Harlequin Lightning Reviews
Billionaire’s Virgin Bride by Helen Brooks – Brooks is becoming my favorite HP author but this one disappointed me. It sounded dated and didn’t have the smoothness in storytelling as her past ones. Zeke Russell and Melody Taylor were engaged to be married until Melody’s mother took photographs of Zeke with his gorgeous secretary. Melody, still haunted by her father’s abandonment of her family, easily believed the worst and broke off their engagement.
6 months later, Melody’s mother is in trouble and needs Zeke’s legal help. Zeke will only represent Melody’s mother in exchange for Melody serving as his escort. Underneath their cool exteriors, Melody and Zeke still long for one another but neither seems to be willing to put aside their pride to make the first move. Instead, Zeke uses emotional blackmail to put Melody in cruel positions. Melody continues to throw in Zeke’s face his alleged infidelity. The problem is that Zeke’s cruelty is carried on too far and Melody folds at the first push of physical intimacy. Doormat to Asshole ratio is high thus the C grade. For any other author, this might have been a lower grade but since Brooks’ voice appeals to me, it’s a C.
British Billionaire Affair by Susanne James. T his book wavered on being a recommend for the pure fun of its mirroring. Candida is an interior decorator who once penned a novel eight years ago. Her dreams of writing were crushed by the harsh words of critic and author Max Seymour. Max doesn’t know this, of course, but sees Candida’s innocent aspect appealing and through subterfuge hires her to decorate his mansion in town. Candida is torn, she respects Max’s work and finds that she enjoys his company against her will; but he did ruin her dream once and he doesn’t seem like a faithful companion. Candida is often putting Max off, forcing him to pursue her. Ultimately, Candida’s problem is that she blames others, like Max, for the diminishment of her dreams and does not rely on her own personal strength. Some writers might find Candida’s dilemma quite sympathetic and cheer at the resolution. I thought the end was a cop out. C
King of the Desert, Captive Bride by Jane Porter. T his is my first Sheik story in recent memory. Sheik Khalid Fehr lost two young sisters and has made it his mission to save the lives of sisters. Olivia Morse was caught holding a bag of cocaine and was sent to the Ozr Prison in Jabal. Khalid spent three weeks and a small fortune to find Olivia and ultimately free her from Ozr, but in order to get her out of the country, he had to tell officials that she was his fiancé. The situation escalates to the point that Khalid and Olivia must actually get married. Olivia protests mightily. She wants to be free but she doesn’t want to marry. While this is slightly understandable in the beginning, given that Ozr is a place of nightmares, the resistance Olivia continues to display devolves to the point of irrationality. In the end, Olivia turns into one of those too stupid to live characters and you wished you could climb into the story and knock her silly. The ironic thing is that Khalid is such a decent guy that you don’t want to see him with such an ignorant woman. Khalid is not an asshole and Olivia is not a doormat but she is stupid and selfish and that might be worse than a doormat. There was a point late in the book where Olivia appears to be self sacrificing but instead comes off as martyr-ish.
I did love the descriptions of Egypt and the historical details provided of that region particularly the story behind the Aswan High dam and for that reason and because Khalid was such a decent character, I’ll refrain from a D. C-