This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by Emily, who did not finish (DNF) the book. This novel finaled in the Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure category.
Plot Summary: Kate Dillon has never met a man worth his weight in packing peanuts. Maybe she’s simply too stubborn, too independent and too much of everything men don’t want. Just when she’s decided that Mr. Right doesn’t exist, James Riley crashes back into her life.
Ten years ago Riley barely noticed her, but she was certainly aware of him! Body like a Greek god. Mind like a steel trap. Heart of stone. And nothing has changed. Or so this professional soldier would like her to believe. As Kate is pulled into a crazy adventure with Riley and his daughter, she sees he’s more than a heartless fighting machine. He’s denied himself everything—and has everything to give. Now to make him admit it!
And here is Emily’s review:
None of the blurbs I read mentioned this book involves people kidnapped to steal art. Or that Kate is an art restorer.
Kate is a tomboy, according to the hero, because… she (unsuccessfully) lashes out at men who try to intimidate, manipulate, and control her physically, emotionally, and mentally. Not just the bad guys, but Riley also wants her to do as he says and complains that she doesn’t. She finds Riley intimidating; has since she was a teenager and he was her bodyguard, which is why she mouthed off at him. He still finds her “mouthy”. Does see her as a child or an adult? How did he see her at 17?
He wants nothing to do with her at first, because women are supposed to be gentle to smooth his temper like his first wife. He also doesn’t believe she could be good with or want kids because she is a tomboy. But Kate is relatively girly in her interests; she likes art and butterflies. (I liked her butterfly tattoos.) She has no real combat skills. She seems to be independent rather than domestic, because of necessity rather than choice.
I stopped reading when she called him a bad father for leaving his daughter with his grieving sister-in-law, who appears to be lovely and kind. (The mother died in childbirth, and Riley is a Marine/soldier in active service.) Kate was raised by her sisters (one sister had her own book), but she discounts that anyone could love a child like a parent. I skipped ahead to the epilogue.
Five years later Riley has had three more tomboys with Kate! Apparently he had his vasectomy undone and then redone after the birth of their third child. His daughter is graduating from high school and he is a family man. He and Kate just went on their fourth date! (Seriously)
Ultimately I didn’t care enough about Riley’s issues with women. Or are they his issues with children? (Wait a minute maybe the hero had issues with Kate not as a woman but due to the fact he knew her as a 17 year old child? EWWW! I skimmed parts of this book including a section where Kate tells him he has issues with kids.) He seemed like he wouldn’t have been a good bodyguard.
Note: His first wife knew childbirth would probably kill her and yet chose to have the baby anyway. (The doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy.) I am bringing this up in case anyone thinks I only like religious books. The anti-abortion stuff was a couple paragraphs, but sounded like most of the stuff I learned in my religious education.