THE GUARDED HEART by Robyn Donald
Publisher: Harlequin Presents #623
Source: Pulled from print TBR
His was a terrible vengeance
Alannah’s thoughtlessness when she was sixteen had caused an accident with tragic consequences. Then, three years later, when she’d finally come to terms with the past, she was painfully reminded of her guilt.
Nicholas Challoner, haunted, brooding for his dead wife and unborn child, was not a man to forget–or to forgive.
He demanded a retribution that only Alannah could pay. And the elaborate web he had woven as part of his revenge left her no way out!
This is puzzling. I thought this was a book I hadn’t read and I pulled it from the TBR after I saw some readers discussing it at the Amazon Forums. I knew I had it, went looking for it and finally found it in one of the many bins holding my prints books. Then went to Goodreads to mark it as “Want To Read” only to see I had read this one sometime in 2010…yet, I don’t remember anything about it. Usually when I read something I’ve already read, a scene or two will jump out at me and I’ll know I’ve read it before but this one…there was nothing about it that reminded me of a previous read.
Heroine was involved in an accident that killed the hero’s wife and unborn child when heroine was sixteen years old. At the time, hero was twenty-seven. After the accident, the heroine and her father go to pay their respects to the hero. Because the heroine was nervous, he overheard her laughing as she and her father were leaving. That event snowballs into the hero befriending her family while she’s away at school and when she comes back three years later, the hero tells her that she will marry him (to replace his deceased wife) and she will give him a child (to replace the one she stole from him when she killed his wife). He makes it so she can’t refuse him without her mother and sister suffering from her decision. There begins the constant fighting/bickering “I hate you! I’ll never forgive you for this!” that is a staple for older Harlequin Presents stories. She hates him, he tells her he doesn’t care, he wants only her body and for her to give him a child. She fights him the whole time, at one point she says something to him (I can’t even remember right now what it was) and he responds by slapping her across the face. This is a few pages before they find out she’s pregnant.
There’s the typical other woman who is snarky to the heroine when they’re alone but oh so sweet when the hero is around them. There’s the business trips he takes that the other woman is always around for while the heroine is at home hating the hero and at times hating her pregnancy, etc etc etc.
Then comes the last couple of pages where it’s all changed. He’s loved her since he first saw her…remember their first meeting? She was paying her respects to him on the loss of his wife, who he lost a month before. She was sixteen. He was twenty-seven at that meeting. He’d loved his wife oh so much but then the heroine walked into his house a month after his wife died and he was just drawn to her. Hmm. OK. We’ll go with that. Then, the heroine — who spent the whole story fighting him and refusing to respond to him sexually any time he touched her — blurts out that she loves him oh so much and is so happy that he loves her too. Hmm. Maybe this whole WTFery about how they met and the revenge plot on his part is why I forgot everything about this book the first time I read it? So much eye-rolling on my part. So. Much.
Friday | Filed in: 2 Lillies Reviews | 2015 CRR Challenge | 2015 TBR Challenge | Harlequin Presents | Robyn Donald | Comments (2)