Monday, 12 March 2012
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... Book #349
Mistress of the Groom - Susan Napier
Reissue - Harlequin Treasury, 2011
From the back cover:
"Have you heard the latest?
Don't tell anyone but...
The groom was having an affair - with his bride's best friend Jane had been desperate to stop the wedding. She'd had to prevent her best friend from making the biggest mistake of her life.... Marrying Ryan Blair would have been disastrous. He was too rich, too powerful, too hot to handle.
There was only one solution: to stand up in church and declare that she, Jane Sherwood, respectable businesswoman, was having a secret torrid affair with Ryan. It had worked. The wedding was finished. But now Ryan was determined to make Jane pay for his wrecked marriage - by making her his mistress for real"
I bought this book a while back after the fabulous Abby Green recommend it on twitter as one of her favourite Presents.
The story begins with the heroine Jane confronting the hero Ryan at a business event, which, after his mocking, leads to her punching him in the face. Jane is desperately trying to make ends meet and keep her life together after Ryan's two-year long campaign of hate against her that has stripped her of her business, her possessions, her home, and her reputation. Jane knows that, in a way, she deserves his revenge after stopping his wedding to her best friend three years ago by lying that they had been having an affair. But she had done it to protect her best friend, although she can't tell Ryan that. Even though she appears to have lost everything, Ryan still continues to push his revenge against her, which results in one very passionate night in each others arms after a night of sparing. Jane begins to realise that her feelings for Ryan are dangerously closer to love than hate, and this scares her so she attempts to run away. But Ryan tracks her down forcing her to confront what is going on between them as well as forcing Jane to rely on him when she injured.
Wow, what a book! The story has so much going, so many elements you would want from a Presents that it should be a bit of a convoluted mess, but Susan Napier's superb writing makes it work brilliantly. The heroine is a fantastically crafted character - she has every reason to just give up and wail at her total misfortune but she doesn't, she keeps fighting and I loved her for that. This is exactly the kind of heroine I love reading. And the hero... I don't really know what to say about him, other than he is ALPHA (yes, capital letter worthy) to the last, but also caring and gentle and tremendously appealing.
What is so spectacular about this book is that the author keeps you guessing throughout the whole story, and weaves everything together in such a way that I could not stop reading.
There isn't a lot of love-scenes in this book, but, boy, does one of them make up for it! The passion between the characters literally saturates every page, so you don't miss out on chemistry just because there is not much actual sex.
If you like revenge themed Presents - this is not to be missed.