Glass Houses by Anne Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a reread, but this is my first time reviewing it. I love this book. One of my old favorites. Michael is unapologetically arrogant and used to getting his way. His aggressive businessman tactics have gotten him to the top 50 wealthiest men, but he wants to be in the top ten. He's bought up sweet real estate all over New York, particularly in one area, to build his planned towers named after himself. But one building stands in his way, the Glass House. One stubborn woman refuses to sell it. He's going to have to go in person to convince her that the worst place for her to stand is in his way. He knows he can handle her, as long as he gives her something she really wants. He never expected her to be what he wanted all along.
Laura is one determined person. She might have grown up in a privileged family, but her life hasn't been easy, with self-absorbed, demanding, and immature parents. She's determined to hold onto the familial legacy her grandmother left her specifically because she'd keep it safe. And one bossy, ruthless businessman isn't going to convince her otherwise. Laura decided that she didn't want any messy love affairs since her disastrous first time, and when she settles down, it will be with a sweet, compliant, controllable man. Too bad she has the hots for a man that isn't so easily manipulated, and in fact, manages to get her to let go of her own sense of dominance over her world.
This old favorite of mine still stands up to reread. While the secondary romance between Laura's right hand woman Susan and Frank, a male model, isn't quite as dynamic as the push and pull between Laura and Michael, it's still very satisfying, an unrequited love story. You don't know if Frank has had a thing for Susan but didn't act on it for professional reasons, or if the recent events have clarified things for him and he realizes that his shallow lifestyle was a dead end one.
The spark and the attraction between Michael and Laura still sizzle after so many years. Laura is feisty and acerbic, but inside has a vulnerability that speaks to her lack of affirmation as a young girl. Michael is very much an alpha hero, and at times a bit on the edge of being a jerk. I think he retains his appeal for me (despite not being my type, not into businessmen really) because Laura can definitely handle him, and he wouldn't do well with a woman he was more accommodating. I liked that both characters realize that their life plans are based on a narrow focus with goals that aren't achievable, because human beings can't be controlled, and we can barely control ourselves most of the time. Even though Michael is the boardroom shark type who thinks he can have whatever he wants, not usually my favorite, he was very sexy and I liked that deep down he had a good heart and had his family roots which grounded him.
The POV of the new arrival to town who's supposed to be the next big face, but is morally bankrupt and calculating underneath her flawless beauty is a good counterpoint to the two romance stories. You realize that this woman can't love anyone other than herself, and the people in her life who don't know that, soon figure it out the hard way.
I read my ebook copy, which was released about a year ago. I couldn't tell if this was rewritten slightly, but I suspect it might have been. I don't remember the Harlequin American Romance books using the 'f' word or a-hole. I'm really glad that this was released as an ebook, because it was such a good wind-down from a long day to curl up in bed with my Kindle to read this.
View all my reviews