Lilian Margaret Peake was born on 25 May in London, England, UK. During the World War II, she moved to the countryside. Her early. NEVER IN A LIFETIME Lilian Peake On a visit to her friend in Scotland, Jacqui had met Fraser Grant and fallen deeply. IRRESISTIBLE ENEMY Lilian Peake He was no knight in shining armor Although Reece Denman was her best friends brother.
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She relaxed with an involuntary sigh against the car's upholstery. Somehow, they're frightening. When the car turned off the road into a winding drive, Jacqui felt relief tempered with apprehension. The sight of the slim, greyinghaired woman standing in the doorway of the large stone-built residence, a smile of welcome lighting her face, did just a little to alleviate her nervousness.
As she lifted her head, her feet crunching gravel, her system was electrified by the sight of two brown, enigmatic eyes looking into hers. They were serious, those eyes, and questing. I was merely doing the gentlemanly thing and helping you out. Am I likely to?
Gwenda's shoulders lifted, but she made no snap retort. Indeed, she answered, 'You could give a girl an inferiority complex with a remark like that. Haven't you noticed how attractive she is, plus her ins arid outs. And she's a blonde. Or have your male reactions gone into hiding? You've been living like a monk, or so Mother says --' 'Be quiet, will you?
They began walking towards the patiently waiting woman in the doorway which was half-shielded by a gabled porch. I know you've got one. Be nice to Jacqui, will you? She's my friend. Get yourself another man. He's being rude to my guest. He's an academic—-aren't you, Fraser? He took her hand and placed her fingers on the back of his. She darted a look upwards. Yes, he had felt the moistness of the skin.
Had he guessed that he was the cause, did he know that the dangerous excitement he generated inside her was affecting her whole system? His hand tipped, making hers slide off.
Gwenda said, 'His subject is English Literature. He doesn't even acknowledge that the sort of work we do exists.
When I tell him that you're working with me on the magazine, he'll look down his nose at you like he does at me. Don't you, Fraser? How was it possible to fit into the framework of learning and erudition this man with a build approaching that of a giant and possessing eyes which contained some of the haunting wildness of the mountains through which they had just passed?
She flexed her fingers. The tingle of his skin lingered on them as though she had touched a live wire. Where's Father? Right, that's it, it said. These cases, Fraser He smiled fleetingly, and Jacqui caught the end of it as his eyes moved to her. He gathered up the luggage as he had done at the station, and indicated with his head that they should follow.
That smile Jacqui had caught had momentarily turned her heart upside down. Its thud inside her chest had nothing to do with climbing the stairs. What am I doing, she thought, letting myself be drawn into this man's ambience? He's impolite, caustic, quite beyond any woman's reach. I've come here for a holiday, she told herself firmly, noting the carved oak grandeur of the wide staircase, and I'm determined to enjoy it. I won't let these ten days be spoilt by an arrogant male called Fraser Grant, even if he is the brother of my best friend.
Is it my usual room? What would you like to eat, dear? But if Gwenda would like Make that for two, will you? Nearer, by a closed door, were his sister's cases. He made no move to go. Gwenda was opening her own door. You'd better accept his politeness this once,' she added in a loud aside. He moved to occupy the doorway. How can I shift such a human rock? Her gaze met his uncertainly. I've travelled a long way today.
But where she had finished up she did not know. One thing she sensed within herself was that the journey wasn't over; that it had, in fact, seemed only just to have begun.
Fraser bowed ironically, kilt swaying. His booted feet took him away and the door swung closed. Jacqui let out a breath she did not even know she was holding. Moaning brightness nudged her sleepily awake and she rolled over face down in the bed. Then she realised where she was and rolled back, staring at the high white ceiling, glimpsing a sun- patch and tracing it to the window directly opposite.
Farther along there was a second window. Flinging the cover aside, Jacqui made for the distant view, gasping at its beauty, drawing into her the greenery, the multicolours and, beyond, the rising gilded mountains. Last night in the half-light she had thought them forbidding. Now their sun-layered heights invited and dared the onlooker to attempt to scale their summits. Nearer home, the bushes and shrubs parted, allowing a glimpse of the loch, its blueness reflecting the sky.
