But she must now demand the money that is rightfully hers from him. And, just as she expected, successful Greek businessman Hero doesn't make it easy.
He wants her in his bed in exchange for the money. It appalls her and brings up memories she's tried hard to forget. Of her discomforting meeting with Hero, which was encouraged by her beloved uncle who pampered her to live the high life while visiting him in Greece.
That became more that one fateful day.
She's pressured to accept his demands now just as she was to marrying him then. And her time with him now is as overpowering as she feared.
She pays him back with the same recourse as before.
And Hero turns the tables on her. As before. How do they avoid the same acrimonious end?
Unlike Dark Side of Desire and Purchased For Revenge, I didn't have a change of heart regarding the main characters in this book. James usual trademark, of intensifying the cruelty of Hero towards heroine and turning it around as intensely the other way when he realizes the truth about her, was lacking in this one. We saw a lot of cruelty and barely any redemption. The other 2 books have the same formula as this one: 1.) spiteful Hero yielding his power to avenge the wrong he thinks heroine is involved in, 2.) heroine's quiet suffering due to sacrificing for others' sake, 3.) both battling between their secret longing for each other and justice for perceived wrong, and 4.) Hero atoning for his appalling misdeeds against her after realizing the truth of her sacrifice. But this book needed more of #3 and lacked #4. I also didn't like Hero and especially heroine much and it stayed that way.
We got primarily heroine's POV(point of view) in this book so we didn't get a sense of Hero's secret longing for her. We didn't really get a good sense about hers either. She was so busy denying and avoiding any positive thoughts about him, including her desire for him. Most of all, she did not stop her whining & blaming until the very end. She mainly whined about and blamed Hero for her circumstances. This changed at about 90% when she began blaming herself for wanting him despite herself, when Hero made her face her desire for him. Heroine also ended up sounding like a money-grubbing biotch with her repeated "That money is mine!". There was something in how she was presented that made her progressively unlikeable. I stopped feeling sorry for her around mid-point, when she started complaining about fairness. And when I could see holes in her reason for self-sacrifice, which was about her getting needed money to fund the charitable organization for poor kids that her family has run. Did she try to get a business loan? Did she apply for grants/loans specific to non-profit organization? How about doing fundraisers or seeking donations from others in England or elsewhere? Why couldn't they use another facility in the time being until they had the money to fix the repairs of the house? Why didn't she ask her parents for help about funding ideas since they used to manage the charity previously? Was her pride worth more than the charity that she couldn't seek financial help from her wealthy albeit estranged uncle? This pride question would likely be a 'no' since she lowered herself to have sex with Hero for the money. So why couldn't she lower herself to ask her uncle for financial help for her charitable cause? I couldn't feel empathy for her when she foolishly chose sex for money without fully exploring other less demeaning options.
Heroine's big secret from Hero seemed unnecessary.
---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details-----------------
Heroine led Hero to believe that the man she was photographed with, the day after the first time she and Hero had sex, was her lover instead of her stepbrother. She did that to sabotage her marriage. She got scared of the intimacy she just experienced with Hero and the unwanted feelings she had for him. As a result, he eviscerated her verbally and socially by kicking her out of his life in Greece, sending her back to England, and informing her uncle of her adultery. It didn't make sense that she didn't divorce him during their 18 months apart. They both wanted nothing to do with each other, except for the money that was promised to her by Hero. A divorce could've settled all that.
I also didn't understand why she had to lie to Hero and not just tell him that she no longer wanted to be married to him. It would've caused less disharmony between them. I didn't understand why she didn't tell him that she didn't want to be sexually intimate with him either. If she didn't want it to happen and she was sensing something different from him, why not just set clear limits and remind him of the marriage of convenience agreement they made? Her passive aggression was irritating! She didn't want to take the lead in their marital decisions yet she was angry about it.
Hero was a cold and vengeful man. He went into the marriage of convenience with heroine coldly, liking the dynastic potential of his family business merging with her uncle's. His plans to be sexually intimate with her eventually during their marriage was done in a coldly precise manner. I didn't get any feeling of longing, desire, warmth, or caring from him for her. He did feel jealous and possessive about her but those are more aggressive feelings. Revenge and power plays came part and parcel with him. So his love confession at the very end was the first time I got any semblance of warmth from him. And it was so brief that I wasn't totally convinced of how lasting it was. There was not enough redemption effort from him to make me believe that he won't treat her cruelly again if he believed she did something he didn't like. I also don't discount heroine using the same passive-aggressive strategies if things don't go her way in the future. There was no character change evidenced in either during the story.
I slightly recommend this book.