Carmen's Reviews > A Widow's Guilty Secret

A Widow's Guilty Secret by Marie Ferrarella
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did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, harlequin-romantic-suspense, romance, traditionally-published, she-says, german-author, published2012
Recommended for: No One

He realized that he was attracted to this women, DEEPLY attracted. Moreover, it wasn't just her delicate looks that had hooked and reeled him in, it was her underlying vulnerability, which he could see she tried to cover up at all costs.

But the very existence of that vulnerability awakened his dormant protective streak, a streak he had thought he'd successfully laid to rest more than a few years ago.


Okay, this book is horrible. Let's break it down.

Even though romantic suspense should be both romantic and suspenseful, Harlequin usually fails on both counts which is why I usually avoid this line of Harlequin. These Harlequins are especially bad because BOTH the 'good guys' - cops, FBI, whatever - and the bad guys are incredibly stupid. If you, the reader, who is neither a cop nor a criminal, is outthinking these suckers, it's bad. And it's REALLY bad. In trying to do both romance and suspense, this line succeeds at neither.

In this book, we start off with one set of characters in the prologue - social justice activist and professor Melinda Grayson getting kidnapped and her ex-husband, billionaire oil baron Gabe Dawson. But the actual book is about Nick Jeffries and Suzy Burris.

Suzy is waiting for her philandering husband to get home. She is going to tell him she wants a divorce. She had a baby two months ago to try and fix her marriage, but it didn't work (seldom does) and she's fed up with her cheating husband.

The baby was supposed to have been that light, and his conception and subsequent birth clearly was a tactic that had misfired.

The baby had been a mistake.

Not that she didn't love Andy more than she'd ever thought humanly possible, but as far as his being the miracle that would heal and save their marriage, well, that just wasn't going to happen.


She didn't even love her husband. She just married him for... no real reason.

When he'd asked her to marry him, she'd accepted because she'd hoped that her own feelings would grow somewhere along the line and turn into the kind of love that was the foundation of every strong marriage.

She'd said "I do" praying that would somehow trigger the everlasting love she'd secretly always dreamed about.


When the doorbell rings she opens it but instead of Peter it's Detective Nick Jeffries telling her her husband has just been found murdered.

This is one of the most boring books I've ever read. Also, everyone in it is an idiot. There's absolutely no character development, and what little I saw of Nick and Suzy was not really making me happy.

He's pissed and bitter because his ex-wife aborted their baby without telling him.

Suzy is described as under 100 pounds. She wears four-inch heels while at home, alone, taking care of her infant son. I mean... what? WHAT? Also, she loves cooking and is "amazing" and "magic" at laundry and getting out stains. This combination (heel-wearing domestic goddess) sends Nick Jeffries into paroxysms of lust.

He had a razor-sharp mind when it came to solving crimes. Common everyday things, though, like cooking or doing laundry, turned out to be far more of a challenge for him than he was happy about.

She's always fainting when Nick tells her horrible stuff about her husband and he's always catching her.

He caught himself thinking that for a woman who'd given birth two months ago, she certainly had regained one hell of a figure. That in turn made him wonder what kind of fool the sheriff must have been, to go tomcatting around when he had THAT waiting for him at home.

That's not what cheating is about, you moron. Men married to super-hot women still cheat, it has nothing to do with how "hot" your partner is, and everything about power and entitlement and thrills.

Suzy's husband has been dead less than 24 hours. He's not even cold yet and Suzy and Nick are making eyes at each other. I realize her husband was a piece of trash, but COME ON.

The heroes also do incredibly moronic things. For instance, a man calls and threatens to slit Suzy and her baby's throat. Less than an hour later Suzy has left the baby with her sister and is going to the bank with Nick to investigate shit. I can't even imagine a woman who'd leave her infant at home literally an hour after getting a death threat on him. And I've known some pretty shitty mothers. Why on earth couldn't they take the baby with them to the bank? Answer: Because the baby needs to be kidnapped and the author makes her heroes idiots to make this happen. THEN, when Suzy finds out about her baby and sister being kidnapped, she's all

"This is my family," she told him as she drew away and stood her ground. "It's up to me to find them." She lifted her chin defiantly. "This isn't your fight."

