I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that excited about reading Hart’s story. After all, he’s been portrayed as mostly a monumental asshat control freak from the first time we saw him. He owned a whore-house and used it to further his political career. He kept an older courtesan as a mistress off and on for years –and he’s known for his unusual dominating proclivities in the bedroom. He uses his brother Ian for his genius. He tried to intimidate Beth. And his fiancé left him many years ago for some unknown crime he committed against her. Not exactly the portrait of a tempting hero.
As the story begins, that aforementioned fiancé, Eleanor, has walked back into his life. Someone has been sending her naked photos taken of Hart in his younger days. She knows that if they come to light, they will hurt his political career. So she takes them to her one time love and offers to help him find the source of the photos. She needs the money his employment could bring to help take care of her father and herself. It’s fortuitous that she came back, since Hart had planned to seek her back out himself. He has plans to finally make her his wife… no matter that it’s been more than a decade since they were together… and that she jilted him for good reason all those years ago. He agrees to her proposal, so he can bring her back into his life, and ultimately back into his bed.
Hart is every bit the hard man he seems to be. He moves people around like pieces on a chess board. He manipulates and controls. It’s not all there is to him, though. He is lonely. He yearns to be loved for who he really is. And he most assuredly loves Ian. That, at least, is made very evident here. He does use him at times, but he would cut off his arm for his brother and has done more than we ever knew to protect him.
I liked Eleanor, though she does border on too good to be true. She gives Hart just what he needs, even when it’s not what he wants. Their lingering feelings for one another are evident. And they really do compliment each other. She brings out a side of him no one else can –and understands him as few ever have.
Here’s the thing, though. I found a couple of major points to be anticlimactic…. almost disappointing. If you know my tastes at all, you know I am not a fan of BDSM (it was another reason I wasn’t excited for this book.) A real issue was made of Hart’s needs in the bedroom –and then all was said and done, it was very mild and almost eye-rolling. Then, there was the issue that drove him and Eleanor apart all those years ago. It had potential to be explosive, considering what we know of his lifestyle. Yet, it was kind of meh in light of my expectations.
I enjoyed the book, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t as good as Cameron’s book. I really liked seeing how the rest of the MacKenzie family is coming along, getting to know their continuing stories. I definitely recommend the series!