May 26 2008
Of the three books reviewed below, two have that distinct HP feel to them replete with the high powered arrogant hero and the less empowered female. The two with the distinctive HP evoked more emotional response than the first one, His Mistress by Arrangement, but I gave higher marks to HMbA because it focused on more emotional development than the other two, primarily because the emotional response invoked by the other two were negative ones. However, if you are an HP lover, I would think that the second two books better provide that specific emotional fix.
Also, until June 1, 2008, the following books are only for sale at the eharlequin website in eformat.
His Mistress by Arrangement by Natalie Anderson. Emma is a hotel manager whose co workers think she is all work no play and a very dull girl. An old friend shows up at her local hotel and gives her an opportunity to show her co workers that she’s actually quite adventurous. Jake Rendel is a little miffed at first but then sees an opportunity to unwind Emma during his five weeks he plans to spend at the hotel. Jack’s a bit of a ne’er do well that made it good but unlike Emma knows how to balance the playing and the working.
Jack and Emma’s pretend flirtation turns real. Emma has to cope with jealousy and Jack has to cope with the idea that for the first time, the fling might end up badly. Jack begins to take over Emma’s life; pushing her to explore not just her sexual side. Emma, however, isn’t really ready for that. She thinks Jack is still playing a game and that she’s just one more piece to be manuevered about.
This is alot more steamy that normal HPs. I would say that it’s more on par with a Blaze although it does feature the millionaire and a virgin. There is alot going on in this short story and I never felt that any particular subject was getting sufficient attention. C+
The Greek Tycoon’s Baby Bargain by Sharon Kendrick. This is kind of a fascinating, stomach churning, can’t put the book down story. Rebecca is having an affair with Xandros. She is essentially at his beck and call. She recognizes this and despises herself for her weakness but whenever he calls, she can’t seem to resist. Her mood swings from longing to self loathing. She tries to force Xandros’ hand to either cut her off or begin a real relationship. He chooses, predictably, to cut her off.
This utterly crushes Rebecca until she finds out she is pregnant with Xandros’ twin babies. She goes to inform him of her discovery and then takes herself out of his reach. Xandros has mommy issues which prevent him from commitment. He rejects Rebecca the minute she shows any signs of needing permanency. He views her pregnancy as just a more clever ploy than most women came up with. With her pregnancy, Rebecca finds a backbone. She has little interest in Xandros and actually comes to fear his money and power and the idea that he might take her children from her.
Rebecca never really gains power in the relationship. She’s always under Xandros thumb yet the story, as reviling as it was to read at times, was hard to put down. The ending lacked the emotional punch of the beginning. The doormat to asshole ratio is huge here but I found myself really moved by Rebecca’s initial internal struggle. The story actually loses its power because Rebecca never fully realizes independence. C
His Mistress by Marriage by Lee Wilkinson. This is a familiar HP storyline (although there are very few unfamiliar HP storylines). Deborah fell in love with David but saw him in a compromising position with her best friend. She immediately breaks off the engagement with the excuse that she wants to pursue a career. Her brother ends up marrying David’s sister and so Deborah ends up estranging herself from her family in an effort to avoid David. She decides she is in love with her employer and they become engaged. A few weeks before her marriage, her brother Paul, however, is badly injured in a car accident and David comes to New York to fetch her home.
Deborah fights renewed feelings toward David. Her engagement with Gerald is fairly easily set aside but she lacks trust in David even after she discovers her earlier suspicions were incorrect. Deborah is a bit of a doormat and David is a boor. It evokes the right emotional response (high melodrama) yet I thought it was too obvious in its manipulations. C