|Duncan James has hated his father for many years and being controlled from beyond the grave by his father's will doesn't help any. To gain full control of his fortune and everything related to it, he needs to marry and have a child. His mother was heart-broken when his father divorced her to marry another woman. Duncan needs to fulfill all the terms of the will to get the Italian villa, where he'd been raised, back in his control for her. He couldn't wait to evict his step-mother. Tired of the fancy women and models he usually dates, he wants someone different as a wife and mother of his future heir. When Tess shows up in his office asking for leniency for her father who stole money from his firm, he sees blackmailing Tess into being his wife, to save her father from jail time, as a way to get what he wants. No one said anything about love.
This is an interesting story but is much like so many of its kind. Man is playing a game but falls in love. Woman falls in love, learns of his deception. Is she going to stay with him or get all upset and leave? You can feel the conflicts coming all the way through the story as his revenge means more than her at first, and then he doesn't want to ruin things by telling her the truth. Secrets and lies will always bite you when you aren't looking. You know what's coming but the final confrontation was actually done well and believable.
I don't feel like I knew Tess's character very well. She should have been more angry about being blackmailed into a marriage she didn't want. Also, some of her other reactions to things weren't what you'd expect or they were glossed over. I thought her character was a little lacking. We got to know Duncan and his reactions much better and I like him, even if he did fall in love a bit too easy given his past. A pleasant tale with a delayed sensual encounter that worked with this story.
Reviewer: Kathy F.