Dear Ms. Brooks:
My introduction to your books was His Christmas Bride which was part of the one Click December Buy. I really enjoyed it and have been buying as many Brooks books as I could lay my hands on. Imagine my excitement when The Billionaire’s Marriage Mission was being offered. It was originally published as a Mills & Boon book in 2006.
These books all have essentially the same plot: girl is terribly hurt by some past romance; strong, rich, aggressive male falls in love immediately and pursues girl; girl falls in love back; gets scared; runs away; and then runs back. I’ve read about 10 Brooks books now and for some reason, this theme or plot never gets tired for me.
The story opens with Beth Morton getting locked out of her cottage rental with her dog Harvey. It’s raining. She’s in her pyjamas and she’s slipped in something smushy and dark. She hopes that it is dirt but from the smell suspects it is not. Travis Black comes driving by in his estate car on his way home when he spots Beth. He takes her home, allows her to clean up and the two of them just click.
But Beth is at her cottage, taking a six month leave of absence, trying to recover from a mini breakdown brought on by her parents’ unexpected death and the revelation that her adored husband is a bigamist. The very last thing she is going to do is fall for Travis Black.
Travis is an immovable mountain. He wants Beth and pursues her madly. He’s not above deceiving her to get her to date him:
‘Sorry enough to share the odd meal with me when I’m in these parts without thinking I’ve some ulterior motive like ripping your clothes off and taking you to bed? You see, the truth of the matter is that sexually you’re not my type, Beth, but I find you interesting as a person. And that’s a compliment, incidentally,’ he added pleasantly. ‘There’s few people, men or women, I find interesting.’
She was so shocked that automatic pilot clicked in. ‘I see,’ she said numbly. Charming, absolutely charming.
I love the frank way that Travis confronted Beth about her fear of loving again. I loved that Beth was just trying to get her feet under her again. Her inability to move forward was completely plausible given the emotional upheaval in her recent past. Both Travis and Beth are thoughtful people and even though the story is told in the limited third (only from Beth’s point of view), you still get the idea of what kind of person Travis is. He’s incredibly patient. A romantic. He’s devious but not in an underhanded way.
“So…” Beth was feeling her way here. Groping in the dark. “Do you believe people can meet and be happy with various other people but that there is only one person who is truly the love of their life?”
“Exactly,” he said, his voice cool. He didn’t look at her as he continued, “And you’re damn lucky if you find them. Few do. And you’re even luckier if they love you back in the same way. It happens but it’s rare.”
I can see, also, why Beth was attractive to Travis. She was smart and pleasant to be around. There was a sense of peacefulness about her even though her emotional state was in turmoil while near Travis. Her fears were reasonable given her past and she didn’t succumb to Travis’ seductions immediately. She made him work for her.
The stories depend on the “one true love” theory. A reader who finds that notion unbelievable might have difficulty with the plots and storylines in a Brooks novel. If you don’t mind it or you actually like the soulmate theory (and I do), she writes a very emotionally satisfying book. B+