Morning lightened the lawn's green, the sun casting tree-shadows over the smooth grass. Jacqui knelt on the window seat, absorbing the beauty and feeling the glass warm to her fingertips' touch. A figure emerged from behind a line of bushes, and the man looked directly up at her.
His hands were in his trouser pockets, their belted waistband resting just above his hips. His shirt sleeves were rolled, the neck partly opened.
His stare did not spare the feelings of the girl at the window. Looking down at herself, she realised how little her short nightdress concealed, yet she could not tear herself from that gaze. In daylight, his stature seemed more dominating, his shoulders broader, hips strong and lean. He moved to place his feet apart, the better to maintain his bold, audacious stare.
Feeling the warmth in her face steal downwards over her body, she stood back from the window and tugged the curtains across. Did he think she had gone to the window merely to attract his attention?
An antique bedside chest stood to one side of the bed, a small bowl of flowers in its centre. Its twin occupied the space on the bed's other side. A matching dressing-table spread its elegantly curving self between the two high-reaching sash windows.
There were chairs in the same dark wood; on a low oval-shaped table were a pile of glossy magazines, another vase of flowers and a bowl of fruit complete with small, pearl-handled knife.
If this were one day to become the hotel which it seemed Gwenda's parents were contemplating, Jacqui considered, tossing back her curling hair and endeavouring to smooth it, then she would be one person who would surely be unable to afford its prices! The adjoining bathroom was a delight. Its pink-tiled walls called for the white of the bathroom suite it contained.
Over the washbasin and make-up area was an illuminated mirror, while alongside the bath was a large square of pink-tinted mirror tiles. There was a separate shower with sliding panels, and it was. She was wondering, which of her selection of clothes to wear when the ring of a telephone surprised her.
Looking round for the instrument, she found to her surprise that it rested on the bedside cupboard. Tired as she had been last night, she had missed seeing it.
I mean, would a blouse and --? Look, Jacqui, don't think you've got to be on your best behaviour here. Go all out to enjoy yourself, relax. See you down at breakfast. Fifteen minutes? It's a big kitchen, so we eat in there first thing. Gwenda, it was only because it's such a beautiful house. For goodness' sake, feel at home. Jacqui found the kitchen by tracing the source of the sound of clattering crockery.
It was a shock to her system to find Fraser standing near the table reading the newspaper. He lowered the paper, noting her figure-hugging white top and jeans, then raised it again.
Her surprise at finding him there momentarily tangled up her thoughts, but the silence, broken only by a sizzling and clattering from an adjoining room, forced her into saying the first thing- that came into her head. You must have sharp eyes to have noticed that.
No, only desperate ones, she wanted to say, desperate to find a way of communicating with you. She shook her head. They all tell the same story—that all of humanity is crazy. In varying degrees, of course. She tried to smile. The conversation ended and silence threatened to descend again. A door came open and a plump young woman gazed around.
The young woman nodded. My sister Lucy and I help Mrs Grant. Eggs and bacon, Miss White, or cereal and toast?
Or you can have both, if you like. Miss Gwenda usually does when she's here. The brown eyes had started their slow survey before the door had closed and Jacqui wished she had worn a dress that hung like a sack just to stop those insolent eyes seeing the shape of her. She tugged at the chair and sat down, then looked up to defy those eyes, only to find they were again behind the paper. It doesn't matter. Gwenda came flying into the room. Has he been nice to you? Gwenda said, seizing two cups and pouring coffee, 'Why, what has he done to upset you?
Nothing of any significance, anyway. Fraser seemed to have heard it, too, since he folded the paper to manageable proportions and pulled out his chair. At once, Jacqui regretted her second choice of seat. There had been other places she could easily have chosen at the large table.
It could only have been his nearness that made the flesh of her arm tingle, the nerves all over her spring to life.
Molly entered, hands full with breakfast dishes. She smiled a greeting at Gwenda, lowering her breakfast in front of her. I'm glad you've got an appetite. It's more than your friend here has. Look at her wee bite—one egg, one toast, that's all she wanted. Where will you get your energy from to go walking and climbing? That's what I do when I come here.
