A Honeyed Seduction by Diana Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Honeyed Seduction seemed to mirror another Harlequin Presents I recently read in the same weekend, which is a very cool coincidence. Like the heroine in the other book, Chelsea is the product of divorced parents who had a bad marriage. She has avoided emotional and physical entanglements, and has focused on her career. Unlike the other heroine, she knows that a sexual relationship without emotional involvement wouldn't work for her. In this novel, Quinn is another hero who is pursuing a reluctant heroine. In this case, the dynamic turns out very differently.
Chelsea's boss is sexually harassing her. In order to get recommended for a promotion, she has to sleep with him. Chelsea seizes on the idea of getting her neighbor, Quinn (who as far as she knows is the rich, aimless playboy son of the billionaire Ryder Gem empire), to pretend to be her fiance'. Quinn agrees, but he starts being very touchy feely at the public function they are both attending, so the word gets out in a big way about their engagement. As a result, Quinn manipulates Chelsea into agreeing to be engaged publicly for a lot longer than she wanted and going to stay at his family home for two weeks. He claims he is using the engagement to discourage a girlfriend who is trying to get him to marry her.
Chelsea is clearly in over her head. She has plenty of feelings towards Quinn. He's attractive and sexy, and deep down, she is not immune to him. He comes on pretty strongly. He is actually quite predatory. For Chelsea, that's an issue, because she doesn't want sex without a commitment, and she doesn't want to be married. And the more time she spends with Quinn, it's getting harder to say no to his appeal and to keep from falling in love.
I can't really say why I gave this book four stars. I think I just felt more enjoyment as I read than the other books I read this weekend. I liked Chelsea a lot. I could understand where she was coming from. Quinn acted a little too much like a billionaire playboy for my tastes, even though he was actually hard-working and had in fact, saved their company. He lived down to the ideas that Chelsea had of him, which was unfortunate, because that made her more wary of him emotionally. I think that Quinn should have been more honest about his feelings, and Chelsea would have trusted him more and have been more willing to go with her feelings towards him. Instead, he was playing along with her ideas, and that made him seem kind of like the oily playboy type, think young Hugh Hefner (gag!). That rubbed me the wrong way, and that would have been a turnoff for me if I was Chelsea. On a lighter note, it was amusing how he was always trying to undress Chelsea. A recurring motif of this novel.
Maybe this book was a little more fun and I needed a fun read when I read it. Maybe that's why it feels more like a four star read to me. Plus, I do like the whole pretend engagement/lovers storyline. It's a good opportunity for the characters to spend time together and fall in love. I can't seem to talk myself out of the four star rating, so I'll leave it be. A good, quick, entertaining story when I needed it.
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