Ummmm.... he's a COP. A COP. Are you going to get your sister and baby back without the help of the POLICE?!?!! And what do you expect him to do, just say, "Okay" and leave?!?!?!

THEN, they have sex. Yes... her husband died two days ago, her sister and baby have been kidnapped, and she's having SEX with some guy she met yesterday. I mean, what?!?!!? What the fuck?!!?!?

I'm just baffled. Even after she gets the kid back - she checks him for injuries and holds him - then hands him off to her sister so she and Nick can talk about love and kiss and stuff. I mean, you wouldn't be able to pry that kid out of my hands if I had been through what this woman had been through, but she's all la-dee-dah.


The villain is also a complete and utter moron but I won't go into it. It's too stupid.


Mr. Detective is also a moron. And a shitty cop who doesn't do his fucking job.


Everyone is a moron.

How's the sex, Carmen?

You have to be joking. This is Marie Ferrarella we're talking about here. And their having sex RIGHT AFTER HER SISTER AND BABY HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED AND ARE STILL MISSING. Excerpt under the spoiler tag.

(view spoiler)

I don't know, there's just nothing sexy or even remotely interesting about this.


Tl;dr - This is my fault for picking up a Marie Ferrarella book again. She's never done anything for me. But this is a series penned by different authors and she just happened to be the first in the lineup.

Boring, full of morons, frustrating. Do not read.

"We're in this thing together, and I intend to help find them and bring your sister and your baby back home whether you want my help or not."...

"Of course I want you," she responded with feeling, then realized a crucial word was missing and corrected herself. "I mean, of course I want your HELP." And then she tried to salvage the moment - and disarm it as well - by saying, "For one thing, your gun's bigger."

But it was too late. Both of them were aware of her slip of the tongue and what it meant when she'd told him she wanted him.

Just as he wanted her.

This, Nick realized, would be one tricky high-wire act to negotiate.


^^ You've got to be kidding me with this shit. Horrible writing.


P.S. Ferrarella cannot leave behind the "force feeding" she puts in every book.

"I don't think I can keep anything down."

"But you'll give it a good try," he said in a voice that told her she really had no choice in the matter.


Fuck you, Nick. This isn't as bad as the shit that goes down in Real Vintage Maverick, but it's angering me.

P.P.S. That fucker leaves her after a night of sex to wake up in a cold bed. He does leave a note, but I'm angry with him.
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Reading Progress

