This is one of the best Harlequins I’ve read for a while. Get your hands on this one. There is a lot of angst and a delicious hint of domination in this book, but only a hint. The hero likes to take control in bed and feels guilty about it. That’s just the start.
Kelly Hunter is always worth reading, but not all her books work this well for me. In this one, she goes above and beyond. This is what a good Harlequin should be, an exploration of character through a familiar trope. It’s part of the launch of the new Kiss line, which is in itself a relaunched Riva. I never quite understood what the Riva line was about. It wasn’t heat level, that’s for sure, as some books were gentle, humorous, and kisses-only, while others were raunchy, angsty, and no holds barred. The Kiss line still seems to have that confused identity. It’s an unusual step for Harlequin, of all publishers, to take, because of the strict requirements of each line, and I don’t see a character for either the Kiss or Riva lines. While I’ll read books at any heat level, some readers prefer to stick to sexy, or sweet, and the blurbs don’t give any indication of the content, so that, too, can be confusing. Some books in the Kiss line are even in the first person, something previously forbidden at Harlequin. But the sex in this book isn’t graphic, it’s just there—a lot.
I love the hero, Logan, and the heroine, Evie, is more than a match for him. At the start of the story, Max and Evie have a successful architecture company. Max is the architect, Evie is the engineer. A nice reversal of roles—he’s the artist. They are bidding for a large contract in an attempt to move up a step and expand their company, but they’re short ten million dollars for the initial work. Max says he will inherit fifty million dollars in two years’ time, or if he marries, he can have it early, and he proposes to Evie a business marriage. She agrees. At this point, I wondered how it would go, since the hero isn’t called Max (you learn that from the blurb).
Logan is Max’s older half brother, and he’s both wealthy and tortured. He’s the product of their mother’s first marriage to an abusive man, and while this is a common trope in Harlequins, the hero’s problems are rarely as well outlined as these. Logan had an affair with Evie, who he knew as Angie (her name is Evangeline) ten years before. He lives and works in London, but he recognizes Evie when Max sends him a photo, and flies home to Sydney to meet her and to stop her marrying his brother.
He walked away from her ten years before, after he caused an accident that necessitated a visit to hospital. After ensuring Evie was all right, he left and didn’t come back. He was scared of turning into his father, and since he likes his sex rough and a bit edgy, he has reason, he thinks, to believe that. While Evie loved his domination, she didn’t know how to cope with it at that age. In the interim, she’s grown up, and she’s now sure of herself and has built a happy life.
I love that Evie doesn’t pine away for Logan, although she’s never forgotten him. She’s had a fair share of lovers, something Logan takes in stride when they reconnect. I love that, too, that he didn’t expect anything of her. They reconnect and it’s on again, and with a heat and emotion that’s rarely described so well.
What makes this book are the characters. Kelly Hunter makes the reader understand the real downside of being a strong son of an overbearing father. Logan has seen and experienced terrible things, and he bears the scars, but he isn’t a martyr, either. He gets on with his life. Only with Evie has he displayed the tendencies that made him fear he was a chip off the old block. He wants to walk away, but he’s too attracted, and they do the dance. But at every point, the dance is understandable, logical and I feel I could relax totally into this story and enjoy their journey, because I’m in the hands of a master (mistress?).
Evie knows her own mind and knows what she wants. There is a part towards the end where I would have stood up and cheered, had I not been too busy reading. Rarely is a black moment so naturally arrived at and dealt with so well. But I can’t tell you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.
My only caveat has nothing to do with Kelly Hunter. What on earth made them give her that cover? It’s absolutely inappropriate. A couple on a sandy rock in beachwear with balloons. Was another cover mixed up with hers? This is an urban book, not a balloon in sight, and the couple on the cover seem carefree and playful. Not two adjectives that come to mind when I’m thinking of Evie and Logan.
This book has two characters you can root for and a serious, though ultimately uplifting treatment of a dilemma that faces many people today. It’s done without preaching, without judgement, and you will love this one.
The man who’s always left her wanting more!
Good job? Check. Newly purchased apartment? Tick. Evie’s life is on a pretty even keel at the moment. The only thing missing? A man with an edge to keep things interesting.
Enter Logan Black. Tortured, distant and sexy, Logan has edge written all over him. He’s also the man who tipped Evie over the edge a few years back – she gave him everything, but he didn’t know when to stop taking.
Leaving Logan was the hardest thing Evie’s ever done. Until now. Because Logan’s back, the chemistry is as blistering as ever and this time he’s not going anywhere…
Read an excerpt.