Passionate Enemy by Patricia Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked the vibe of the hero being the boy who picks on the girl because he likes her. I remember my mom always said that was why certain boys at school picked on me. I never believed her. Looking back, I think she was right about some of those. Nothing annoys a boy more than a girl he likes ignoring him or looking down her nose at him. This thwarted affection comes out in pranks like hair-pulling and name calling. Not very mature, but there you have it.
In the case of Paul, it was very clear how much he adored Rebecca, even though he didn't want to. I am not justifying some of the mean things he says and does to Rebecca. It was interesting that Rebecca felt a lot of guilt about how she treated Paul as a youngster and submits to some of this treatment out of a sense of justice. I think that her humility showed strength of character that she lacked as a young girl. I can't really blame her for that behavior, since she was an immature kid. Paul of course, was the object of that behavior, so he had to work past his feelings of betrayal and learn to forgive Rebecca, and to trust that she's not just running a game on him like she did when they were younger.
I admit I read a lot between the lines, since Wilson doesn't spend a lot of page time on developing this dynamic. I'm okay with that. Harlequin Presents are very short, and I admit part of the fun of reading these books is reading into the subtext of the books. Since we don't get the hero's POV, it's especially fun to guess what the hero is thinking, and we can check our understanding in the last few pages when we get the reveal.
While this book lacked some tension, I liked it because I liked the idea of Paul being so in love with Rebecca for such a long time, almost obsessed with her. And I liked how Rebecca was able to come out of her shell and acknowledge that her feelings for Paul had always been love, even if she couldn't own up to it due to her repression from having toxic parents.
Again, I admit I am reading a lot into this book, and some readers might scratch their head and wonder how I got all this. What can I say? I find reading highly subjective. We see what we want to or what our minds bring to the forefront.
I enjoyed this book.
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