July 21, 2015 – Shelved
June 26, 2016 – Started Reading
June 26, 2016 –
page 1
0.35% "As was her custom, the petite, pleasantly plump housekeeper had let herself into Professor Melinda Grayson's modern, two-story house with her own key.\n \n Pleasantly plump? Do people still say that?"
June 26, 2016 –
page 2
0.69% "3%\n The woman's car, a sky-blue vintage 1957 Chevy Impala, one of her few extravagances, was parked in the driveway."
June 26, 2016 –
page 3
1.04% "4%\n Oil baron Gabe Dawson was in Malaysia on important business, far away from Vengeance, Texas."
June 26, 2016 –
page 4
1.39% "4%\n Remember how things used to be with Melinda. In the beginning. Back when they had been just two overachieving graduate students, wildly in love and bound and determined to leave their marks on the world."
June 26, 2016 –
page 5
1.74% "4%\n Melinda started pointing her finger at what she perceived were social injustices, while he, with his well-honed business acumen, became a recognized leader in his field. and exceedingly wealthy to boot.\n \n With his bank accounts totaling in the billions, he, in effect, found himself becoming the enemy against whom Melinda was so profoundly railing."
June 26, 2016 –
page 6
2.08% "4%\n Melinda has been his first love. Though they became as different as fire and ice, he'd never loved anyone as much as he had loved her. Most likely, he never would.\n \n If something had happened to Melinda, he wanted to help get her back. God knew, if money was the issue, it wouldn't be for long. He had more money than he could possibly spend in a lifetime.\n \n TWO lifetimes."
June 26, 2016 –
page 7
2.43% "5%\n The baby was supposed to have been that light, and his conception and subsequent birth clearly was a tactic that had misfired.\n \n The baby had been a mistake.\n \n Not that she didn't love Andy more than she'd ever thought humanly possible, but as far as his being the miracle that would heal and save their marriage, well, that just wasn't going to happen."
June 26, 2016 –
page 8
2.78% "6%\n Despite getting very little sleep the night before because Andy kept fussing, she'd done her best to give patching things up between Peter and her one more try this morning. She'd made Peter breakfast - waffles with eggs and sausages, his favorite - and tried to get some sort of a conversation going. \n \n But she might as well have been trying to program a robot. The words she all but wound up pulling out of he"
June 26, 2016 –
page 9
3.13% "6%\n When he'd asked her to marry him, she'd accepted because she'd hoped that her own feelings would grow somewhere along the line and turn into the kind of love that was the foundation of every strong marriage.\n \n She'd said "I do" praying that would somehow trigger the everlasting love she'd secretly always dreamed about.\n \n Between this and the baby, this woman is really dumb."
June 26, 2016 –
page 10
3.47% "6%\n On the surface, Peter was friendly, outgoing, gregarious, but after several years of marriage, she still knew very little about him. And NO details about his childhood.\n \n This is like that book... where she's married to that guy but she's never met his parents... and it turns out he was a raging psycho... You know. That book."
June 26, 2016 –
page 11
3.82% "11%\n Nick turned his attention to the woman he'd just caught. When he'd made his initial assessment of her, he'd judged that she weighed under a hundred pounds. If he wasn't right on target, he was close. Suzy Burris felt as if she weighed next to nothing at all.\n \n UNDER 100 pounds?!"
June 26, 2016 –
page 12
4.17% "14%\n He flashed her another amused smile. Amid the vulnerability, he detected a feisty streak. He found it rather appealing."
June 26, 2016 –
page 13
4.51% "16%\n He realized that he was attracted to this women, DEEPLY attracted. Moreover, it wasn't just her delicate looks that had hooked and reeled him in, it was her underlying vulnerability, which he could see she tried to cover up at all costs. \n \n But the very existence of that vulnerability awakened his dormant protective streak, a streak he had thought he'd successfully laid to rest more than a few years ago."
June 26, 2016 –
page 14
4.86% "I'm at 24% and so far this is pretty boring."
June 26, 2016 –
page 15
5.21% "25%\n Then he looks down at her feet and she's wearing four-inch heels. At home. Alone. While taking care of a baby. WHAT?!?? I mean, what?!"
June 26, 2016 –
page 16
5.56% "29%\n He had a razor-sharp mind when it came to solving crimes. Common everyday things, though, like cooking or doing laundry, turned out to be far more of a challenge for him than he was happy about.\n \n Uh-huh."
June 26, 2016 –
page 17
5.9% "39%\n He caught himself thinking that for a woman who'd given birth two months ago, she certainly had regained one hell of a figure. That in turn made him wonder what kind of fool the sheriff must have been, to go tomcatting around when he had THAT waiting for him at home.\n \n That's not what cheating is about, you idiot."
June 26, 2016 –
page 18
6.25% "39%\n So... her husband has been dead less than 24 hours and her sister is encouraging her to date the sheriff. That's really cold."
June 27, 2016 –
page 19
6.6% "47%\n She's fainting again, he's catching her again."
June 27, 2016 –
page 20
6.94% "I'm at 60% and basically nothing has happened.\n \n Never underestimate Ferrarella's ability to put you to sleep."
June 27, 2016 –
page 21
7.29% "Looking at it, he wondered if Suzy knew about the key. Its existence may have slipped her mind in the face of all this turmoil. Or she was deliberately holding back information.\n \n Or she didn't even know it existed, jackass. Do you remember that he locked his office and never allowed her to go in there? Jackass."
June 27, 2016 –
page 22
7.64% "64%\n He liked to think of himself as fighting trim. At this point, though, he was more like pacifist fat. Or at least he felt that way, stuffed to the gills."
June 27, 2016 –
page 23
7.99% "64%\n She was definitely a game changer for him. Being with her made him look at the world a little differently - made him feel more the way he assumed a normal person felt.\n \n Made him think about and want things a normal man might want, instead of being the emotionless machine he had become in these last years.\n \n Uh-huh."
June 27, 2016 –
page 24
8.33% "66%\n As if to underscore that, out of the blue, he'd been given a second chance and he was going to make the most of it. Lightning had struck twice, it wasn't about to strike a third time.\n \n Whoever had initially called and pressed him into service was not going to be disappointed with his performance.\n \n WTF? Why would you care about what a disembodied voice on the phone says to you and why would you believe"
June 27, 2016 –
page 25
8.68% "67%\n "She's been overprotective and stubborn like this all her life."\n \n Well, I don't really think it's overprotective and stubborn to wait for the police protection to get here since she was just threatened by someone who said their slit her two-month-old's throat. Yeah... can't believe she's leaving the baby behind at all, actually."
June 27, 2016 –
page 26
9.03% "72%\n Since when did she fall to pieces like some fragile China doll?\n \n Well, I don't know, you've already fainted twice in this novel. I'd say this is par for the course."
June 27, 2016 –
page 27
9.38% "72%\n "This is my family," she told him as she drew away and stood her ground. "It's up to me to find them." She lifted her chin defiantly. "This isn't your fight."\n \n Ummm.... he's a COP. Are you stupid? Also, what are you thinking, you're going to go after the criminals and rescue your sister and baby BY YOURSELF? What?"
June 27, 2016 –
page 28
9.72% "72%\n Then there's the most awkward scene where I think it's supposed to be sexy or something, but... no."
June 27, 2016 –
page 29
10.07% "77%\n You have to be kidding me! This is no time to be having sex!!!!"
June 27, 2016 –
page 30
10.42% "85%\n He let the call go to voicemail.\n \n You are a shitty cop. Do your job!"
June 27, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin* Okay, I have to admit, the "your gun is bigger" thing is hilarious (metaphor for penis???). But yeah, this does sound terrible. Great review!


