't just about their relationship, but how everything in Jonas' family's dysfunctional dynamic affected Jonas and his relationships as a grown man.
I liked his relationship with Cassandra's daughter, and it was an integral part of the story. You could see that he had a soft aspect to his personality in the way he bonded with her. He will definitely be a good father. He also did things for Cassandra that her first marriage didn't. She loved Charles, but Charles was kind of immature for his age, and she felt like the parent. With Jonas, he is able and willing to be the husband who is a protector and provider for his wife. While Cassandra is an independent woman, I think even self-sufficient women want a man who they feel will carry his weight as a partner/husband.
This book is a good read, not just a romance book, but a book about the way that family relationships can affect our ability to relate with others in our adult lives, and that we need to seek healing so we can move on and love others in a healthy way. I was glad that even though things worked out with Jonas and Cassandra, he also reestablished a relationship with his father and knew how much his father loved him. This one's worth seeking out, in my opinion....more
Pamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor sePamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor seemed immature and lacked the intensity of Iain and Morgan to me in the prior books, but he has definitely come into his own. If anything, Connor carries a more weighty burden due to his guilt over his actions in the aftermath of Morgan's abduction by the French. This burden has made his soft edges iron-hard and razor sharp, but it has not blunted the integrity that is such an intrinsic aspect of the MacKinnons. Readers who love Scottish heroes will adore Connor, although many of them have already read this book and don't need me to tell them that. Connor is delicious. While I don't really care for ladies' men, Connor's way with women is part of the texture that makes him the hero he is. I feel that his character grows and evolves even over this book, and things he thought didn't matter to him become readily apparent as his love for Sarah grows. This is a book for die-hard romance fans, as the reader is treated to a intimate view of Connor and Sarah falling deeply in love even though that seems impossible when this book begins. Their relationship is both sweet and very steamy, and that balance is very hard to achieve without sacrificing something. Ms. Clare definitely hit on both cylinders with this book.
Sarah was a very appealing heroine. My heart was won over by her sweetness and courage and her integrity. It was painful to read about how her family betrayed and turned their backs on her by not trusting and believing in the person she was, even in light of the terrible scandal that unfolded. Especially from people who supposed to be believing Christians. They showed little of who Christ is and stands for in the way they treated their daughter. It was interesting that the one family member who stood by her and truly loved her was Wentworth. Now many will say awful things about the man, but even at his worst, I still find him to be a fascinating and magnetic character. And since I do like bad boys, I can honestly say I have crush on him. His behavior went both to new heights and depths in this book, but ultimately, he won my allegiance in how he showed true love for Sarah. I cannot wait to read his story, so I hope that it comes to fruition and soon! But I know I was talking about Sarah, so let me get back to her. Sarah is also a complex character. She is a noblewoman, but deep down, her heart is very heart-to-earth and genuine. Her love of music touched me because I can identity with that joy of music, although my own musical talent is much more limited. While she experiences some terrible events in this journey to the New World, I believe it was her destiny to come here so she could be the person she was intended to be. England was way too small for her. She is a powerful, brave and capable woman. She was born to be Connor MacKinnon's woman. No doubt about it.
Ms. Clare shows impeccable research and a sense of the period in this novel. She doesn't tiptoe around the savagery and the violence that was an integral part of this period in colonial history. Her portrayal of people shows a lot of depth. There are no stereotypes in this novel. The natives have the same potential to be noble and honorable as the whites. Both show equal potential for acts of brutality. For a lifelong student and a fan of history, books like this bring home that reading about these events provides a safe distance that those who lived back then did not have the luxury to experience. This draws me into the story and makes me feel things as I read. Not always positive, but very impacting, making for an unforgettable reading experience.
