Limecello’s Duckies Do Series reviews of The Hardcastle Progeny Series by Jennifer Lewis
Contemporary romances released by Silhouette Desire Feb – Apr 2009
Rawr. My original review got eaten, so please just imagine all sorts of witty brilliance throughout, ok? So – Silhouette Desire is one of my favorite Harlequin Lines. I also pick books based on author, and I know I’d read and enjoyed ones by Jennifer Lewis before. But even more so, I noticed the title to the second book in the Hardcastle Progeny series. I could be wrong, but Desire books set in Argentina are rather rare, and this one caught my attention. After reading it I realized I was in the middle of a series, so I got the other books, and here we are!
Millionaire’s Secret Seduction (Book 1)
Released 10 Feb 09
I haven’t quite managed to finish this book, but it is the first in the series! :X
A multimillion-dollar family dynasty was hard to walk away from. And that’s what Dominic Hardcastle intended to do. Until he met his father’s employee Bella Andrews. She was intriguing and sexy beyond reason… and out to ruin his estranged, ruthless father. So Dominic offered to keep her secret if she’d keep him company…after hours.
Everything about Dominic set off alarms in Bella’s head. For he had the power to destroy her plans. Maybe some intense overtime with Mr. Tall, Dark and Dangerous was needed. Suddenly her scheme didn’t seem so simple…or her heart so safe.…
Read an excerpt here.
In the Argentine’s Bed (Book 2)
Released 10 Mar 09
This book reminds me a lot of a Harlequin Presents, but it definitely also has the tone of a Desire. The setting, the manner in which Amado treats Susannah is an interesting mix. He’s quite solicitous of her as a guest, and gentle as a lover – but as someone in a relationship… he’s your typical category hero. Of course, the interesting thing is that the heroine Susannah is the actual “bad guy” in the book. Not so much she does anything wrong, but she is the bearer of bad news and causes problems.
Amado Alvarez is a rather unique hero. He has a sense of duty, loves his home, his parents, and had a nice, well adjusted child hood. Of course, in typical romance fashion, it all comes crashing down around him. (Nevertheless, I was really excited Amado had a normal, and happy childhood. This is a good thing!) Luckily, Amado’s a big boy and can handle the skeletons that are revealed. I felt that Susannah was able to hold her own in the foreign setting, and that she could stand up to Amado. The book focused on their relationship, which I always love, but there was also a lot of plot movement as well.
I can definitely see myself re-reading this book.
It was just one “simple” mission—find out whether a winemaker in Argentina was a New York millionaire’s long-lost son. But Susannah Clarke quickly learned Amado Alvarez played by his own rules. He’d give her the DNA sample she wanted—if she spent the night with him! And in a moment of madness, she’d given in, to his demand and to her own desire. Now she had to return to South America to face this compelling, sensuous man again—and to face the consequences of that one unforgotten, unforgettable night in a stranger’s bed….
Read an excerpt here.
The Heir’s Scandalous Affair (Book 3)
Released 14 Apr 09
This book has enough material to be a novel, yet Ms. Lewis paces it perfectly, and everything that should be resolved is by the end of this category book. I also appreciated that nothing was rushed. Based on the beginning of the book I didn’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did, but everything about this book is just so right. It definitely helped that I read In the Argentine’s Bed first, because I think that gave a great -and important- foundation for Samantha’s character. If you think about it, Samantha and Louis’s relationship really is taboo. She’s his step mother. He’s… well you get the point. Even though they’re not related in any way, the social stigma exists. I was pleased that Ms. Lewis addresses this issue, and manages it in a way that I found not only believable, but convincing. (And yes, for once, the title is not only accurate, but telling.)
Samantha’s character also impressed me. Generally, the put upon window, poor me, is not someone I feel bad for. Oh boo hoo, I’m so beautiful I’ve been married so many times because men want me, and want a fabulous life. However, there’s so much more to her, and I think her character is sufficiently explained, and developed in The Heir’s Scandalous Affair (yes, this book). By the end, I was convinced Samantha and Louis had to be together, and that it not only made perfect sense, it was right.
I also liked Louis’s character. He’s very unique, and quite special. His attitude towards life is refreshingly new, and I felt that he was a great match for Samantha. Not to mention he owns a lot of restaurants, has a crazy mother, a blase outlook on life, and is mad for Samantha.
The different settings really highlight each character’s personality, and life as well. It’s nice that Samantha first goes to find Louis in New Orleans, and then after the initial meeting they go to New York. There was also enough closure to the series, and nice cameo appearances by the other “Hardcastles” as well. I definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy Silhouette Desire books.
Young widow Samantha Hardcastle longs to find her late husband’s heir and bring him into the family. Even so, restaurateur Louis DuLac won’t respond to her calls or letters—or knocks at his New Orleans door. All alone, Samantha succumbs to the sensual refuge offered by a gorgeous stranger. Who turns out to be Louis DuLac.
Louis never knew his father’s identity. Now this trophy widow wants him to take a DNA test to prove—or disprove— that he is a Hardcastle. No problem—if Samantha agrees to spend another evening with him….
Read an excerpt here.
Overall Grade: B-
I think that there’s something very unique and rather special about Ms. Lewis’s books. Granted the “lost heirs” seem to take their place in the Hardcastle business or family with great equanimity – more than one might generally expect. Nevertheless, there is a reason for that, and the characters all stay true to themselves. While the basic premise of the stories I suppose aren’t that different, the way in which Ms. Lewis approaches them gives new life to these romance tropes. Although I was sure there would be the happy ending, I didn’t know how the characters would get to it. I definitely recommend these two stories to anyone who enjoys Ms. Lewis’s books or Silhouette Desires.