Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.49, ISBN 978-0-263-90061-3
Contemporary Romance, 2013
On the bright side, Never Gamble with a Caffarelli is the last in the Those Scandalous Caffarellis series, so I won’t come across these blocks of idiocy ever again. On the other hand, these idiots would no doubt breed on their new wives, and I worry about those kids. They would most likely grow up with, at best, parent issues and, at worst… shudder.
Angelique Marchand is a beautiful and wealthy heiress who hates, hates, hates Remy Caffarelli with the intensity of a million italicized flouncy sentences that end with dagger-pointy exclamation marks. When the story opens, she learns that her father has lost her mother’s ancestral home to Remy at a game of cards. Ooh, that house is kept in trust for her! She must get it back! She will confront Remy!
Now, since the house is kept in trust for her, and to do so would require lawyers to set up documents and such, I can only wonder whether she could have saved herself the energy and consult a lawyer instead. If the house is indeed not her father’s to lose, can Remy then be considered a legal owner of that place? I’m not sure, as I’m no lawyer and, alas, I don’t have any wealthy family members that left anything amazing in trust for me, but I can only wonder. The author doesn’t address this – she just has Angelique charge ahead to where Remy is to stomp her foot and kill him with petulance.
Remy is chilling with his BFF, some Middle Eastern prince of some place, when he finds Angelique in his room. And the next thing they both know, someone charges into the room and declare that those two have to be married because laws of that place insist that unmarried men and women who consort in the same space must do so. And so it begins.
One thing I am grateful for is that this story is devoid of cruel antics from the hero – Remy here seems more childish than mean, and this story is refreshingly free of typical Modern tropes that tend to make me instinctively tighten my sphincter – no Madonna/whore complex, no “you are a whore and I won’t believe it until I have evidence that your hymen is still intact” nonsense, no “you betrayed me so WHORE!” drama, no “I’m the only virtuous woman in the land, every other woman is a whore” other woman swill, how nice.
However, both Remy and Angelique are so childish that this story is basically two people egging, mocking, pushing, insulting, and sneering at one another as if they are in perpetual playground brawl. One of them can say something harmless, and the other would choose to blow up what the person said into something worth exchanging several paragraphs of insults and accusations over. By the time these two finally talk like adults, it’s right at the end of the story, when they realize that they have been too busy playing monkeys hurling dung at one another that they have grossly misjudged everything, and, if they had talked like they are talking at that moment, none of the drama of the last hundred plus pages would have been necessary. Imagine that. And given that I’m not sure that these two won’t slide back to their same antics a few months down the honeymoon, I don’t have high hopes for their kids having a normal, happy childhood.
I know, some people may argue like cats and dogs but it is possible that they really do love one another underneath all the drama and tantrums. I know some couples who are like this in real life. They scream at one another in public, he walks out for a few days before going back to her, she runs off to her mother before going back to him a few days later, and they would still be together, even holding hands as they shout and argue, forty years later. But that doesn’t mean they are interesting to read, and neither are Remy and Angelique. Worse, I don’t even see any believable love and other finer feelings between them. Just non-stop drama over petty things.
Still… these two are arguably the most well-adjusted couple in the entire series. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?