Just look around you,' she lifted her fork and indicated the scenery beyond the window, 'doesn't it say, "climb up me if you dare"? Malcolm's room, whenever "he comes here, which isn't that often, is near Fraser's.
He's thirty-one—exactly a year younger than Fraser. He's unmarried. He's a climber—not social,' she laughed, 'mountain. Very physical,' she added, 'all muscle and brawn. Except in one thing—Malcolm hasn't got Fraser's brains. He's intelligent, but stupid. The man her eyes were pinioning slapped down the folded newspaper and pushed back his chair.
At that moment, the telephone rang distantly and the three of them froze, listening. The face of a young woman resembling Molly's was pushed round the door from the main part of the house. Jacqui assumed she was Molly's sister. Tell him to hang on a minute, will you? Fraser, be a pal and put the receiver back on when I'm connected upstairs, will you? Jacqui rose, only to find herself still looking upward at him. Does he have to be so tall? He's got so much else, after all Weakness for women?
I bet women don't leave him alone. But there was that manner, detached, aloof—yet with the attracting power of a mammoth magnet. Jacqui, finding the mounting tension becoming unbearable, asked, 'Who's Peter? He followed. They were standing in a linking corridor which led to the entrance hall. The narrow passageway was dimly lighted and it was far too intimate a place for Jacqui's comfort. The man was too near, wrecking her composure. Her blue eyes found his and she hoped she had been able to clear them of all expression.
I'm probably looking tired and I'm hoping to recharge my batteries while I'm here. Isn't that what a holiday is usually for? Let down by a man, no doubt. That's the usual reason. She tried to shake it off, but it would not move. Her Own hand came across to prise it away, and his other hand merely caught hers, holding it. She thought, he's so right, there's everything about him. He disturbed her deeply. The vibrations from his body and brain were hitting her like hailstones against a window pane.
But it was his insight into her feelings that shook her most, shocking her into a sharp, physical pain. I certainly didn't intend it. He released her shoulder but not her hand. Instead, he turned it over and studied it, as ifreading her palm. Then he flicked its centre with his fingers, leaving a stinging sensation at which she compressed her lips. Gwenda met Jacqui on the upper landing. She was glowing from her conversation with her boyfriend.
He's working in Edinburgh. But I told you that, didn't I? I don't know how you can go for so long without seeing him. If I loved someone --' 'If it's real love,' Gwenda put in, 'it stands the test. I know it sounds trite and romantic nonsense, but it's true. I've got a ring in my bag. It didn't cost the earth, because he can't afford it, but I love it. Her eyes were brown too, but lighter, with less depth. She was slim to the point of thinness, but hejr face was round and unlined, unlike Fraser's, whose facial structure was long and grooved by frown marks and lines of resolution and who knew how many corroding past experiences.
Does your brother know? I think he's probably guessed. Feel like climbing mountains, walking along lochs, or going for a drive? Or,' Gwenda considered her, 'you've still got the look of London about you—how about a restful day? With a book, maybe? I thought you might opt for that. After lunch, I'll take you round the gardens.
They're pretty extensive.
The sun had grown so warm, Jacqui had changed into a sleeveless sundress, its rounded neckline curving low. She felt Fraser's contemplation, masculine and assessing, on her shoulders and bare arms.
He even let his gaze wander down her legs to her feet. Defensively, Jacqui drew them in and under the chair. His smile was full of male knowledge and mocking amusement. His shirt was unbuttoned almost to the waist, his casual trousers following the lean line of his hips and thighs. Again Jacqui felt that leap of awareness, trying to swallow it down with a mouthful of coffee, but it wouldn't go, that electric sensation which his every appearance caused inside her.
There's a spare cup. He leaned back to drink, his eyes lifting to the mountains and taking on their own craggy remoteness. Jacqui dared to brave that look. And yes, I've been working. Your mind, your thoughts—they're only half here. I didn't bring her here for you to seduce her. Yes,' he looked at Jacqui fully now, expression empty of meaning, 'I work in my vacation. I write abstruse articles on high-flown literary matters for obscure magazines.
