The Italian's Future Bride by Michelle Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book kept me guessing the whole time. Just when I thought I had the story of the Italian billionaire and his blonde Englishwoman girlfriend figured out, Michelle Reid threw me a curveball. The whole aspect of Rachel having had a previous relationship with an Italian the year before, and therefore having a sort of Italian Kryptonite weakness was different. She wasn't some naive, blushing heroine, although that's not to say she's jaded sexually or relationship-wise. Instead, she's a bit older and wiser for her broken heart, and therefore, Rafaelle has to work that much harder to win her over.
Rafaelle doesn't have the upper hand in this book, which is really fun and a nice change. He's just as much at the mercy of his feelings and emotions. He's vulnerable in a way that I wish more Harlequin Presents heroes were. He is immediately put in a place of jealousy because he knows that Rachel isn't naive about him or his type. He has to deal with the fact that she has a past and it's affected her present and future. It's funny how jealous he was, when she really didn't have a lot of past boyfriends he has to run into. Just one who was frighteningly similar to him, which is very bad for his fragile male ego. What irritated me was that Rafaelle doesn't have enough discretion to keep his exes from kissing and telling to Rachel. I think if I was in her situation (which is unlikely for a lot of reasons), I would have been fairly irritated by the fact that not only do his past lovers feel the liberty to exclaim about his legendary skills in the bedroom, they lack the class and discretion not to do so. Rafaelle shrugs it off, but he's not nearly as complacent when Rachel's past lover shows up on the scene. That whole scene was interesting, and had me glued to the page. I didn't really like the feelings that I had while reading it. It's just messy and in a way that really gets to me. I am pretty particular in my feelings about sexual relationships, and that would be a nightmare to have to deal with a bunch of past lovers on either side. Having said that, it did make for a unique dynamic to this book. In a way, it's really irritating when the hero is a major slam-hound and he gets the sweet innocent heroine for his very own, when most of the time, he certainly doesn't deserve the privilege of being her first! It upsets my sense of fair play, even though I can't say I really like promiscuity on either side.
As far as sensuality, this book was blistering hot! Normally Harlequin Presents can be pretty sexy, but this one felt a lot hotter to me. Their first time together, wow! I guess you could really feel the heat between Rachel and Rafaelle, and how it had complicated both their lives. Neither really wanted to be so attracted to each other, but there you have it. I liked that they had to figure out what that meant for both of them. Sex isn't enough. You have to have more, and they both find out how much more there is between them along the way, and if their love for each other is worth dealing with the baggage they both carry.
A different kind of story wrapped in what feels like the typical Harlequin Presents package. Michelle Reid definitely writes very well and draws you into the story. This was a read that kept moving right up to the last page, where I was wanting even more of the story.
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