REVIEW: The Man Who Risked It All by Michelle ReidSaturday, April 7, 2012 1:00
Well, actually, he doesn’t. Not his life, not his money, not his reputation. At least, not for the heroine.
Franco races power boats, and the story starts with a disastrous crash that takes the life of his best friend and injures him. Franco has already decided that he wants his wife back, the one he wanted three years before, and he sets about doing it.
He arranges it all so that Lexi will abandon everything and run back to him. His father begs her to, she hears that he’s seriously ill, on the point of death even. So she dumps everything to fly to his bedside. He’s injured, but not as badly as he’s allowed her to believe, but when Lexi discovers that and tries to leave, he threatens to rip the shunt from the back of his hand and follow her.
That’s right. A real prince. A manipulative, selfish prince who’s determined to get his own way, whatever it costs other people. All through the story, this selfish man doesn’t let up. He takes her back to his palace (I kid you not, the building described is pretty much a palace) and uses emotional blackmail to keep her there.
Which, of course, means that he has a doormat on his hands. Lexi does what he wants her to, despite constantly whining that she has to get back to her life in London. She left him three years before and has just served him with divorce papers, but he’s not going to let her get away with that. She’s his, dammit.
Add to that the most inventive collection of speech tags I’ve read in a long time. I kept getting distracted from what they were saying by the way they were saying it. During the course of one conversation at the beginning of the book, we get “he challenged harshly,” “she denied,” “she admitted,” he clipped out,” “she contended,” “he sliced back,” “pressed home,” “reminded him gently.” All that in one page. I admit, I’m a bit of a “said” purist, but I can get by a few different tags. But all these had me wondering what tag she would come up with next, instead of taking in the information. There are a lot more, and Franco does a fair bit of “husking.”
There are also a few point of view switches, so that characters can somehow see their own eyes and how they look at a distance.
There are misunderstandings built on misunderstandings. Lexi thought Franco was cheating on her when she was in hospital miscarrying their child. For that alone, Franco should have grovelled, even though, of course, he didn’t do it. But one of my disappointments is the lack of a really good grovel at the end.
There’s another man who loves her, an older man named Bruce. He wants her back in London, and Franco feels that he is manipulating her and has for a long time. Pot, meet kettle. They both do it for her own good, of course. Oh no, silly me – they do it because it’s some kind of stags locking antlers thing, and they want the prize. I never got the feeling that either of them really wanted Lexi or understood her needs. Otherwise, they’d both leave her alone.
Lexi is supposed to be a bit kooky and buys soft toys for her men friends. Oh goodie, so we have a “crazy chick” here, one who probably shouldn’t be allowed out on her own. She shows no real judgement and absolutely no independence of thought. If there is any consolation, it’s that at least both Lexi and Franco won’t be bothering anyone else anytime soon. They really deserve each other.
This fearless playboy has everything to lose… For Franco Tolle, the golden boy of Europe’s jet-set society, life is just a playground – filled with racing speedboats on the azure Mediterranean Sea. When you’re rich and famous money is no object…and to hell with the consequences! But he once took a risk with a price bigger than he was willing to pay… In a rush of red-hot infatuation he put a glittering diamond wedding ring on Lexi Hamilton’s finger, yet within months they were living separate lives. Now Franco’s daredevil life has caught up with him – but he’ll risk it all for the one thing he craves…his estranged wife!
Read an excerpt.