I enjoyed my first time read of this novel. And the 2nd and 3rd readings were even more pleasurable. The romance plot for me was just as sensuous as the more graphic encounters in the Breed series.
But the murder plot is just too complicated and internecine for me to get my head round. And the way Marilyn Dekker turns out to be a loving mother who is forgiven all her sins against her daughter was just too ridiculous for words as well as being a complete injustice.
As far as I can figure. The catalyst for all the up-to-date events was Katya’s decision to buy an art gallery in her home town of Denver. That stirred up the latent hatred of Big Jon Traynor. But why did he (or Marilyn Dekker or Albert Thorpe) choose to involve Hawkins again? Just didn’t make sense. So the motivations of the bad guys are too sketchily drawn to understand. The scenes that involved the bad guys talking conveyed more their incompetence rather than their ability to control events.
The murder plot was so anti-climactical. And that includes the fact that the big showdown scene occurs without ANY of the SDF being present. And it’s Katya who rescues Hawkins from the pool. Just to show that on any day an American Princess is better than an ordinary joe.
And why on earth does Katya defend the characters of the gang who tried to rape her to Hawkins? A gang is a gang is a gang. Taken individually, I’m sure most of them were ‘nice boys’ but the whole point of a gang is that it allows the nasty part of a person’s character to reign. imo. I’m not speaking from any personal experience.
There are a lot of romance scenes in this book. Some readers might get tired of them all because essentially many of then don’t do anything for the plot. But I enjoyed them. I enjoyed the memories the main couple have of their first fling together and I liked all the current scenes. Particularly the ‘sex in the car’ scenes…and the ‘drunk on one margherita’ scene. I even liked the ‘mess in the car’ scene.’ And the 'hour and a half in the bathroom' scenes.
I didn’t mind too much the fact that the heroine really did let an innocent man go to jail for a crime that he did not commit. In fact I thought the heroine was a lovely character. She even admits she could live in Hawkins’s loft long before she admits she is in love with him. That’s just like Pride and Prejudice. However. She’s also deeply flawed in that it was obvious that she could be assertive, even with her mother, when she wanted to be. But I’ll be generous and consider that is a skill that came with age and success. Also. Although Katya apologises to Hawkins (13 years after the event), I didn’t really get the impression that she had ever been exactly eaten up with guilt. Still. Being locked up and drugged up in an insane asylum can’t be very nice for anyone, especially a young woman. So as a reader, I accommodated her less pleasant characteristics.
In addition for me, the romance between the main couple sometimes became so intense that I was actually quite glad for the secondary couple’s inclusion. I loved being inside Hawkins' head as he works through his memories and feelings for Katya. And I wondered whether Tara might be a guy, you know. Because men used write quite good romances under female pen-names. Being inside Katya's head was totally different. Because she tended to avoid some memories. Which was understandable really. Seeing how she herself said she used to be somewhat cowardly. A heroine who hyper-ventilates in stressful situations. A heroine who says that a few years ago she couldn't live with herself 7 days out of 7. Hmm. It totally worked for me.
And let’s talk about nick-names. Usually I hate it when the main couple have nick-names for one another. But I thought ‘Bad-Luck’ and the sarcastic ‘Tinkerbell’ suited Katya down to the ground.
I also had a good hard look at the horrible, historically sexist cover. That’s a kid’s water pistol in Hawkins’s hand isn’t it? The legs of the female are just totally 1960s. Beautiful young modern women’s legs have a completely different profile. Their knees are much slimmer and the calf muscles have much less fat on them than the model on the front cover.
I think this series is excellent. Especially since apparently about 6 novels were written in under 2 years. I totally appreciate authors who ‘churn’ out books. It’s a dying skill. But many romance authors used to do it years ago. Strangely, one of the quirks I enjoy in these novels is that important events take place out-of-story. Very unusual that. And of course. I absolutely love love love the writing style.
Do I believe in the HEA. Probably. Mainly because Katya does not have to give up anything by becoming Mrs Christian Hawkins. And she likes his home. But whether messy and tidy can exist together forever. Now that’s a poser. But. Although I don't watch slasher movies. I can totally understand why one of the first people to die is always the Prom Queen.
I'd love to add this novel to my recommendations list but no way am I putting that ghastly cover on my blog. Sorry folks.