Majesty, Mistress-Missing Heir by Caitlin Crews
Jessa Heath and Tariq bin Khalid Al-Nur were lovers living together in London. Neither had made any promises to each other and for Jessa, the uncertainty of the relationship came to a head when she discovered she was pregnant. She ran out for two days and when she returned Tariq had left the country, put his flat up for sale, and disconnected his mobile phone. Jessa was fired for sleeping with a client and she left London for York. Five years later, Tariq returns. He says that there is unfinished business between them. For him, that means that he must figure out what alchemy Jessa has woven that binds her so intimately in his memories that he cannot breathe without remembering her scent. He must marry, have heirs, but he can’t do this with another woman when Jessa still takes up so much space in his head. Maybe Jessa could have forgiven Tariq for his abandonment when she understood that it came from a wounded place in Tariq and maybe she could have started anew with him when they set aside their misunderstandings but the baby she bore in secret and the life that the baby now leads presents a seemingly impenetrable barrier to Jessa and Tariq being together.
While this isn’t my favorite Crews book (that would be Katrakis’ Last Mistress), it still vibrates with a lot of emotion and the secret baby twist was interesting and not one I recall reading before. Up to the end, I was unsure what would happen with the baby that was created by Jessa and Tariq but belonged to neither of them. B-
The Good Greek Wife? by Kate Walker
Zarek Michaelis supposedly died out at sea two years ago. Since his death, his wife Penny has coped with his business interests, his avaricious step family, and her personal loss. The story opens with Penny walking along the shore thinking about Zarek and refusing to think of him as dead. Penny adored her husband but believes that Zarek only married her to beget an heir. Zarek has actually been alive this entire time and hiding out until the right time to confront his wife who appears to be getting ready to give his business over to his hated step siblings and to confront his step family and find out who plotted to kill him.
Zarek and Penny spend most of the book sniping at each other which may not seem odd for an HP, but it did seem odd given the fact that their separation was due to Penny thinking Zarek was dead and Zarek was recovering from a life threatening injury. I thought Penny was incredibly whiny and Zarek needlessly secretive. I found the conflict to be forced with needless exposition about their pasts inserted in dialogue throughout. Shouldn’t they have known about each other’s fathers, feelings about boarding school, before they were married or during the 10 months or so that they were married before Zarek disappeared? C-
Boardroom Rivals, Bedroom Fireworks! by Kimberly Lang
Brenna Walsh and Jack Garrett met when their parents married, fell in love and eloped themselves to delight of both their parents. Brenna and Jack’s compatibility, however, did not extend outside the bedroom. Brenna was young, didn’t go to college, and preferred to stay around the family vineyard. Jack was an outgoing, charismatic person who enjoyed the social circle. He was well read, educated, and urbane. Brenna always felt like an outsider at social functions and overtime, their differences led to fierce fights and ultimately Brenna walking out of the relationship. Years later, Jack wants to sell his half interest in the Amante Verano vineyards, the vineyards that Brenna runs because he is tired being connected to her and the vineyards that his father always wanted Jack to love.
Older, wiser, perhaps more patient and still hot for each other, Jack and Brenna begin to rekindle a long dead relationship.
I felt like this read far more like a Harlequin Blaze (in other words, a sexy straight contemporary) than a Harlequin Presents. Jack, for all his wealth, and Brenna felt like your average couple who had financial problems (Brenna’s mostly) and baggage that prevented them from being together ten years ago. Jack wanted Brenna to want him, need him, more than the winery. Brenna never felt like she fit into Jack’s world. These problems don’t magically disappear ten years later, instead Brenna and Jack change in the way in which they want to deal with those problems because they discover that living without the other person is worse than getting their own way or being right. B