While Defiant is an excellent read, it's not a book to gobble down. So much happens and the small details are crucial and should not be rushed through. As an avid reader, there is a tendency to read with an eye towards finishing a book and moving onto the next one of the pile. Pamela Clare is an author that you don't want to do that with. You want to sit and savor her writing. I was glad that I took the time to do that with Defiant. This series is a fantastic example of the high quality of writing available in the writing genre. I definitely recommend it to readers who want a larger-than-life historical adventure rife with passion and incredible detail.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! ...more
**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read thi**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read this book. If you tolerate or don't mind this content, then you may like this book despite that material. **
This book was recommended to me on a forum somewhere (perhaps for the objectionable content above). I must have ordered it to see how that was handled. I am curious about how authors were able to approach questionable content and still 1) get published, 2) gain a following, 3)write a book that others will recommend. I think that many readers have enough intelligence and self-awareness to read a book in which questionable content occurs and take it as written and either decide they can deal with the way it was written and treat it as fiction that doesn't espouse or endorse said behavior in real life, or decide that it didn't work for them. As I grow older, I have gotten very intolerant to rape (between the leads) in a romance. Let's face it, back in the 80s, it was hard to avoid this content, so you just dealt with it. Now, it's rare, and I think that is a reflection of the times. I never really liked it, to be honest. ( I am okay with forced seduction, but that does read different in a book. (although in real life, rape is rape) I think it's because the prevalence of violence against women (and the manner in which it is addressed) that occurs in society has sensitized me to this issue. Let me say this here and now: Spousal rape is a real thing, and it is 100% wrong. That's my official stance on it. That doesn't mean that I will give a book 1 star just because it has spousal rape or non-consent sexual encounters without consideration of other factors.
In this book, it was rather shocking to me. Not that it was graphically depicted, but that the writer didn't try to dress it up as anything other than rape. I believe that the author handled the subject matter responsibly and I feel that the hero was both sorry for what he did and realized how serious his action was. He didn't expect forgiveness, although he did ask for it. The heroine didn't accept blame for what happened or write it off, or assume that he had to right to rape her just because he was her husband (and Thank God for that). It was something she had to process emotionally and I was overall okay with the way the characters dealt with it. In the context of a fiction novel, I can see such a situation and deal with it. In reality, no. In my mind, I face the reality of this situation in light of a US senator's recent comment dismissing spousal rape, and it gives me a sick feeling inside. I wonder if that was a coincidence that I read this book a couple of days after seeing what this senator said. Maybe, but since I don't live in a vacuum, I can't really dismiss that coincidence.
So what do I think about this book?
I don't know if it was a very comfortable book to read on many levels.
Normally, I love the marriage of convenience theme, and I like when the heroine is reluctant to fall in love with the hero and he has to woo her. I don't feel this book is a good representation of the timelessness of this theme. First of all, while I could understand Cara's reluctance to warm to her husband, I still feel that her treatment of him was immature and mean-spirited. I am not talking about the rape situation right now, let me be clear. Right now, I am talking about her attitude for the majority of the book. In my mind, she had a choice to marry Nicholas, and she agreed to marry him in good faith. Nicholas treated her kindly, was willing to give her space and room, and he was tolerant of her meanness. The way she treated him made her seem like a big baby and I admit it made her less likable. Considering that he was helping her family out of a situation that her father engineered (although there was definitely some self-interest on his part), she seemed very unbalanced in her enmity towards Nicholas compared to her father and brothers, who were essentially willing to sell their daughter/sister to a man to save their own butts. Not to mention she is used as a dogsbody in the family. There is a lot of unaddressed pathology in this family in the background of this book.
This is one of those books where the term 'enjoying' doesn't really apply. It was a painful situation, because you could see that Nicholas was deeply in love with Cara, but Cara had emotional problems stemming from her childhood that were never addressed or dealt with. I suppose that is an example of carrying baggage into a marriage that makes it very difficult for a marriage to survive. In this case, we have a tidy(ish) ending that makes you hopeful that their marriage will survive. I guess I feel that their chances are good, but in my mind, I feel that Cara and Nicholas both need to go to marriage counseling to deal with their issues and to learn how to communicate. While the rape was a huge issue, it was the tip of the iceberg of the issues they have in their marriage, and one would hope they are able to deal with these issues in a healthy fashion and keep their marriage together.
I guess I would give this book three stars because I wasn't overly satisfied with the subject matter treatment or with the story on an emotional level. I think that the author is a good writer, and it definitely kept me interested, although sometimes it felt like a train wreck about to happen. Sometimes, that kind of fun with Harlequin Presents, but not in this case.
