REVIEW: Captive but Forbidden by Lynn Raye HarrisSunday, August 12, 2012 1:00
This is a good, solid read which I enjoyed—with a few misgivings.
Veronica is in her late twenties, beautiful, and a socialite, but she has been elected president of her country, a little Mediterranean island called Aliz. Raj is a security expert who owns his own company and decides to take care of Veronica after she receives threats. Her country is in a precarious state. It needs new investment, so she’s in London to schmooze some potential investors.
She’s in a Park Lane hotel just before Christmas and there’s a power cut. It’s never said that this is part of the attack on her, but it leads to further acquaintance between Veronica and Raj.
I’ll start with what I didn’t like about this book, and why I couldn’t give it an A.
London doesn’t have power cuts, especially grand hotels in Mayfair, which have their own generators. No way would there be a gap of more than five minutes before the emergency services kick in. Health and Safety would close them down if that happened. If something happened to close central London down like that, especially with a visiting head of state around, there’d be major inquiries. When I was reading, I must have missed a bit, because I thought she was in her home country, where the scenario could work, but central London? Nuh-uh.
During the power cut, her security guards mysteriously disappear, so Raj suspects they are being paid off. This plot thread peters out, and although there’s an explanation, it’s a weak one, and one I couldn’t entirely buy into. The real villain is fairly easy to spot, but it doesn’t really matter, because the concentration in this story is on the romance.
I couldn’t swallow Veronica being elected as president, just because the country is sick of the alternative. She is a party girl, someone trying to run away from her miserable childhood. She doesn’t have the political background, despite her parents being “in the game,” nor does she have the right connections. I just don’t believe it. She probably makes the most unlikely and improbable president in fiction. I think Harris might have been better off, if more conventional, by making Veronica a hereditary leader of her nation. The struggle to become a politician would have been more interesting, but Veronica just wasn’t a politician, and never tried to get elected, or make friends in high places.
The title? Left over from a different story, maybe? Or a reference to a brief incident later in the book?
Raj reads a little like he was being written as the story went on. He is half-Indian but has never lived in India, something we discover later in the book. He has a British accent – no, he has an American one. He’s tall and powerful, with amber eyes and golden skin, could have been a Bollywood star. I squeed when I realized the book had a multiracial hero, but to do the line justice, Modern/Presents has an interesting history of this. Half French, half Spanish, and now half Indian. Raj is still the alpha billionaire the line is based on, and he sounds gorgeous. I’d have jumped him long before Veronica does.
What I enjoyed is the actual romance. Veronica is an interestingly independent heroine, and I can understand why Raj angers her. They start with mutual dislike and physical attraction, but their development into liking and then love works for me. Two people marked by their backgrounds, trying to make successes of their lives. And I really love that Veronica is the reformed rake, not Raj. Raj doesn’t put up with Veronica’s nonsense, but he is forced to when she refuses to let him ride roughshod over her. The characters are well-drawn and interesting, and that’s what kept me reading. If you can ignore the improbabilities and occasional WTFs and concentrate on the central romance, then you’re in for a good read. Kelly’s style is polished and pushes the story along nicely.
The news that wild socialite Veronica St. Germaine has cleaned up her act and stepped into her father’s shoes as ruler of a Mediterranean principality creates a tabloid frenzy! But it’s not just the paparazzi that are out for blood.…
Duty demands that bodyguard Rajesh Vala must protect Veronica—whatever the cost.… But Veronica has always rebelled against commands, and she isn’t making Raj’s job easy!
He calls it safeguarding. She calls it being held captive at his beach house. Both realize that the attraction between them is inconvenient.… Veronica is forbidden, not for bedding!
Read an excerpt.