Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.99, ISBN 978-0-263-24840-1
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Riya Mathur has promised her stepfather that she would do anything to reconcile the sick man with his estranged son Nathaniel Ramirez. Nate had never looked back ever since his father hooked up with Riya’s mother, and the man blamed them all for his mother’s death. Of course, since our heroine has promised, and we all know that there is no limit to a romance heroine’s determination to immolate herself to fulfill a promise, she sets things in motion that gives Nate the impression that she is going to sell the family house. He retaliates by buying out half the shares of her software company and then charging up to the house accusing her of constantly playing games with him. She can tell him there is a sun in the sky and he’d still wag his swollen tumescence at her face while berating her for being a liar.
Of course, they are destined to be together because it ain’t love until the hero treats the heroine like a dumb loyal mutt he takes for granted. Eventually our heroine realizes that her mother is made of hatred and evil (seriously, which mother isn’t when it comes to this line?) and decides that enough is enough. She is her own woman now! She sleeps with the hero – bye, bye virginity – and then spends the rest of the story insisting that she and he are meant to be while he keeps treating her like dung in his efforts to prove to her that they are never meant to be. Of course, he continues to sleep with her, because breaking it off with her while minimizing the damage is so beneath a romance hero.
Anyway, the conflict in The Man to Be Reckoned With is really touching in a “here, finger, touch against the back of the throat” way. I mean, a billionaire, complaining that he can’t figure out a way to make Riya happy because he doesn’t know any way to live other than to be a loner! Because he has been hurt before! Of course, in order not to hurt her, he keeps hurling hurtful words at her while sleeping with her anyway. That makes sense. I dare anyone not to shed a tear at this poor crybaby’s distressing first world problem.
Meanwhile, Riya wants to find independence by clinging to the hope that Nate will come to his senses one day and realize that she loves him. Why does she love him? He spends pretty much the entire book treating her like a lice on his head, except when he wants someone to scratch the itch in his groin, and even then, he’d make her feel like a louse afterwards for putting out to him. I suppose Riya must be some kind of masochist who would need a lot more time to unlearn her bad behaviors. Given how willing she is to martyr herself for her stepfather, she probably feels happy only when she’s being used by someone.
Really, though, Nate deserves some kind of award for being impressive in his own way. A billionaire of all billionaires, and yet he’s still whining and moping like the biggest crybaby in the world. I can only hope these two fly into the Bermuda Triangle on their honeymoon trip.