Everything I Ask For in a Romance
First I should note that if your idea of the perfect romance hero is confined to helfire and brimstone rake/alpha males who don’t take no for an answer, then we are not ad idem, and you should probably disregard my glowing review of this book.
If, on the the other hand, you can appreciate the charms of a man who is complex, prickly, shy, principled, passionate, and actually believes in giving others (women included) the freedom to make their own decisions, then you may just love this book as much as I did. Maybe. Because I really, really, loved this book.
Sabre (Sabrina) is feeling a bit at sixes and sevens. Her best friend has married an overbearing alpha-male (see above) with a rakish reputation and seems to have taken to being a docile wife. He other best friend is of in the wilds of Scotland. Her evil father has finally driven her from her paternal home with is degenerate ways and vile treatment of her beloved illegitimate brother. She is living with her older brother Robert, who is mired in intrigue, and who she trusts about as far as she can throw.
A chance encounter in a hallway leads to an uncharacteristically bold proposition from our Hero, Quincy. Although the word is not used, he’s clearly depressed, and very anxious due to a spot of blackmail (his crap childhood with an evil father who banished his mother probably didn’t help any). In the age old way of romance novels, he mistakes her for a ladybird and, for the first time in his life, propositions her. Sabre is insulted and demands satisfaction. What ensues is an awesome duel, and love at first cut, so to speak. At least for Sabre.
Lets talk about Quincy. Quincy is distressed about a threat to those he holds dearest. He has close friends, but is prone to curling in on himself in times of stress or anxiety. He can become outright hostile when pushed to share his troubles. He is loyal to the end to his closest friends and family, but lets very few get close. He is a daydreamer, and prone to lounging in bed for days when feeling at a loss. He is an ardent believer in women’s equality, and is willing to stand by his ideals when they are tested. He clearly feels very deeply, and is both moral and ethical. Until meeting our heroine he has remained chaste, having no interest in sleeping with prostitutes (hallelujah!)
Sabre is Quincy’s opposite. She is bold, industrious, hard-headed, to the point of being perhaps a little unfeeling in her life before meeting Quincy. Sabre is eager to experience life, including sensual pleasures. She is less emotional in some ways than Quincy. Until, that is, she falls for Quincy. At which point all bets are off.
This is one of the best executions of the opposites-attract formula that I have read in aeons. After quite a few bumps, you never doubt that these two love each other deeply, and compliment each others personalities. At one point Sabre leaves Quincy, and the description of his feelings of anxiety and wrongness at being physically separated, and relief when she is back in his arms struck me as very true, especially early in a relationship. These are people who have real feelings for each other, who enjoy each others company, who miss each other when they are apart. It’s such a trite term now, but I truly felt that they were soul mates.
Sabre is a force of nature, she corners Quincy when he becomes withdrawn and demands intimacy. Surprisingly, Quincy responds by opening up. On the other side, Quincy brings out the loving, gentle, protective side of Sabre, who would definitely fight like a lioness to protect him. This is romantic on a deeper level. It’s about people loving each other for who they are, without trying to change the other person. It’s about finding someone who brings out the protective instinct in you.
I recommend this heartily. I really cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out. Love, love, loved it.