For three years, Kalera has been a model secretary to Duncan Royal, with only one hiccup in their otherwise perfect relationship: a one-night stand that should never have happened, and which both have tried to forget. Or so Kalera thought.
But Duncan is haunted by their one night of unbelievable passion, and secretly longs for their relationship to develop after office hours. As a rule, he can have any woman he wants--so he's furious when Kalera announces her engagement to another man! Whatever it takes, Duncan intends to entice her into his bed once more--and this time it will be forever.
I don't read category often, but this hit the spot. Harlequin Presents about a wealthy tech CEO, Duncan Royal, who's been in love with his widowed office manager for years. He finds out that she's ready to move on from her grief when she tenders her resignation and announces that she's engaged to his rival -- another successful CEO, of course, and once Duncan's best friend.
The book has some serious problems. The ridiculously named heroine, Kalera, is engaged to the rival for most of the book. She wears the rival's rock until almost the last page. I'm not usually a stickler for cheating as a trope, but in this case the Kalera prides herself on faithfulness and trustworthiness and the rival is extremely jealous. Kelara feels a little bit of guilt about hiding her indiscretions with Duncan from her fiance, but not all that much. And then there's the fact that Kelara has worked for Duncan for years but apparently had no idea that he was in love with her, or the fact that she's been dating the rival for a few months and is surprised to discover that he's the jealous type.
Well. If you start asking questions, there are lots. That's all I'm saying.
On the other hand, there were some wonderful elements. I'm going to pretend that Duncan didn't show up at a restaurant in a bolero jacket, but I really liked his dangly earring. He's obsessed with clothes, he's super emotive and really verbal about it, quite a talker actually, and he's so emotionally supportive to Kelara -- who is, by contrast, cool and collected and emotionally repressed. A nice role reversal there, even more impressive in a Presents, a line synonymous with alphahole heroes.
The sole function of the workplace environment here is to put Kelara and Duncan in the same room. They have a sort of friends to lovers vibe, with Kelara astonished to discover that Duncan is interested in her, despite more than ample evidence. Duncan pulls a lot of silly stunts, showing up where he's not invited, bossing Kelara around, but manages to come off as a sweet guy who's just really uninhibited and emotional, rather than crazy or overbearing.
It's not a subtle book, but the characterization skillfully done. Naturally Duncan is burly and hairy and sculpted. Kelara is slim and blonde and everything about her is tiny. We even find out that she has tiny tiny feet. Much is made of their differences in size. The writing is smooth and concrete, in that Harlequin way. Pretty decent, if you're in the mood.read more
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