Classic Lynne Graham!
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Pages: 192 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Acheron (Ash) Dimitrakos is a gorgeous, thirty-year-old Greek billionaire. He founded a global corporation called DT Industries, but his recently deceased father owned half of the company. In his will, Ash’s father states that if Ash does not marry within a year, his father’s share of the corporation will go to Ash’s stepmother and her children, all of whom Ash despises and avoids. Ash knows he could snap his fingers and have his pick among unlimited numbers of desirable women competing to become his wife, but he has known since childhood that he never wants to marry or have children. He has a dark familial secret, and he does not believe that he would make a good husband or father.
Then Ash has an explosive first meet with Tabby Glover, a young woman in her early twenties. Tabby and Ash are the legal co-guardians of a baby girl named Amber, who is the offspring of Tabby’s best friend and a young man who was a distant cousin of Ash. Both of Amber’s parents are deceased, and Tabby has not been able to get Ash to take any personal or financial responsibility for Amber, which is a huge issue, because Tabby is broke. She and Amber’s mother had a business together, but when Tabby’s friend got sick, Tabby lost the business and spent all her time nursing her friend until she died, and afterwards dedicating herself to caring for Amber. As a result, Tabby is desperately close to losing Amber, because Social Services has declared that Tabby can’t give the baby a proper home. Amber is extremely attached to the baby, and Ash is her last chance to stop them from taking Amber away from her within the next few days and putting her up for adoption.
Ash is appalled at the temerity of the small, angry woman who is rudely confronting him at his place of business. Everyone in Ash’s rarefied circles is in awe of him and strives constantly to impress him. But this young woman has dared to appear at his place of business dressed in a worn jacket, sweat pants, and athletic shoes, and she hasn’t put on a drop of makeup or fixed her hair. He decides at first glance that Tabby is plain, until he glances into her stunning, violet eyes. Ash refuses to tolerate anyone cursing at him as Tabby does, and he threatens to throw her out of his office, until it suddenly connects with him who, exactly, the baby’s father is. He was not merely a cousin, but the son of Ash’s mother’s caretaker during her final illness, a relative who was very kind to Ash at a vulnerable time in his childhood.
It abruptly occurs to him that he and Tabby could be of mutual use to each other. He needs a wife to keep his corporation in his hands, and she needs a husband who can assure she gets to keep Amber. He proposes a marriage of convenience, and thus begins the wild ride that is their relationship.
If you are a fan of Lynne Graham, you will very much enjoy this classic, Harlequin Presents (HP), marriage-of-convenience plot. The requirements of this romance line as to its plot lines are so stringent, it takes real genius to write fresh, exciting, sensuous romances within their confines. Ms. Graham is one of the very best at this creative feat. In this particular story, both Ash and Tabby are strong, sympathetic characters. I liked them both very much, and I greatly enjoyed the progress of their relationship. The two of them share a fascinating commonality in that each had an extremely difficult childhood, and in both cases, rather than adversity breaking them, it made them strong. Their mutual flaw is great difficulty in trusting others–especially each other. As a result, their relationship is full of the fiery battles, and equally passionate love scenes, which Ms. Graham does so extremely well.
I’ve read every one of Ms. Graham’s 70-plus HP romances, and I can’t say that for any other prolific, HP author. Though no author can be expected to hit a home run for every single book, Ms. Graham’s HP novels generally run from very good to outstanding. This book is definitely in that range.
I rank this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 4