BLOG REVIEW: His Bought Mistress by Emma Darcy

30y.o. interior-designer gets dumped by her barrister boyfriend of 3 years for the accidental posting of her picture on a dating billboard ad.
She is more relieved than regretful about it.
It makes taking the offer to accompany 38y.o. self-made billionaire businessman Hero to his business trip to Tokyo easier to agree to. 
However, she starts vacillating about sleeping with Hero when they arrive in Tokyo. But getting to know each other more put their affair back on track.
And it extended past the weekend with Hero wanting more of heroine. She has some doubts, however, of his motives for being with her and his plans for a long-term commitment with her. What happens when she finds out about the secret he’s been keeping from her?

Some good and bad about this book. The worst thing about it was probably the book title and second to that was the description of Hero in seductive mode. The rest wasn’t so much bad but average. Let’s start with the title. It was inaccurate. Heroine was neither Hero’s mistress nor was she bought.  He did pay for their trip to Tokyo (i.e., airfare, their shared hotel room, meals) but that‘s pretty much all she let him pay for. She was very adamant about not getting expensive gifts from him and clarified that she wasn’t into him for his money and could pay her way. In fact, she refused the expensive jewelry he was about to buy her and bought him an expensive gift instead. I liked her sense of independence and her will to no longer be another man’s arm candy.  She had a successful business and was sufficiently established at age 30. Wasting her time and emotions on her snobbish and socially-conscious ex-boyfriend for 3 years taught her to value herself more and not settle for less than a man who loved her enough to marry her. So, although she got involved with Hero straightaway from her breakup with her ex-boyfriend, she was carefully assessing him and their relationship. She let herself be swept away by their sexual chemistry but she kept her emotions and expectations in check. Her emotional reticence compelled Hero to treat her well, since he could sense at times that she was about to bolt from their relationship. It actually increased his attraction towards her & caused a change in his expectations of their romance. He was used to women who were with him for sexual and financial gain and none sparked the emotional interest that heroine did.

Hero showed his interest in heroine immediately. It was sexual at first and then emotional later. Either way,  the frequent “purring” of Hero and liking his maneuvers to a jungle cat got on my nerves! After the 20th use of the word “purr” as Hero’s way of talking to heroine, I asked my husband to purr while talking to me. And I laughed my head off!  Maybe I should’ve made him stare and move around me like a jungle cat too. LOL! Anyway, these seductive descriptions of Hero really got in the way of their sexy moments. I’m just glad there were none of those jungle cat behaviors during their sex scenes. And, thank God, Darcy’s other books don’t have these repeated wild-animal analogies of Hero.

Hero’s sexual interest in her was obvious but his emotional one wasn’t always clear. There were times I wondered how true Hero’s interests in heroine really were. Other factors that made me question it.

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First, Hero’s change of expectations and behaviors towards heroine, after she wavered in her decision to sleep with him in the beginning of their Tokyo trip, seemed really quick. They didn’t have much emotional connection then and he was quite clear that his interest in her was sexual. So his immediate softening to her and catering to her needs seemed out of place. I don’t know why he suddenly changed since she didn’t emotionally mean much to him at that time. Maybe her reticence to him was a novelty. He did admit to never having had to seduce a woman before. Maybe it was the novelty of a woman changing her mind about sleeping with him when they’ve already taken some major steps into that direction.

Second, Hero kept a major secret from heroine and set his revenge plans in action weeks before she found out. His big secret was that heroine’s recent ex-boyfriend was his teenage nemesis who stole his girlfriend & exulted his family’s wealth over him.  It was what motivated Hero to work hard at becoming rich and successful all those years.  And he wanted to throw it at heroine’s ex-boyfriend and his snooty parents’ face, during the planned social event he was taking her to. His anticipation at avenging himself towards her ex-boyfriend was more important than heroine’s well-being. He hadn’t thought of heroine’s feelings and desires at all. She called him on it and broke up with him over it. Luckily, he was able to do some apologizing with a marriage proposal. And that worked for her.

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Hero and heroine lacked the emotional intensity for and connection with each other that I like to see in the main characters. Theirs was average. I think part of it was due to their stage in life. Both were in their 30s and were ready for marriage and kids. Marriage was definitely top priority for heroine. She hung on to a mild relationship with her ex-boyfriend for 3 years, hoping he’d finally propose. Before he dumped her, she was already cluing into his lack of interest in marrying her. It wasn’t all too surprising for her to plunge into a romance with Hero straight away after being dumped. She was conscious of her age and she wanted to get married. So, Hero came at the right time and did some right things, like propose marriage. Their physical attraction was the strongest connection they had. They had to do some work to incite their emotional intimacy. It did develop but it was average.

I moderately recommend this book.

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