How shall I put this... ? Let's try it this way:
If you have any (and by any I mean one) even partially smart cell in your brain, you will not read this book. Unless, of course, you wish to write an amusing review, in which case I'll applaud your effort and gladly read it myself.
Anyway, here's what I have to say...
The story starts off with our young heroine Charlotte (nineteen years old at the time, if my math is good) who is trying to cope with her father's death. Which turns out to be a suicide, actually. Something along the "lousy gambler got what he deserved" line. But, naturally, that's not all. Her daddy's lawyer informs her that this (mysterious, powerful and wealthy... if there is any other kind) man - and who else would that be, than our hero Alex - owns her.
Yep, you got it. He owns the house, the business, and to top it all off has a contract (signed by her precious, loving daddy) stating that she must marry him, and give birth to a son (son, not just a child, mind you, because he's forty years old and in need of an heir!), unless she wants to end up on the streets, without any money, and thus allow the story about the gambler who sold his own child go to the press.
How... inventive. Right? Right???
So, what can this poor, young, unprotected girl do? She must go along with it.
Yes, this means they do marry, and Alex takes her to some tiny Greek island, where he lives when he's not traveling on business, or enjoying himself around the world.
She hates him, of course, for forcing her into marriage, and ruining her father - well, yes, she does strongly believe Alex is solely to blame - although our hero is remarkably honorable and doesn't force her to... khm, perform her duties. Do I hear applause? Do I?
Let's just skip the part where they avoid each other/lightly enjoy each other's company/try to tolerate each other (it's boring, honestly), and move forward to the first sex ever - for heroine, at least.
I must admit, it was kind of disturbing. The way it's written it just seems too... non-consent, when actually the point (as it occurs) was to emphasize that "first time" can be painful, and not quite enjoyable enough for a female (well, duh). Fifteen minutes later (or should I say after?) our hero is off to a scheduled trip to USA... where he stayed for about two or three months (?!).
While he's absent, our heroine finds out she's pregnant. That's kind of a de facto, though it sometimes does seem that "once is not always all it takes" could sound rather refreshing. But, then again, who am I to judge?!
So, after Alex comes back, they have some great, big fights and some better, much more enjoyable sex. And then he leaves again. And doesn't come back for like four or five months. Honestly, I can't recall if there is any other story that includes that kind of longish-absence pattern.
One day, Alex kind of just shows up... because he can't stay away from his beloved wife any longer.
* Where did that come from? Yes, there were some hints that his feelings are unnaturally strong considering the circumstances, but still...
Could you believe, Charlotte gave birth to their child (rather prematurely) hours after her husband returned?
And, why, you're wondering probably, do I feel the need to emphasize it?
Well, it is crucial, because it seems to me that it marks the point where the author was kind of like - This is all taking too long. Lets just wrap it up in another five pages or so, and be done with it already.
And, that's when this story, that could've easily been another ordinary not-the-best-romance-ever, went downhill and fast.
So, my main horror-like feeling related to this story happens right at the very end.
Charlotte believes Alex is ready to kick her out, now that she performed her duty and gave him a son, but she's sick about that because she is desperately in love with her husband.
Not as much as her husband is in love with her, but she has no way of knowing that.
And, when she finally does confront him, she finds out he wants a happy ever after with her. Why?
Because he is in love with Charlotte for eight years.
Now, let me make this clear to you.
At this point, Alex is 41. Charlotte is 2o.
Which means he fell in love with her when he was 33, and she was 12. TWELVE!
Get it? Got it?
I'm trying to imagine myself writing this romance, and coming to the very end.
- I saw you eight years ago, and fell in love right on the spot. I was 33, running a company for ten years already, and you were 12, a little school girl, pigtails and all...
Shouldn't I pause for a moment here, and reconsider that?
Lady, there's a name for those kind of guys, and it ain't a nice one.
What, it was a brilliant thought back in '76. to come up with a romance about a pedophile? Seriously?
To add insult to injury, no one seems to consider this is alarming, or even not exactly an everyday occurrence. Moreover, it's like he did a noble thing by falling in love with a child, and thanks to that doing his best to protect her from her useless, gambling dad.
There's even a line going - he didn't want to adopt you, since that wasn't the nature of his feelings - or however it was explained. Well, how... reassuring. That makes it perfectly fine, right? Wrong!
And, don't even think about it's just a fantasy attitude.
Ménage is a fantasy.
Vampire is a fantasy.
Lora Leigh's Breeds are a fantasy.
This... this is just plain sick.
Seriously - BEWARE!