They must do, since I receive quite an amount of correspondence on them. With a nod to Jacqui, he made his way slowly across the circular lawn, studying the grass his sandalled feet were flipping as if he were intending to pass an examination on the subject. Only when he had disappeared round a corner of the house did Jacqui let out a long sigh. Whether it was a relief, or disappointment at his going, she did not dare to analyse.
For the first time, Jacqui met Gwenda's father. James Grant was a well-built, tall man, revealing the source of his son's height. He was dark-haired, too, but time had interspersed it with streaks of grey. He greeted Jacqui with an absentminded smile to accompany his nod of welcome.
Like his son, also, his mind was on other things. The dishes were placed on the table and Mrs Grant invited Jacqui, as the guest, to help herself to whatever she wanted. Conversation became general, and even Fraser was drawn in by his mother.
Jacqui felt the movement as if he had touched hear, then promptly grew annoyed with her own body for its overesensitivity to the man. It was plain that he experienced no reciprocal sensation where she was concerned. He did look her way, however, surprising her searching inspection of his profile. His head was back, his eyes downward slanted, making her feel like a tiny bookmite crawling through the pages of an ancient literary work.
He turned away, lifting his glass to his mouth again. Later, in her room, Jacqui looked out at the darkened mountains, watching the day's light reluctantly ebb away. The trees and bushes in the garden were clearly visible as the sun's last rays spread defiantly across the sky.
Nights were short at that time of the year, in these northern areas, and Jacqui knew that if she stirred in the early hours, the first of the next day's light would be showing itself, colouring in the landscape and coaxing the birds to sing their first songs of the day. After breakfast, Gwenda took Jacqui down steep paths from the house to the vegetable gardens.
At once, his mind returned to his task and Gwenda led Jacqui away towards a greenhouse. He's like a telephone line that's permanently engaged. Climbing a flight of stone steps to yet another level, they turned towards the view, seeing below a wide, hedged field of sheep.
Beyond was the line of nearby hills, backed by the more distant craggy ridge which, with their 'scale me' challenge, drew the eyes constantly. Jacqui's mind went at once to the man who presented a challenge far more formidable, in her eyes, than even those distant heights.
She wondered where he was. He had not appeared at breakfast and she found herself looking out for him, hoping he would come round every corner they approached.
Returning to the main lawns, Jacqui joined Gwenda on the swing seat, resting back under its dark green awning.
The sun was full on them and Jacqui revelled in its warmth, aware that even after two days in that tranquil place, her spirits were reviving fast.
Lucy, Molly's sister, came hurrying from the house, calling to Gwenda. From Edinburgh. Even Jacqui knew it was Peter calling again and something inside her, very like envy, formed a tight knot. She had had a few boy-friends, none of them serious, and she had never felt foe. Gwenda ran back down the steps and across the lawn, her face alight with the glow of having spoken on the telephone to the man she loved. Gwenda took a few gasps and the swing seat's movement slowed. I've had a couple of days' rest.
I was only thinking just how much better I --' 'Of course you can stay on,' Gwenda said emphatically. In fact, I'll call Peter back and tell him it's off. Your parents are busy.
Your brother would want to dump me in the nearest loch. In fact, he can get himself out of his stuffy old study and act as guide.
I'll tell him so. Or just stay here relaxing. It meets the sea out there. Gwenda led Jacqui over stones and boulders to stand on a headland, its sides sloping steeply away. Even on that warm day a breeze blew, tossing loose clothing and untidying the hair. To one side there was a bay of rocks, smoothed by erosion.
To the other was a curving beach of pale sand. The lonely beauty of the place took Jacqui's breath away and she knew that here she could find an inner peace. Across the water the long line of mountains climbed and dropped away. There were islands, some of them little larger than rocks, others with clumps of trees.
Gwenda cast a wry glance over her shoulder.
He does spend a lot of time alone? I'm the last person he'd confide in. And if you dare tell her you aren't,' she was opening her door and gnashing her teeth at the same time, 'I'll --' 'Okay, I'll stay,' agreed Jacqui, laughing. Fraser appeared for dinner that evening.
His glance at Jacqui told her as eloquently of his thoughts as the blank pages at the end of a book. His mother gave him a warm welcome, saying she had not seen him all day. His father spoke a quiet 'good evening, Fraser', and took his place at the table, his eyes already inspecting the dishes of vegetables which had been placed on the table.
