BLOG REVIEW: Anything, Any Time, Any Place by Lucy Gordon

25y.o. virgin heroine may be dating a lot but she's never forgotten that fateful summer when she was 18.
The summer she spent 10 days with Hero,
who has since captured her heart.  Now that her amiable but irresponsible brother is in trouble once again, she repays his debts by obliging to marry the odious man he's indebted to. Never in her wildest dreams did she consider 37y.o. entrepeneur and renowned playboy Hero stopping her from wedding that man.
Nor being married to him soon afterwards,
after he collects on her promise to him 6 years ago to do “anything (for him at), any time, any place".  His immediate proposal was due to his needing her help with his precocious 14y.o. daughter, who she got along well with 6 years ago.
And who's always lived with his troublesome ex-wife until now.
Although heroine accepts his reason for marriage, she assumes that he must also want to be with her. Until their wedding day.
Thus, begins their uncomfortable and confusing marriage. Her, spending time with his daughter to ensure she makes the right adjustments.
And him, charming his way through his business deals and other social circles.
In the weeks ahead, spending time together confirms their good initial impressions of each other. To the point that they were able to break through their sexual distance.
However, their emotional distance remains.
Both keeping their concerns from each other,
as their family members keep fueling their suspicions of the other's hidden motives for marriage. Until heroine could no longer contain it.
How does the truth unravel their marital twists?
I thought I wasn't going to care for this book. It seemed predictable & corny at first, with a doormat h to boot. The first 40% of the book portrayed h as a doormat because she WAS one. She sought to please others & made excuses for her loved ones, especially her spoiled & charming younger brother. Even as far as marrying a man she disliked for her brother's sake! She sacrificed her needs & wants for her loved ones (i.e., living independently & having her own career). Plus she fell in love INSTANTLY with much older Hero (with a kid, no less) when she was 18. She was willing to play nursemaid for his daughter just because it made him appreciative of her and because it was her excuse of being able to be around him. She looked pretty pathetic at the very beginning. And towards the middle too, when they were married. She suffered Hero's emotional rejection and distance with her in silence. She was grating on my nerves! And then the middle of the story happened. Thank God!

Just like heroine's character, I thought the romance was a bust from the beginning. An imbalanced love with heroine succumbing to Hero just because he at least physically desired her. There was that too but the story went beyond that. Their romance and their characterization improved much by 60% of the book.

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

1.) Heroine started to say “no” to her obsequious brother & demanding mother. When her adult brother included Hero's teen daughter in his schemes, she finally put her foot down. To the point of locking her brother out of her car & making him walk home for miles without feeling guilty about it.

2.) She was consistent with limit-setting with Hero's spoiled 14yo daughter. She did it in a casual & sometimes humorous but firm way. It could very well be that her practice at limit-setting with Hero's daughter opened a new world for her re: her ability to set limits with adults in her life also.

3.) She started confronting Hero. She started out by gently confronting him re: why he hasn't made love to her. She soon became more comfortable confronting him about things he was pussy-footing around. He was part scared & part admiring of her increasing gumption. Her frankness helped ease his suspicions about her true motives. Which she also confronted him about and made clear how offensive his mistrust was of her. I loved her new boldness!

4.) Hero's character also became more well-rounded. He was a master at hiding his feelings and emotional distancing by his gregariousness and easy & carefree attitude. He hid well behind his charming smiles & easy laughter. He was admittedly emotionally clueless. So heroine's new confrontational style forced him to try to get a clue! By the end, he was spouting off love and need words willingly towards heroine. It was lovely.

5.) It took Hero and heroine more than a month after their wedding to consummate their relationship. They only kissed twice before that: the 1st was during their date 6 years ago and the 2nd was their wedding night. The love scenes were not explicit. There were a couple scenes that mentioned body parts touching but they were described tactfully. For the most part, the sex scenes were generalized. I wish we had more of a glimpse of their POVs and emotions during their intimacies. It would've provided more angst & emotional pull in the story.

        ------------------------------------------END SPOILERS------------------------------------------- 

The book was more charming & not really dramatic due to the various family members of Hero and heroine who played active secondary characters in the book. Their active roles in their lives buffered the couple's marital woes and dampened the greater angst in their romance. However, their family members also gave Hero and heroine's unconventional marriage some realism. They had to deal with blended family issues and marital privacy in the midst of a busy household. Hero and heroine had to deal with the emotional distance that commonly happens in a marriage due to the couple's inability to lay our their raw fears & emotions with each other. But theirs was more magnified due to the nature of why they wed.

I recommend this book.

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