Intense Vintage Harlequin Romance that reads like a Harlequin Presents. It certainly has all the trappings: incredibly beautiful but cold and unawakenIntense Vintage Harlequin Romance that reads like a Harlequin Presents. It certainly has all the trappings: incredibly beautiful but cold and unawakened heroine, dark, brooding, and scary hero. Revenge, oh the revenge. Leo, the hero calls himself "The Eagle", and he tells Sabrina that he's her enemy. Actually, her father is his enemy. But he died before Leo could exact his revenge. Sabrina wasn't that fond of her father, either. In fact, she hated him for who cruel he was to her and her mother. But Daddy Dearest left all his holdings to Sabrina, and she's not going to sit idly by and let the board do all the dirty dealings her father was known for. I was very impressed with Sabrina in how she went into the board meeting, and showed the good old boys that she knew her stuff. She made them well aware that she wasn't going to stand for their old way of doing things, while they were willing to put a thousand people out of work, and maintain their high expense accounts and corporate cars. She got a bravo for that.
In her dealings with Leo, Sabrina was in over her head. Leo is definitely on the cruel hero side. He's a take no prisoners hero. Very ruthless in his dealings with her business and with her. When the big reveal comes about how he loved her since he first saw her, it's a bit hard to believe, based on how he treats her (although he doesn't ever hit or harm her physically and doesn't rape her). When he makes her believe he filed for a quicky divorce, I thought that was fairly cruel. But, he maintains he did it so that she'd admit her feelings for him. Sabrina doesn't get off the hook. She says some pretty cruel things to Leo as well. I tried to remind myself that as far as she knew, they were truly enemies, and Leo married her for revenge alone.
So why the four stars? The drama, the intensity, the good writing. The climax was written to make both characters well aware of what they were at risk for losing, and Leo comes through wonderfully when Sabrina's life is in jeopardy. I probably read some of Madeleine Ker's books when I was a kid. I read pretty much every Harlequin and Harlequin Presents I could get my hand on growing up. Unfortunately, I forgot many of those books. But, Ms. Ker's writing is excellent. She paints vivid pictures, and they are quite iconic. The drama level is built through every interaction between the characters. It's never garish, but has a natural intensity. I could see Leo as the Eagle, and Sabrina as the Ice Maiden. Even though the love scenes weren't descriptive, you could see the passion there. So, I was very impressed with this story.
If you want a good old school Harlequin that will bring on the drama, but in a very elegant fashion, I'd recommend this one. Reading this book makes me long for more new books in these lines that have this same level of intensity, passion and risk. It's why I search long and hard for these oldies to enjoy. I hope to find more of Ms. Ker's books to read....more
This was such a fun book. It had some elements that could have made it fairly angsty, but it was handled in such a way that I was able to sit back andThis was such a fun book. It had some elements that could have made it fairly angsty, but it was handled in such a way that I was able to sit back and enjoy the Harlequin Presents-style drama.
Natasha is the prim, buttoned up type. She hides her lush curves and good blond and blue-eyed looks behind proper suits and tied-up hair, but Leo has had his eye on her for a while. Too bad she's engaged to his step-brother. But Leo gets his chance with Natasha when they catch Rico in a compromising position in his office--with none other than Natasha's sister. Leo is there to pick up the pieces of Natasha's bruised heart (or at least her ego). Rico was never good enough for her, but she was flattered that he wanted her, and not her younger, slimmer, and more flashy pop star sister. But apparently, Rico only wanted her for the fact that his mother liked her.
Leo has been cleaning up messes after his step-brother for far too long, out of loyalty to his step-mother, whom his deceased father loved very much. But the straw that breaks the camel's back is when Rico steals money from the business, and then cheats on his fiancee with her sister.