If she had thought the comment would encourage James Grant to speak, she was wrong. He nodded and she was rewarded with the faintest of smiles, which could, only mean, she reflected with amusement, that she had at least managed to please him.
As she pulled out her chair, she caught Fraser's eye.
There was a glint of amusement there, too, as if he had followed the trend of her thoughts. Frowning, she reflected, how is it he sees and intercepts so much of what is going on in my mind, yet I can't even penetrate the outer skin of his?
His shirt was a blue-grey and open-necked, his shoulders pushing at the fabric. He sat, elbow on table, chin supported by his long fingers, waiting for others to be served. Jacqui guessed that his mind was anywhere but in that room. A quick look around showed her an antique china cabinet, a tall, glass-fronted bookcase across the room and along one wall, a large and antique sideboard displaying silverware and valuable painted vases, in some of which delicately perfumed roses had been arranged.
Gwenda had taken over the conversation, talking about her coming journey across country to Edinburgh. Fraser lifted his shoulders with resignation.
Gwenda smiled. I do hope you'll stay on here, dear. They were there to meet hers, as unreadable as ever, bringing colour to Jacqui's cheeks. Now why did I have to do that? It was almost as if she had been asking his consent. That evening, Gwenda lingered in Jacqui's room. He's got his own—the small but fast variety. Her friend had warned her that she would need to leave early for the drive to Fort William. There she would catch the train which would take her on the first stage of her journey eastwards.
Fraser, she had said, would drag himself out of bed to take her, then probably go back to it on his return. Jacqui ate a light breakfast, sitting alone at the large kitchen table. A newspaper lay beside the place which Fraser usually occupied. It had been opened out, but since it was dated a day earlier, Jacqui reasoned, he had probably read it yesterday.
Leaving the house by the rear entrance, she walked along the terrace and round the side of the building. There she found the path along which Gwenda had taken her when she had shown her the way down to the loch. The gates she passed through she shut carefully behind her.
The sheep stared unflinchingly as she approached, only to swerve violently away as she came unfalteringly on. Another gate opened on to a wilder scene and grass gave way to a rocky surface. The raised headland on which she had stood with Gwenda pushed outward into the loch. The water, swelled by the sea's tides to which it was linked, frothed around the shore. The climb and fall of mountains dropped gently to meet the loch, and there were the islands she had seen before, like wide-spread stepping stones leading the way eventually to the sea which became a part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Only when the newcomer was an arm's distance away did Jacqui realise he was there. He startled her so much she almost fell. His hand came out and caught her, steadying her. He wore a green round-necked sweater over his shirt. His pants were green too, and creased with wear.
Over-sensitive to the touch of him, she pulled to free her arm from his hold. In response, it tightened slightly, as did the line of his mouth. His hand slid back into his pocket. The last boy-friend I had was over a year ago. We weren't suited. Since then I've found no one else. The sea-loch washed against the foot of the headland. The sound of sheep communicating drifted from behind them. A cuckoo, quite improbably, sent its song away to the mountain summits, and Jacqui rejoiced in it all.
He had come to stand beside her. The blood in her, veins responded to his proximity and she cursed whatever it was in him that made her body's chemistry act in such a way.
What was it about him, she questioned herself fiercely, that attracted her? That look in his eyes? But she found that impossible to decipher. His breadth of shoulder and hip, the strong arms which he had just folded across his chest? And what did all that add up to? He was also a man, she was certain, whom no woman would succeed in binding to her through any kind of affection, nor even love.
This man beside her, as forbidding as those high-ridged mountains was, for sure, impervious to love. The breeze caught her at the same time as the thought and she shivered, cold inside as well as out. His head turned towards her, although she did not look at him. There were a series of movements, then hands were turning her. He bent her head and slipped the neck of the sweater over it, ruffling her hair. Her face emerged flushed and laughing.
He went to pull the jersey down over her, but she forestalled him, afraid of what the touch of his hands might do to her. Now you'll be cold. Ice cold to my very depths. There was also a look in his eyes that told her his emotions were frozen into his own personal Ice Age, with not a sign of thaw in sight.
