Heroine lives a quiet & unassuming life with her grandparents in the Sicilian countryside. Being in the arms of American war Hero changes the course of her life. Even though it was accidental because Hero was having a traumatic flashback from his war experiences during the wedding party they were at.
She’s astonished that he would be attracted in someone drab and full-figured as her.
But takes advantage of the opportunity embarks in a 2-day affair with him.
A month later she flies to Washington DC and informs him she’s pregnant.
He proposes a marriage of convenience to tamp down any media sensation that would ruin his family’s political reputation.
Even though she's disappointed at his response, she understood what a scandal can do to a famous family like his and agrees to their temporary marriage. But hopes for more. Hero begins to want more with her as they spend more time together. But would she want a future with him once she finds out the truth of his military past?
This book could not get past average. I read the whole thing, albeit reluctantly, to see if it would get more exciting since I’ve liked the only other Harris book I read. But, no. Bland the whole way. This book lacked the emotional intensity, excitement, and in-depth characterization that Harris’ Strangers in the Desert had. In this book, heroine was always looking for the love she never received aside for her grandparents and was always disappointed. She was full of insecurities because of her size and shape and her social awkwardness. She was a disappointment to her large and influential Sicilian family and some let her know it. When meeting Hero at a family wedding party, she expected to be ignored or, the very least easily forgotten, but Hero’s honing his attention on her was a welcome anomaly. She took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event and yielded herself to him sexually and emotionally, even though he was clear about its temporary nature. She lied about her sexual experience and gave him her virginity. She really was pathetic in her poor view of herself, her expectations from others, and her hoping for the impossible. She set herself up for disappointment time and time again. More like a doormat than a hopeful & positive person.
It was to her benefit that Hero was so concerned about his family’s socio-political reputation and proposed a marriage of convenience. I don’t think Hero would’ve ever looked for her. One, because of his insecurities due to his war experiences. Two, he wasn’t emotionally invested in her at all and easily let her go, after their 2 days together. Her flying to Washington DC from Italy just to tell him she was pregnant spoke of her doormatty hopefulness. She hoped that he was as emotionally affected as she was over their affair a month before. She spent the little money she had for the plane for because of her hope that he’d be happy she was pregnant and want a happy family together with her. He wasn’t and even doubted he was the biological father of the baby and ordered a DNA test. It was not the reunion she hoped for. She wasn’t a total doormat because she started planning a single-parent life without reluctant Hero. But she did easily relent to his temporary marriage arrangement. Again, because she hoped that he might change his mind about its temporary nature and want more with her. Heroine had her brief moments of pushing past her pushover mentality but she’d default to it with just a little sliver of hope from Hero. She even had some moments of strength, where she’d push Hero off of her, in the middle of her brain-numbing sexual forays with him, when she’d remember that he was likely manipulating her with sex. Most of the time, though, Hero’s sexual manipulations did work. Her brain turned off and she’d give in to him.
The overall romance was average as far as Harlequin Presents goes. They did fall in love but nothing spectacular. Their relationship came at the right time and right place. Hero did open up to her about his war trauma.
---------------SPOILERS: Don’t read below if you don’t want to know the book’s details---------
A group of marines were sent to rescue him and all died in the process. He felt guilty for their deaths as well as not being brave enough to take his own life. The last marine who helped him gave him a pistol to use once, either to shoot himself or shoot the enemy with it. He’d been drugged by the enemy and injured before that from ejecting off his crashing plane. So, the choice he made to save himself was partly due to his weak mental and physical condition. He couldn’t forgive himself for not being strong enough to choose his own death and being the only survivor. Thus, he saw his being lauded as a war hero as a mockery and didn’t think he was a man worthy to be a husband to heroine and a father to their unborn child.
And heroine, of course, loved him despite of it. And the war trauma really wasn’t anything that shocking. Therapy was mentioned and Hero agreed to it later. Their HEA(happy ever after) was quite possible. Again, nothing spectacular. Just average.
I limitedly recommend this book.