Pierce Braden doesn’t see the need to ever settle down. With his successful business deals, profitable properties, and no trouble finding company for the evening when he wants it, he thinks he doesn’t need anything more. And when he steps up to defend a woman being harassed in a bar, the last thing he expects is for her not to him either…or to find himself so intrigued that he can’t stay away from her.
Rebecca Rivera’s used to relying only on herself. After years of taking care of her sick mother and losing just about everything else in the process, she’s now on her own in the worst way. Her mother’s gone, she has no job, and she’ll be sleeping in her car for the foreseeable future. And when a handsome man wearing a suit that probably cost more than her car treats her as if she’s some damsel in distress, she’s having none of it. Of course, she didn’t plan on his being quite so charming, or on falling for him, or on finding out maybe she needs something, someone more in her life.
The Verdict: If ever there was an opening scene that perfectly introduced a character, Romancing My Love has it. Rebecca wears her grief like armor, steeling herself for a somewhat solitary existence and trying to get back on her feet without anyone’s pity or charity. Her guard is up so high that she can’t see common courtesy or chivalry for what it is, expecting every kindness shown to her is tainted with sympathy and condescension, and she’s determined to make it on her own, even if that means pushing everyone else away. While the self-reliant heroine has certainly been done before, Rebecca’s story adds a different dimension to it, and her refusal to show even the smallest vulnerability makes for a very interesting character. She’s not looking to be romanced or given gifts or being placed on a pedestal. She’s not actually looking for anything at all, except maybe a somewhat smoother path in life. So getting her to open up and allow someone else to take care of her is an almost impossible task for Pierce.
Pierce is more than just a handsome, charming, successful man. Sure, he’s got all that, and he’s a bit surprised when Rebecca turns down his offer to see her home after she defends herself against a jerk at her now former job. But he doesn’t really pull the old, “I can’t believe she didn’t fall for my charms,” bit that would make him annoyingly overconfident. Instead, his interest is piqued, and he’s both impressed and amused by her fiery independence. He’s also believably oblivious to her tenuous living situation, not really recognizing the few clues that she’s not as put together as she seems. What I found most interesting refreshing, though, was that he didn’t throw money around to save her.
Where most books with a similar premise would have had Pierce talking Rebecca into accepting financial help, offering a place to stay, or maybe pulling strings to get her a job, the story between these two is quite different. Instead of providing a solution way too convenient to ever happen in real life, Pierce — not his money — is the solution. Oh, he makes it more than clear that he’d love to do more for her, but he doesn’t push, and it’s obvious Rebecca would never allow it. So instead he simply lets their relationship progress, becomes more important to her than she ever thought possible, and lets her work things out her way. It’s that process that makes their ultimate happily ever after feel that much more earned.