Monday, 29 September 2014

Heartbreaker by Linda Howard

Heartbreaker (1987) (Harlequin)
Linda Howard
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a one-word title

Michelle Cabot has returned to take over her father’s ranch after his death and is faced with the biggest challenge of her life. She’s determined to manage the cattle ranch on her own, however physically challenging, until she realises that her father was heavily in debt to their neighbour, John Rafferty. When Michelle first met John at eighteen years old, she was both intimidated and attracted, but knew that she couldn’t allow either emotion to show, else he lump her in the same category as all the other women who fell at his feet in lust. As a result, Michelle made it her mission to be the iciest bitch in her power and the two have been at odds ever since.

However disaffected Michelle might act, she can’t deny her fierce attraction to John and it’s even stronger now that she’s older and had the experience of life in the city, away from his continuous presence. John has only ever felt disdain for the spoiled and pampered princess he remembers, destined to be the death of her father, yet he too is more attracted to Michelle than he would care to admit. When it becomes clear that her life is in danger, John will do all he can to protect her …

However outdated the books and asshole-ish the heroes are in Linda Howard’s older novels, I love them. They just give me a thrill that I don’t get in her more recent novels (same with other authors’ back-backlist) and I prefer the writing, even though practice is supposed to make perfect.

Michelle is no pushover but John is very used to getting what he wants. They’re both demanding people with high expectations, so when you put them both in the same room, they’re just a ticking timebomb waiting to explode. Given their history and Michelle’s experiences with her ex-husband, she’s more resistant to anything of a sexual nature happening between them, but it’s soon evident that he’s her equal and they’ve both got everything to gain from their relationship.

This is perhaps not the best book to showcase the lengths we've come by 2014, but it certainly is a personal favourite. The baddies are always a little cliched and worthy of hating, but Ms Howard does have a knack for writing realistically and tackling sensitive issues with tact. There's a reason why she's well received by the romance community and for me, Hearbreaker is the perfect example of this dependability yet versatility.

Image courtesy of Book Depository 

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