Dear Ms. Green:
This worked for me on most levels although I know that a non fan of Harlequin Presents would probably be turned off by the manufacturered angst and the constant barrage of distrust and misplaced accusations from the hero. Kate Lancaster, a beautiful young woman, has been unable to get over a kiss she shared with Tiarnan Quinn when she was eighteen. To combat her feelings, she has always acted with hostility toward Tiarnan, treating him with icy disdain but at the christening of her best friend’s baby, Tiarnan’s sister, Kate let down her guard for one moment and he saw it.
-And right then Kate knew that all her flimsy attempts to defend herself against him for years were for naught. He’d just seen through it all in an instant. Seen through her. Her humiliation was now complete.
Tiarnan not only sees it but it provides him an excuse to pursue her. Tiarnan, unlike other HP heroes, suffers some anxiety at being rejected by Kate. He’s always found her to be very cold toward him and at times even felt as if she was mocking him in her dismissiveness.
Tiarnan chafed at her sudden assuredness-‘and at her reminder of his clumsy rejection. That feeling of regret spiked uncomfortably again. Her smile was almost mocking-‘as if she pitied him! He’d never been an object of pity, and he wasn’t about to start being one now
Kate continues to reject Tiarnan and so Tiarnan pulls out the “my child wants to see you” card and pretty much hijacks Kate at the airport at the end of one of her modeling shoots. He whisks her off to his home in Madrid where Kate reconnects with his daughter, Sorcha Rosie, and loses her battle to resist Tiarnan.
Kate’s repressed longing for Tiarnan was strongly conveyed as was her humiliation at being so attracted to him against her will. Tiarnan, the product of bad mothers (both his own and then his wife’s), has difficulty trusting women. While objectively he can see that Kate is NOT LIKE THE OTHERS, his instinctive emotional reaction is to jump to the wrong kinds of assumptions. Kate carried the story for me so while Tiarnan behaved like a neanderthal, at times, and made awful assumptions, Kate still maintained her dignity.
I don’t know that I would recommend this one to Jayne even though she enjoyed an HP but I couldn’t help but feel for Kate who had a desperate longing for one man, recognized at some point how destructive her love for him was and had the ability to walk away. I’m not sure that I would have been as gratified with the ending had Kate not been able to assert her independence and take control of her own emotional destiny. C+