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Typically if I'm reviewing a book way past its release date, then it means that I had a problem finishing the book. I started this book the end of March but after reading a couple of chapters I put it down. It's not a horrible book, but the predictability and series formula killed my interest quickly.
Simon Holcroft’s compelling motivation for success is to best his brother. He has taken that determination and built his import business into a twenty million dollar a year organization. Finally back home in Atlanta after a grueling twenty-six hour flight from Australia, all Simon wants to do is sleep. Instead he finds a stranger – a beautiful young woman- asleep in his bed, surrounded by cleaning products. He is surprised by the intense surge of lust that hits him watching her sleep, but then again his sex life has been almost nonexistent, taking a back seat to his business commitments. As if his lusty thoughts alter the air in the room, Goldilocks wakes up. After a few minutes of conversation, Simon is interrupted by the doorbell. Answering it, he finds his ex-girlfriend and future sister-in-law, Francine, on the other side with seduction on her mind. Using Goldilocks aka Carolina Sampson as a defense against her sexual aggression, he rashly states that Carolina is his fiancé and then states he is taking her home to meet his parents over the holidays.
Carolina is mortified at being caught sleeping in her employer’s bed but working long hours to pay for law school and then all the time spent studying have deleted her reserves. Caught by surprise by the near naked woman strolling into the bedroom like she owns it and then shocked by Simon’s ludicrous announcement, Carolina’s shock has her playing along. Her reluctance to get involved in this outlandish scheme is easily demolished by Simon’s persuasiveness.
Carolina hates the thought of lying to his parents, but then(of course) there is a sick mother and this news will make her so happy. As a college student she doesn’t have the right clothes, and so Simon gets her to acquiesce to a new wardrobe along with a three carat diamond ring, Mikimoto pearls, and other needed props for her role. And naturally Simon's parents are so pleased that she is quite different from his normal type and they immediately love her.
Honestly there is not too much else to say. While the book is not a bad book, it is a cookie cutter one. Yes, there are flashes of true emotion such as when the heroine talks of her mother or the family Scrabble game, but mainly the perfection of the characters keeps them from seeming real and the obviousness of the plot contribute to its unoriginality. Even Simon's irrational competitiveness with his brother does not help. Hats off to Ms. Schield for having a lesbian couple as secondary characters instead of the prerequisite(and often stereotypical) gay guy best friend, though.
When I read a book like this, sometimes I do wonder if publishers' guidelines almost mandate this type of storyline. Then I remember that even authors for the most rigidly defined of series are able to make a plot uniquely theirs - and this is a book from Carina, which allows its authors much more freedom in their writing than some of the more traditional presses. While it is obvious that Ms. Schield has a talent of expression -she won the Romance Writers of America 2010 Golden Heart Award for series contemporary romance- this book doesn't set her apart from other authors.
-- Leigh Davis
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