Awaken to Danger

Bossman's Baby Scandal

Code of Honor

Fully Engaged

Grayson's Surrender

On Target

Out of Uniform

Pursued

Taking Cover

Wedding at White Sands

 
His Thirty-Day Fiancée
by Catherine Mann
(Silh. Desire #2061, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73074-2
***
Catherine Mann has written an easy to read tale of deviousness and revenge turned to love. There is a little intrigue, a little romance, a little heartwarming family feeling and a lot of misunderstandings and mixed messages. I enjoyed it despite the fact that it is on the edge of reality and filled with formula plotlines.

Kate Harper is a photojournalist who has been forced to work at a gossip rag so that she has less travel and is able her to care for her special needs sister. Despite her years of covering wars and politics, Kate is now scaling balconies in hopes of getting a clear shot of a mysterious prince. Unfortunately for her, said Prince is fully aware she is scaling his walls and he confronts her on the balcony. That was not in her plan; nor was the attraction she feels or the resulting confrontation. But hey, Kate thinks on her feet and agrees to a somewhat disjointed plan so she doesn’t end up in jail or without any pictures.

Duarte Medina is in fact a Prince, if one considers that his family was removed from the throne by a coup many years ago. He, his father and brothers have been living in relative anonymity until Kate put two and two together and exposes them. Now his father is ill, but won’t leave his island retreat to get care and the press is all over him. When Kate, the woman he believes is at fault, enters his rooms, he decides to exact some revenge and control the media at the same time. The deal: Kate acts as his fiancée for one month, only giving photos he approves and she will get exclusive pictures of his brother’s wedding at the end of the month. She gets the money for those photos and he controls the press to take the pressure off.

Of course, as most ill-conceived fake engagements go, this one too goes awry. First, Kate has to protect her sister from her unscrupulous editor, who threatens to expose that part of her family if she doesn’t produce some major photos. Duarte shows his caring side to her sister Jennifer and this starts to really melt Kate’s already melting heart. Kate and Duarte are forced to spend a lot of time together and slowly start to discover secrets about the other that further pull down the walls. All the sudden, they start to care for the other and yet, are afraid to show that they do. The lust becomes all consuming and this just further complicates matters. Then some lies pop up and trust becomes an issue. At one point, the author seemed to dive into the pot of the big misunderstanding but she saved the tale by allowing the characters to act like mature adults and talk about things rather than to sulk for long.

Despite the plot line and all the major clichés that are seen in this story, I did enjoy it. Kate is not a push over, yet is determined and vulnerable at the same time. Duarte tried to be a hard-ass but ultimately is just too nice a guy to be a jerk. The sister is handled well, portraying the right balance between innocence, need and the reality of a person with a disability. Duarte’s friend Javier is cynical while also being loyal. And of course, the King is a man not just a monarch.

His Thirty Day Fiancee is one of those stories that you just have to give a chance. If you get to in depth into the reality of the situation, things just won’t fly. But if you let the romance, the dual vulnerabilities and the strength of the characterizations carry you along, you will enjoy the ride, just like I did.

--Shirley Lyons


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