Why did her heart have to sink like a stone thrown into the loch? While Fraser's effect on her amounted to little less than devastating, to him she was no more than a friend of his sister's left on his hands while she was away.
Jacqui put on a smile. It's a lovely day. Doesn't this touch you, all this—this beauty? Had she changed his mood, conjured a smile from his hard face? His eyes did not follow where her hand had pointed. It stayed instead on her face, unsmiling, tracing her features like a walker mapping out a route. They came to rest at last on the deep blueness of her eyes, holding them, probing as if trying to read their message.
Had he, she wondered, seen their puzzlement, their uncertainty? Had they let tier down, her eyes, betraying her sensitivity to everything about him? A curl of fair hair blew across her face, and his hand reached out and brushed it back. His fingers seemed unwilling to leave and trailed Sown the soft skin of her cheek.
Then he pulled his hand away like a parent disciplining a child. A muscle in his jaw moved and at last he looked outward, over the loch to the grey, sunflecked mountains. Once again he had taken on their remoteness. It was as if the fleeting contact between them had never taken place. Was this how it was, Jacqui surprised herself by wondering, when he made love to a woman? Passion, controlled and deliberate, then nothing? Her arms hugged her waist, holding his sweater close, trying to imagine it was he who was warming her, transmitting his body's heat to her.
It was all she would ever know, she told herself. It was the nearest she would ever get to him. Her head lifted. You can go back to your work with a clear conscience. Sorry about that. Jacqui laughed, too: Someone had turned the day's dimmer switch up again. Their smiles met, clashed and entangled.
Jacqui found it impossible to extricate herself from the maze of feeling into which an emotion beyond reason had led them. He was the first to find the way out. They had not touched, yet her heart was pounding as though he had made violent love to her. His attention returned to their surroundings.
As they walked across the entrance hall from the rear door, Elizabeth Grant came down the wide staircase. She smiled at once, yet her eyes, moving from Jacqui, still wearing Fraser's sweater, were curious as they rested on her son.
She looked down at herself, and it came into her mind that Fraser's action in lending it to her could have been construed as a gesture just crossing the border into familiarity. Hurriedly, to cover her heightened colour at the idea, she lifted the sweater's hem over her head and, to her dismay, became trapped by its npok. Hands came swiftly and surely to her aid, and she emerged confused but smiling to hide it.
Fraser pulled at the woollen garment, turning the outside of it back to its rightful place. His mother looked at him and then back to Jacqui. Now, down on her luck and finding herself ironically in Bla She could not shake the tragic past Get A Copy. Paperback , Harlequin Presents , pages. Published August by Harlequin Books first published More Details Original Title.
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To view it, click here. This novel stirred up a lot of mixed emotions in me. At times I hated every single character in this story and at times I hated the story itself. Carla, the heroine of this story has made a career of letting the entire world and his relatives kick her down into the dumps. Downtrodden is too good a word to describe the condition of this girl's pathetic existence when the story starts.
She's just lost her job working as a minimum wage shop assistant, her brother Nigel kicks her out of his house be This novel stirred up a lot of mixed emotions in me. She's just lost her job working as a minimum wage shop assistant, her brother Nigel kicks her out of his house because his girlfriend Pauline is pregnant and they need Carla's room for the baby. It was beyond cruel what her brother did. His kid wouldn't be born for at least 7 months yet he tells his unemployed sister to get out in 2 weeks' time.
He doesn't care that she has nowhere to go because their parents are away on a long vacation and there's no mention of her living in her parents' home I assume they must still have one. Anyway, Carla's life begins to assume a story line that seems to resemble the theatre of the absurd rather than a romance novel. A lot of the angst in this novel stems from Carla's previous engagement to a guy called Crispin.
This had been 3 yrs earlier when she was only The H is Crispin's older brother Blaze. The H blames Carla for his brother's death in a car accident. Blaze views Carla as a seductress who wove a web of evil lust that consumed his little brother: He had wrongly assumed that she had been driving because when she and Crispin had left the party, she had been at the wheel. Blaze was unaware that Crispin had bullied Carla into stopping the car so his drunk and stupid ass could drive.
