This book was annoying on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps the jerk hero and doormat heroine would be a good place, or maybe the clunky writing, or the hysterically dramatic dialogue that’s supposed to advance the story but falls flat. Pick a place. Just don’t pick it up from the bookshelves and say nobody warned you.
Lila Maxwell works for Colette’s, Inc., a world-renowned jewelry company located in Youngsville, Indiana. (Indiana? Go figure.) Anyway, Lila is in love with her boss, Nick Camden. One morning her landlady pins an amber brooch on Lila and insists it will bring her love. Lila wears it to work, and that very day, Nick stops and asks her if she wants a lift to work, after Lila muses that he’s passed her a hundred times before and never offered her a ride. (Nice guy. And this is his secretary we’re talking about.) Later that day, she’s called into Nick’s office to take a memo and ends up having sex with him on his desk.
Ooh, la-la. This could be the start of something good, but Nick shows his true colors immediately when he tells Lila that he won’t marry her even if she gets pregnant because he’ll never marry again. Seems Nick’s first wife died of cancer two years earlier and it nearly destroyed him. So he’ll support the child, but he won’t give Lila the house with a picket fence she’s been dreaming of. Yep, life is All About Nick.
Why any sane woman would want to spend more than five minutes with a man as self-centered as Nick is beyond me, but Lila can’t stop dreaming of him. She decides maybe she can get him to open up to love. No, he’ll never be the man she needs. So she shouldn’t date him. But maybe she’ll sleep with him one more time. No, she should stay away from him. If people in the office knew they were sleeping together, there would be talk (well, can’t argue with that, so why sleep with him again?) Nick, for his part, admits he acts like an ass to Lila, over and over, and darn it, he always does that when he’s feeling vulnerable. Oops, he did it again. And he still wants her.
The rest of the book is the same tiresome babble. Nick can’t love again, as he informs the reader (and Lila) about three dozen times in a jaw-clenched style that makes one long to kick him, preferably in a spot where it will take care of his perpetual erection. He destroyed his late wife’s life (what, did he give her cancer?) and he will never marry. He wants to sleep with Lila, though, just to get her out of his system. Lila thinks she can teach Nick to love, and when he treats her like dirt, she comes back for more. At one point, Nick offers this laughable line of dialogue:
“I think we’re too old for those kind of games but if you want to play I think you should know I always win.”
Oh, brother. So here we have Nick, whose parents were distant and whose first wife died. Then we have Lila, whose mother gave birth to her at sixteen and was a bit of a tramp. Both want to make their own lives different. Okay, that’s laudable. Nick, however, chooses to withdraw from all emotion and insist he can’t love, and Lila chases a man who is self-centered and cruel to her. These are big issues, too big to be papered over by a superficial romance which is little more than a sexual attraction called ”love” at the end of the book. Add a writing style heavily dependent on fragments and sentences beginning with “but” and “because”, and the book sinks like a rock.
Memo to Lila: If you don’t want to be like your mother, lose the focus on “getting a guy”.
Memo to Nick: Here’s a news flash: the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Memo to readers: You’ve been warned.
This is apparently the second book in a series about the four women of 20 Amber Court, tied together by the amber brooch. It’s interesting to note that Silhouette owns the copyright and “gives thanks” to the author for her contribution to the series. I’ve read other works by Katherine Garbera, and this is not a true measure of her talent. If you want to try this author, don’t start here.