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India Grey

REVIEW: In Bed with a Stranger by India Grey

REVIEW: In Bed with a Stranger by India Grey

Dear Ms. Grey:

This is a sequel to the Craving the Forbidden (review here) and I thought it was interesting to take an established relationship, shake it up, and still convince the readers at the end that these two could be happy beyond the pages of the book.  Sophie Greenham fell in love with Kit Fitzroy after pretending to be his brother’s fiancée.  Kit leaves for Aghanistan and when he returns, he is not the same person.  There is a bridge between the two that Sophie is unsure of how to cross.  The bridge began to build over Kit’s deployment, with his email responses and his phone conversations becoming terser, shorter.

In Bed with a Stranger	India GreyKit is suffering from a case of PTSD. It’s unclear how severe it is. He is jumpy at loud noises. He is experiencing night terrors.  He is feeling tremendous guilt over the injury to one of the young soldiers in his unit. Sophie acted quite young in this book and I was disappointed by her.  While Kit was gone for five months, it didn’t seem like Sophie did much to prepare herself for his return.  Her lack of understanding of what Kit might be going through seemed a tad self centered and a bit juvenile.

Both Kit and Sophie mask their relationship problems by enjoying each other physically, but Kit wonders that the shortness of their relationship (only three weeks before his five month deployment) could possibly withstand his mental and emotional difficulties.   They were, as Kit acknowledge, virtual strangers. Sophie preferred to believe that their physical closeness could not exist without emotional closeness.

The story transitions from Kit’s return to a trip to Morocco to meet with Kit’s estranged mother and to discover the secrets of his past.  Much of the book takes place in Morocco and the simple relationship problem is compounded by standard HP tropes which is where I felt the book faltered.  Sophie grew up with a hippy mother who refused to acknowledge ordinary structural bonds like the “mother/daughter”.  Her unconventional upbringing made her yearn for a stable home and a love like the one she believes she might have with Kit.  However, Kit’s wealth and titled family make her feel like that awkward commune girl trying to fit in with the cheerleaders at high school.  Sophie overcompensates, driven by her feelings of inferiority.  She never wants to show weakness in their relationship which, in turn, leads Kit to believe that she cannot handle the darkness of his emotions.  This emotional tug of war is great and the use of the sexual tension pushing against the emotional tension was moving.

I was less enthused by the mystery of Kit’s parentage. I felt that was an unnecessary complication and conflict and led to too easy of a resolution.  Kit hadn’t seen his mother since he was six yet the feelings of abandonment and betrayal were quickly resolved.  Combined with all the other emotional struggles Kit had to deal with, this seemed improbable. Further, I didn’t like the quick way in which Sophie became attached to Kit’s mother. In some ways, perhaps it was reasonable because Kit’s mother was like what Sophie wanted her own mother to be, but Sophie’s first priority should have been Kit’s emotional well being, just as making Sophie happy was Kit’s first thought.   This desire to push reconciliation on Kit was frustrating and seemed, again, a bit selfish.

This is not to say that Sophie was unlikeable but that this portion of the book was my least favorite.  I liked the idea of exploring their relationship at greater length, but I didn’t enjoy the mother complications, particularly because of how it was resolved. I will say that this story is very sexy and I appreciate the open door nature of the book, particularly having come off a stint of reading a few Harlequin SuperRomances where the sexual tension was about as spare as the fat on Heidi Klum’s thighs.  C+

Best regards

Jane

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REVIEW:  Craving the Forbidden by India Grey

REVIEW: Craving the Forbidden by India Grey

Dear Ms. Grey:

Right before I received your book for review, a friend of mine told me she had a “meet cute” on a train. She ran into a guy who dropped a tux he was carrying. She later found out he was the best man and the tux was for the wedding. I joked about how this could have been a Harlequin Presents but that no millionaires would ever be caught riding the train. We then traded emails including different scenarios about how a millionaire would find himself on his train. A week later, I had to email her and say that there actually is a Harlequin Presents with a meet cute on a train. Harlequin Presents is like Hallmark, a book for every occassion.

craving the forbidden by india greySophie Greenham is an unknown actress used to playing minor roles. She has no aspirations of anything greater. Her best friend, Jasper, is the son of the Earl of Hawksworth and he has not come out to his father. He begs her to come to his family home where they are going to celebrate his father’s seventieth birthday and pretend to be his girlfriend. Sophie readily agrees and from what she has learned from Jasper about his family, she is happy to go and protect him.

To get to the family home, Sophie takes a train and stumbling around tired and without the funds, she makes her way into first class. She knows she shouldn’t be there, but it is the only place with an open seat and she is exhausted. Unfortunately just as she is taking her seat, her phone rings and it is her recently disposed of ex, Jean-Claude whose voice rings out loud enough for her and fifteen other businessmen to hear.

This is the circumstance in which Kit Fitzroy first meets his half brother’s pretend girlfriend. At this point, Kit only knows that this provocatively corseted girl with the high heeled knee boots is giving the shove to some poor French guy who, from the sounds eminating from the phone, must have been nursing his broken heart in the bottle. Kit isn’t adverse to a light flirtation and thus when, at the end of the train ride, he finds out the identity of Sophie, he immediately forms a bad impression. Unfaithful gold digger.

For Sophie, her attraction to Kit is untimely but she knows that Jasper is her gay friend and not her lover and thus she just doesn’t act like Kit thinks she should act.

Kit has always had a strained relationship with his half brother, in part because his father has always preferred Jasper to Kit and has always been cruel to Kit in small and large ways. Yet Kit cares for Jasper and doesn’t want to see him get taken in.

As Sophie and Kit spend more time together in the house, their attraction deepens. Sophie feels less guilty but she wants to come clean so that their feelings can develop naturally. The stern and businesslike Kit is beset by guilt and knows that an affair with his half brother’s fiance isn’t likely to help mend fences.

This book has a great blend humor from subterfuge (which also included keeping Jasper’s real love away from the party) and ANGST (or agnst as I prefer to spell it) from the forbidden love of Kit and Sophie. Kit isn’t an asshole but trying to protect his home, his family and cope with the lack of support and affection from his family. Sophie is a charming girl who who is the perfect foil. He desperately needs someone to love him and Sophie is ready with open arms. Sweet, funny, and charming. B+

Best regards,

Jane

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