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This book was different from other harlequin's. The first half was very boring and kind of cold. Neither of the main characters was very likable. The next part was hot and passionate but not satisfying. The end, all the pieces came together in a grand fashion. It was very emotional and had a deep moral theme. It's kind of like the author takes the basic harlequin themes and turns them inside out to teach us all a lesson. I admire that but at the same time it's not what I read a fun, lighthearted bodice ripper romance for. It's really a turnoff and the female character is ultimately overly sensitive and annoying.
This is a premise I enjoy, but this one fell FAR short on the romance. In the best of these, the H/h get to know each other better during the blackmail affair and the H begins to see that the h is not the horrible person he thought she was and there are moments of tenderness/affection/thoughtfulness interspersed with all the misunderstanding and alphole shenanigans. Unfortunately, that's not the case here.
*****My take with some spoilers****
In this case, the H abruptly ends the affair because he's found himself in love with a woman he has no respect for. He essentially drops her like a hot potato before he sullies himself more with the unworthy b. He doesn't find out until after tossing her aside that he was completely wrong about her. He feels like total crap and has to deal with a lot of mental torture and suffers from the requisite weight loss. But, he doesn't have to work to make her love him, which could have made for some great angst/fun. I would have loved some grand, selfless, anonymous gesture aimed to make her life/her brother's life easier. Instead, he just hides out and feels sorry for himself until he happens to stumble upon her again. He's appropriately contrite and expects nothing but her hatred/contempt, but for some unknown reason she already loves him. He doesn't have to do ANYTHING to earn her forgiveness, etc. She'd learned he had a bad childhood, so that magically wiped his slate clean. Even in overly hormonal Romancelandia I believe these 2 were confusing lust and love to an extreme. They didn't know one another at all, since the entire affair was just sex and her wondering around various foreign countries sightseeing on her own while he conquered the world.