I didn’t love this book as much as everybody else seems to. I didn’t hate it either. It just never rose to being wonderful. I loved Dain. I loved his vulnerabilities and his tenderness when he wanted to be tender. I like Jessica. She was refreshing. She was actually a strong willed heroine that wasn’t simply stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. She had genuine reasons for feeling what she felt. I liked that.
But there were other things that just took away from it for me. Warning: some of this might be a spoiler. It’s hard to review what I didn’t like about it without spoiling some things.
I didn’t like Dain’s relationship with his son. The way he saw him and what he thought was such a turn off. I get why he was written that way to a degree. But coming at the end of the book, I think there was an opportunity to add some tenderness to him that was very much missed. Ultimately, taking in his bastard son was not sweet or heartwarming. It was a responsibility to him. It never materialized to much more.
I didn’t like that Dain’s mother was turned into a sort-of hero. I thought it was a stretch. She abandoned her son. There was no proof of her reasoning. I thought that assuming it was because he was better of being left behind, instead of being put in danger if his mother had taken him, was a stretch of magnificent proportions. She could have not left him at all. If her son was safe enough with his father, so was she. I don’t think she needed to be a hero for Dain to come to terms with it. I would have rather seen him rise above the hurt and pain and realize he could be loved by someone else, even if his mother hadn’t been loving to him. I wished he didn’t need his mothers love to accept himself.
The side story with Beaumont and Vawtry was somewhat forced. There was one incident with Beaumont in the beginning of the book, which hardly explained the level of animosity. Then he was not even in the book again. Meanwhile, Vawtry was sneaky and conniving and rewarded for it…because he was in love? Really? This whole storyline probably tainted the book for me because I hate reading about people who are “out to get” someone. So, make of that what you will.
Lastly, this story just didn’t have the emotional pull I wanted. There were some scenes where it did. The first half was definitely better in that regard. The scene where Dain compromises Jessica was so emotional and damn sexy. But everything kind of paled in comparison after that. It became a battle of wills that didn’t include the emotional aspect, which is what I truly read a romance for.
I would say this books heat level was on the lower side. There are several love scenes. They were good. But between them there was basically no affection happening. Maybe one kiss? No other kisses or touches. No descriptions of desire. It was explicit sex but lacking in sensuality. It definitely depends what you prefer in a romance, but for two people who supposedly lusted after one another, it was hardly discussed.
I know it sounds like a one star book with this review. But despite all this, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t love it either. So, it falls in the middle for me.