Dear Ms. Reid:
I’m a big, but recent, Harlequin Presents fan. When the blogger bundles came out and one of them was a collection of Harlequin Presents, I couldn’t resist the lure to buy them (plus, they are $9.99 at the Kindle store which comes to about $2.50 per book). Although I’ve only read two of the four included books, I already feel like I’ve gotten a bargain in the bundle. I have enjoyed most of Anne McAllister’s works but you were a new to me author and after reading The Brazilian’s Blackmailed Bride I went on a Michelle Reid tear, buying every ebook out there. Note to Harlequin: Please digitize more.
TBBB isn’t even my favorite Reid, now that I have gorged myself on your backlist, but it invoked a strong emotional response from me.
Anton Luis Ferreira Scott-Lee grew up believing he was “the adored only child of Brazilian beauty Maria Ferreira and wealthy English banker Sebastian Scott-Lee.” After the death of his father, Anton took over the reigns of the family banking business and continued to flourish. Until the letter that arrives from the solicitor of Enrique Ramirez in which the deceased Mr. Ramirez claims to be the biological father of Anton. In his will, Mr. Ramirez bequeaths a large fortune to Anton along with the promise that should Anton fulfill a few requirements, he will be provided with the names of his two half brothers, other illegitimate progeny of Ramirez’s.
Anton burns to know who these men are but the requirements are steep. He is to make reparations to a woman that Ramirez believes Anton abandoned six years prior. He must do this within the next six months or forfeit a meeting with his brothers. This incenses Anton because he was not the one who did the abandoning. Instead, he fell in love with a beautiful Portuguese woman who broke his heart and refused to marry him because she did not want to sully her bloodline with a half blood Englishman. In some ways, Anton is excited to go back with his money and his pure blood lineage and rub it in this woman’s face, this woman Anton has not managed to forget in six years.
Cristina Marques is the woman Anton cannot forget and the woman that Ramirez believes was abandoned. The truth is that Cristina did say horrible hurtful things to Anton to make him believe she no longer loved him, to make him leave her. It was no misunderstanding and it wasn’t that Anton had treated her badly, but her words grew out of an angry, hurt, and immature side of her.
When Anton comes back into her life, he is rich and she is poor. She is out with the “begging bowl” as she puts it, trying to find an investor for the development of family property to save it from a company that wants to buy it and ruin the natural beauty of the valley. Anton will save Cristina because he desperately wants to meet his brothers, but also because he finds that Cristina is the only one who has ever touched him so deeply. He’s torn between his lust and love for her and his hurt and hatred for her.
Cristina has always and will always love Anton but the same reasons she had for rejecting him six years ago remain true now. She loves him but she cannot marry him. Because I, as the reader, know these two are in love with each other, their painful exchanges and actions toward one another are palatable because I understand their vulnerabilities. I completely enjoyed the fiery Cristina and the passionate Anton (whom Cristina calls Luis the entire time). I also appreciated how the beginning of the story became vitally important to the end of the story. Nice closure. B