message 2: by Donna (new)

Donna Great review, Carmen. This book did sound horrible. I really hate when an author tries to excuse her characters' dumb moves by having them admit they're doing something wrong or stupid, but do it anyway. They're still acting stupid and so is a story set up like this that backs the characters into a corner. The author wants the characters to fall in love and have sex, even though she has the female MC's spouse just being murdered and her baby kidnapped. This isn't a good prelude to romance as you said. Good luck with any others you read in the series. Maybe the worst was first. :)


Carmen Heather *live on coffee and flowers* wrote: "Okay, I have to admit, the "your gun is bigger" thing is hilarious (metaphor for penis???). But yeah, this does sound terrible. Great review!"

Yes, I was thinking about that! But was Ferrarella really trying to make a joke here? Hard to say.

Thanks!


Carmen Donna wrote: "Great review, Carmen. This book did sound horrible. I really hate when an author tries to excuse her characters' dumb moves by having them admit they're doing something wrong or stupid, but do it a..."

Thanks!

Characters should not be dumb - I mean, dumb beyond belief - just to move a plot along. And I was really doubtful she felt like having sex after everything that just happened. There were a lot of problems here.

Fingers crossed the next one is better! Different author, too!


message 5: by Carmen (last edited Jun 28, 2016 11:31AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Carmen Jen said: While I do love me some Intrigues, there are sooooo many terrible ones out there. :)

LOL I know, right?


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen While I do love me some harlequin suspense, there are sooooo many terrible ones out there. Sounds like this is definitely one of them! :)


message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen Oops somehow my first comment posted before I meant to. Ha.


Carmen LOL That's okay.


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