BLOG REVIEW: Don't Ask Me Now by Emma Darcy

22y.o. heroine is torn between her unresolved feelings for her ex-boyfriend and her gratitude towards her current boyfriend.  
Five years ago, she moved to Sydney after she was rejected by her own family and humiliated and abandoned by her ex-boyfriend and his snobbish family.
It’s driven her to succeed in her business and in Sydney society. She finally achieved them with the help of her current boyfriend 
who invested in her business 4 years ago and introduced her to the right people. Her life was finally in the right place and she's finally considering more serious matters with her boyfriend.
But, at the eve of her acceptance in Sydney society, she encounters her ex-boyfriend again. 
He is not only pleased to see her but wants her back in his life. She accepts his offer for her and her boyfriend to visit his family ranch for the weekend, mostly to sort out her feelings. But matters become messier instead, when her current boyfriend catches her in the arms of her ex.
And things turn out to be different than what she expected. Who does heroine end up with?

I was impressed at this 1987 Darcy book. I’m not a fan of love triangles but this one was so upredictable and different than the standard HP(Harlequin Presents) I was loving its uniqueness. I didn’t know who the Hero was until past the halfway point of the book. Both men were written with both good and bad, with heroine feeling mixed emotions about them. I was kept guessing. The emotionality of the writing kept me swinging back and forth based on what heroine was going through at that moment. Heroine was still heavily influenced by her past feelings and memories. She was emotionally beaten down 5 years ago from being rejected by her own parents, belittled by her boyfriend’s parents, and abandoned by her boyfriend.  And her motivation to succeed in the past 4 years was due to those experiences. It made her disregard her current boyfriend and view him more as a tool to avenge her past by being successful now. She appreciated his constant encouragement and support in her and her business but she couldn’t see him for the man that he was. She was admittedly selfish and so caught up in her insecurities. It’s what caused her to easily succumb to her old feelings for her ex-boyfriend when she saw him the first time in 5 years and almost forget her current boyfriend next to her. Spending the weekend in her ex-boyfriend’s family home helped her sort out her feelings and prod her to make some important decisions. It became the turning point of the book. And  the Hero gets revealed.

      -------------SPOILERS: Don’t read below if you don't want to know the book's details------------

The weekend at her ex-boyfriend’s ranch gave her the time she needed to reconcile her past with her present. Rehashing the past with her ex clarified that he never loved her but saw her as a prize for playing so hard to get. The time they spent together was sexually focused and Hero wasn’t interested in getting to know her in any other way. It highlighted his emotional manipulation of her then and now.  It also revealed that her deep feelings for him was due to her inexperience and immaturity as a 17-year-old and her being easily manipulated by him. He easily chose the family ranch over her. Although he didn’t reveal it then, he confessed to agreeing with his parents that heroine at 17 wasn’t the type of woman he wanted as his partner in their family ranch. But now that she was more sophisticated and stylish at 22, she was worthy enough for his family ranch.

Heroine’s current boyfriend may have started out as peripheral in her life. But he came out as the Hero of this book. He was peripheral in the beginning of the book because that was how she viewed him. He was the financial and emotional support she needed for her business the last 4 years. He was patient with her and never pushed her for anything she wasn’t ready for.  She didn’t really see him as a man or a potential lover. He wasn’t even her friend because it was a one-sided relationship, with her at the receiving end. She viewed him mostly as her investor & her business sidekick. And he was willing to wait for her to reciprocate his feelings for him. Until he caught her in the embrace of her ex. Then, Hero hit his limit with her & broke off their relationship.

Breaking up with her made her realize how vital Hero was to her life. She needed him and wanted him in her life. His quiet but constant presence fell under her radar all those years, compared to the more dramatic feelings she had over her ex-boyfriend.  Yet, when this steady but solid presence was about to be removed, its absence mattered to her more than the big, loud dramatics from her ex-boyfriend. It showed how much heroine had grown up and changed to want stability and peace instead of empty passion and drama.  Hero’s value in her life became her focus at the same time she was closing off the final chapter with her ex-boyfriend.  It was a reversal of the beginning.

Heroine’s process of choosing between her ex and Hero exposed the type of relationship she had with Hero. She had the upperhand. When Hero broke up with her and she tried to reconcile with him, that was the brief time where Hero had the upper hand in their relationship. But it didn’t last long because Hero took her back after she confessed her love for him a day after he caught her kissing her ex. Their relationship approached some balance but Hero still was clearly more in love than heroine was with him. Hero was the giver and heroine was the receiver. She loved him back but just not to the devoted and focused degree that he did for her. She kind of settled for him because of the good he was doing for her. She felt sexual passion for him but it took 4 long years for it to happen. She had instant sexual passion and chemistry towards her ex but, when she realized that was all there was to it, she became turned off by him. So she became sexually attracted to Hero, not because he turned her on sexually, but because she needed him emotionally. She settled for a better man than her ex. Not very romantic or sexy. But they’ll likely have a stable marriage, mostly fired up by Hero’s strong feelings for heroine.

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I recommend this book.
4-star

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