Leo is trying to be noble when it comes to Natasha, but he steals a kiss, or a few. And he wants more. When he finds out that she colluded with his brother to steal his money, all bets are off. She can't get access to the money for six weeks, so she'll spend those six weeks as his mistress, so he can work her out of his system. He couldn't believe he fell for her Miss Prim act, when she was more like his traitorous ex-wife all the time. But it turns out that what he saw with Natasha is what he got. When he takes her virginity, Leo is honor bound to offer marriage (yeah, that was the only reason!). But, Natasha isn't about to trust her heart to a man who doesn't even trust or like her.
There is a battle of wits and passions between this couple that I found highly enjoyable. It was such a refresher. Something about this kind of Harlequin Presents drama that keeps me entertained and takes me out of the mundane world. Yes, Natasha has some emotional ups and downs, but her insecurities felt realistic to her, considering that she was adopted by her parents when they thought they couldn't have kids, and then shuffled to the background when their miracle natural daughter came five years later. Since then, she's watched out for her sister, and kept her out scrapes, managing her pop singing career, and getting no thanks for it. So, it made sense that she doubted Leo's feelings for her.
Michelle Reid is a great writer. She pours passion and emotion into her books, that keeps my eyes glued to the page. This one was a little lighter for her, but not lacking in substance for me. It was a quick, diverting read that I loved. For me, definitely a five star read. ...more
Revenge as a plot in a romance has a powerful allure for me. It's built-in tension. And I love tension in my romances. Vincenzo has every reason to haRevenge as a plot in a romance has a powerful allure for me. It's built-in tension. And I love tension in my romances. Vincenzo has every reason to hate Cara. He believes that she's partly responsible for his sister's death, and he plans to make her pay. When he meets Cara, he is affected in a way that he's not comfortable with, by her beauty and her appeal, her genuine nature. She doesn't seem like the heartless jade he believes her to be. But he goes ahead with his revenge plan, taking her back to his hotel, sleeping with her, revealing his identity and his revenge the next day, and walking away from her.
Cara is devastated to learn that the man of her dreams was out for revenge. She thought he was an angel to come to take her away from her troubles and her anguish at her brother's death, and the sweet woman he was dating in a car accident that she walks away from without a scratch. She thinks he's a dream come true, but it turns out to be a nightmare.
Two months later, she's back in Ireland, penniless, and pregnant. She goes to Vincenzo's restaurant opening to tell him she's pregnant. He thinks this is just another scam, until she shows him the papers written by her doctor. There's only one thing to be done, marriage. Vincenzo marries Cara with full intentions on keeping her at arms length, except in bed, and with plans to send her on her way with a generous settlement after the baby's born. Because he knows she'll do exactly that. Like his mother coldheartedly walked away to join her lover. But he is thrown for a loop by the genuine sweetness and wealth of spirit and heart that Cara has. He is blown away that she doesn't seem to want his money, when women wanted little but his skills in bed and his money. He is determined to seduce her into his bed and to keep her there. To penetrate the steel cage around her heart that he helped build. But he wants to keep his heart intact in the process.
This book was so intense, so emotional. I couldn't help but love it. I expected a few hours of entertainment, and I got that, but I was also moved. Cara suffered terribly, and I felt her pain. I also felt Vincenzo's confusion at trying to sort through what his past experience told Cara was, and what his eyes, senses, and his heart were determined for him to see. I wanted these two to find each other and to trust in their love for each other. To find peace together.
