Proof of Their Sin by Dani Collins
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I am on the fence about this book because I didn't like the way the hero treats the heroine for most of the book. He's very mean to her and judgmental and dismissive of her. Mostly because he didn't want to be attracted and drawn to her. He hates her for making him feel vulnerable and that she is the one woman he really ever loved that way. He's self-righteous in that he hasn't lived a very moral life, but wants to give the pretense about it without putting in the effort. It's all about how he appears to the world. While I understand his angst in what happened with his ex, when was that ever Lauren's fault? But he seems to want to make her the scapegoat in the situation. He comes off as a largely selfish hero. On the other hand, I did like Lauren quite a bit. I really wish she wasn't in love with Paulo. I wish she could have fallen for a good guy who loved her and respected her equally. It's almost kind of a scenario where the decent girl gets caught between two rakes and ends up falling for one who isn't really that much more moral than the other. At the end of the day, Paulo and Ryan are both sexual predators, using women as part of their competition and for sexual-gratification, with very little sense of personal honor. I really have a hard time with those kinds of heroes, and Paulo doesn't make me feel any better about it. I think one thing that Paolo is complicit in is hard to forgive. He knew that Lauren's husband was unfaithful to her, and he never called him on it, even if he wouldn't admit it to Lauren. Even their moral failing at Lauren's wedding was arguably more his cause than hers, and his expectation at that time was ridiculous.
The more I think about this, the more I can't say I really liked this book as much as I would have liked to. It has lots of intensity and sort of the ongoing, enduring love theme, but I can't really believe in that love from Paolo's perspective. His resolution at the end was a bit too little too late for my taste.
I feel this book deserves more than 3 stars, but not 4. So I'll go with 3.5 stars. For me, a hero who doesn't seem worthy of the heroine is more or less a deal breaker for me.
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