Bargain with the Wind by Kathleen O'Brien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I pulled this out of my HP pile because I needed an O for a challenge. It was a good read. The hero is a jerk to the heroine for a significant part of the book. However, I could tell he had feelings for her. It's one of those scenarios where the 'boy' pulls the 'girl's' hair and teases her because he likes her and he doesn't want to deal with this feelings. Miles is determined to think the worst of Darcy because she wasn't in love with his brother, who was her college friend and who continually asked her to get married. He think she's just scheming for Evan to marry her out of greed. Little does he know that for Darcy getting married is almost literally a matter of life and death.
In this situation, the wicked step-parent is a father. George is really quite evil. He has malicious feelings towards Darcy and his intentions towards Darcy's nubile sister are far from fatherly. Darcy has past experience with her father's lechery and is determined to protect her sister, even if it means marrying a friend who she doesn't love in that passionate way you should love your spouse. One huge obstacle in the way is Miles, Evan's older brother. He's cynical and sardonic, and continually hurts Darcy's feelings. So why is she attracted to him in a way that she never was to Evan?
While Miles wasn't very nice to Darcy, the chemistry between them is very palpable. I do feel that the author conveyed his feelings for Darcy as the story progressed, and so I wasn't too unbelieving when he declares he fell for her at first sight but didn't recognize it. Although this book is not graphic sexually, I think it has some very sensuous love scenes that work very well for the story.
I also liked how the author uses the ocean and the hurricane that happens near the end as a metaphor for the growing and powerful feelings between Darcy and Miles. Those feelings and the conflict that occurs with George (who Miles has his own reasons to hate) come to a head like the hurricane, and the calm aftermath shows the resolution of the acknowledged love that Darcy and Miles share.
Bargain with the Wind was a good read. Quick and enjoyable. I got involved with the story and the characters. I felt Darcy's pain and Miles' confusion over his uncontrollable feelings for her. I liked the manner in which O'Brien uses the familial bonds that Miles and Darcy share with their siblings as an active backdrop to this story. I recommend this to fans of short contemporary romance if you can get a copy of Bargain with the Wind.
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