Carla should have walked instead of getting back into the car with a drunk driver but this girl is not very smart. She proves that consistently throughout the rest of the novel, with all the TSTL things she does and the asinine decisions she makes.
Blaze is a cruel asshole and that's me being complimentary: He treats her horribly: It was very demeaning. The girl had nowhere to go and he uses his legal authority as the owner of the mooring area to bully her when she's sick and starving. Carla is literally burning up with fever and has no money to download food or pay for a doctor's visit.
It is only when she almost collapses that the bastard lifts her up and takes her into his lakeside mansion: The condescension continues after she becomes a "guest" in his home. All her clothing on the old boat is ruined so what does Blaze do? He loans her his penis polisher's clothing. Yup, you heard me: This woman Janetta is one of the vilest, most sickening, nasty, neurotic, obsessive, delusional and bitchy evil OW I've encountered recently in a romance novel. I just remembered I should have mentioned the strangest wedding and marriage happens between the MC's.
Blaze had basically ordered Carla to marry him. She kept saying no but still continued her spineless desperate yearning for his kisses. Then they argue, he locks her in her room and tells her she won't be allowed out until she agrees to marry him. The MC's relationship is so rocky and filled with conflict that they're like this cat and dog that keep nagging each other: Oh and the kind housekeeper Ellen is his co-conspirator; Ellen believes in her addled, romantic mind that she's doing the poor heroine a favour.
Then the MC's have sex, Blaze tells her she will marry him and she smiles like a besotted dummy and agrees because she is in love. It's a new incarnation of that old syndrome that has felled many a juvenile female heart: Love via orgasmic bliss. It's just a pity that the love seems to be a bit one sided: This dog is smarter than Carla, because at least he thinks it safer to stay away from something he can't trust - even though it looks harmless.
This is the asshole H, Blaze: I swear that this H showed signs of a schizo or bi polar personality. One minute he is horrible, then he is sweet and almost poetic then he is menacing again and accusing her of killing his brother.
It's like a vicious cycle with these two. Their wedding night is spoiled when Janetta turns up shouting loudly and saying stuff that causes Carla to put on her oldest suit of clothing, hightail it out of the mansion and go to stay on the boat. Why do heroines always have to wear their most dowdy outfit when they're leaving the H? Why not leave in style, with a chin raised defiantly and shoulders erect with pride? The scene that follows is one that is really tormenting for the heroine. Blaze turns up on the boat, forcibly seduces her then leaves her after.
She might have made her bed by leaving him but his actions were contemptible. Carla needed to read The Art of War: She thought she had gotten the upper hand on Blaze by leaving him on their wedding night. Then he comes, makes her have sex with him and leaves her in the dark, musty, boat with no food!
His parting comment proved that he knew exactly what he was doing too: How much more was he going to humiliate her? He turned to the pile of her clothes, scooped them up and dropped them, item by item, along her white body. It was a mocking gesture, coloured with contempt. He was at the cabin door.
Only then did he answer her question. You walked out on me, so why shouldn't I reciprocate? These two seemed to share nothing but intense sexual chemistry. I couldn't feel the love. Carla also did some really dumbass things such as going out on dates with Janetta's lecherous brother, even after the sleazy guy forcibly kissed her and pushed himself on her. This girl had no brains, no common sense and no sense of self preservation.
All she seemed to want to do was to battle with Blaze and so, if Blaze was having cosy little "business" dates with Janetta then she would continue to date the OW's near rapist brother. Blaze even showed his own signs of utter stupidity because Rolf and Janetta both worked for his competitor yet he allowed the OW to type in his home office. Then when Rolf almost sabotages an important meeting for Blaze, the asshole H blames Carla and accuses her of giving Rolf insider information.
The asshole forgets conveniently, that HE is the one who had given the bitch carte blanche by allowing her to come and go in his study freely. There was only ONE instance where Carla actually stands up to Janetta and it deserves highlighting since it's perhaps her single show of pride and real defiance: I've been the female in his life for a long time. I know his needs, and I can satisfy them. I have experience on my side.
I'm fresh and new—still something of an unknown quantity, even to my husband.