I have read a couple of other books by Abby Green, but this book put her on the map for me. Her writing in this book packed an emotional punch that made this book a keeper and a Grade A read for me. I came for revenge and passion, and I left with a tender heart. Highly recommended....more
Dario and Alissa have both suffered in their lives. Dario lost all the family he ever had, and vowed to get back his family's property, which was swinDario and Alissa have both suffered in their lives. Dario lost all the family he ever had, and vowed to get back his family's property, which was swindled away from his family. His complete focus was on becoming a powerful, rich man who no one crossed, living up to the Parisi name. Alissa strived to be dependent to no man, and to see that her younger sister was happy and well. These personal vows lead them to be absolutely driven in their lives. Their paths intersect through Alissa's grandfather, who wrote in his will that the only way that Dario could get back his property was by marrying Alissa. After years under the cruel yoke of her strict, abusive Sicilian grandfather, the last thing Alissa wanted was to marry another controlling Sicilian. Dario sees Alissa as poison, a drug-abusing, party girl who has squandered her inheritance, and is standing in the way of his lifetime goal of getting his family's castle back. So, he has no problem being ruthless to get her right where he wants her. He fouls up her chances of having a platonic marriage with her friend to meet the qualifications of her grandfather's will: six months living as a man's wife, and she inherits the castle, which she can sell to get money to pay for treatment for her younger sister's life-threatening illness. When she goes to the courthouse to meet her friend, she finds he has stood her up, and Dario is there to take his place. At this point, she has no further options but to agree to the marriage, even though they clearly hate and have no respect for each other. The six months of living together promises to be miserable. But, there is a powerful attraction between the enemies turned spouses. Dario believes the absolute worst about Alissa, yet he still wants her badly. Alissa counts herself as a fool to be attracted to the ruthless, powerful man she married. However, passion doesn't listen to logic. This was a very good story. It was intense and angsty, perhaps a little too angsty when I read it. I wanted to see more tender moments between Dario and Alissa. It seemed like that didn't start until the book was halfway over. We slowly see the walls come down between this couple, and they both fight it fiercely. I enjoyed this story, and I did feel the chemistry between Dario and Alissa. I would have liked it more if there was a quicker development of their love relationship, and a little less antagonism. But, if a reader wants a story where the couple really is enemies for most of the book, this would be a good book to read. As always, Miss West has delivered an enthralling story full of passion. So enthralling, that I ended up sleep-depriving myself the night before last to keep reading it. I was happy to see these two lonely, sad, heartsore people find their happy end together.
This is a book with a wow factor. It has all the elements that make the older HP books sizzle, crack, and pop. The ruthless hero, the great dialogue,This is a book with a wow factor. It has all the elements that make the older HP books sizzle, crack, and pop. The ruthless hero, the great dialogue, and the crazy demands that you can only read about in a Harlequin Presents novel. One of my friends on GRs, you know who you are, raves about this book, and she's never wrong about HPs being awesome. She was right again!
I won't lie about my love of stalkerific heroes, and Matt makes my list. He was just wow. I had no doubts that this man couldn't live without Carrie. I loved the way that Patricia Wilson wrote the interactions between Matt and Carrie. Matt had a way of talking that seemed almost cinematic. I totally got this feeling of intense, once in a life time love between this couple. Because this is an older HP, you don't get the hero POV, but so much intensity emanates off Matt. For Carrie, she doesn't really have a clue how crazy he is about her. She thinks he just wants revenge. But as a reader, that is very clear, even if the sap doesn't can't bring himself to say the words to make that clear.
As far as the reasons for Carrie leaving Matt, I think that was a bit soft. I will chalk it down to her being young and immature. I really think he should have just asked her to marry him back when they first met. I feel that she would have been less insecure about their relationship. For Matt, his reasons for how he initially handled their relationship makes sense towards the end, but I was afraid that he had some deep, dark secret like he was married and that's why they were just living together as "loves". I am so glad that wasn't the case. I hate that sort of deep, dark secret.
This one will probably push buttons for some of the modern HP fans. The heroine is very young and quite submissive to the hero. That's not really my thing, but in this story, it works. Similarly, the whole blackmail thing probably wouldn't go over well to some readers. This one pushes my buttons in a good way. It takes that young, very innocent heroine and older, experienced hero and does it good. Although Matt seems like he has the upper hand, boy howdy, he doesn't. The man is putty. I could feel his need and his profound love for Carrie, even if he wasn't good about showing it. I liked that he wasn't a cruel man, even if he wanted to seem hard. He was so good with the kids, and that got him brownie points, not to mention how he always tried to take care of Carrie. Not the actions of a man who hates a woman and just wants to use her. It could be frustrating at time seeing all the mixed signals and words unspoken, but that was sort of par for the course. It's part of that vintage HP drama, so I go with it! In the end, everything comes together so beautifully, and I will have some of those moments emblazoned on my brain.
This is one of those books where I ask if I want to be loved that way while I'm reading. I'm not sure I do, but I sure do enjoying reading books with this dynamic. Thumbs up from this reader.