Thursday, April 28, 2022

Lucy King - His Best Mistake

When Stella Grant realises her perfect romance is a lie and that she's the other woman, she flees to her remote cottage in the Highlands to lick her wounds.
Billionaire currency trader Jack Maclean has nothing but contempt for the woman who stole not only his sister’s fiancé but quite possibly a family heirloom to boot. Nonetheless, he wants answers and he intends to get them. A quick trip north should do the trick. Never in a million years could he have predicted a kamikaze sheep and inclement weather would leave him stranded.
Jack might be gorgeous but Stella isn’t in the market for a man, especially one who hates her. No matter how attractive he finds her Stella is the very last person Jack should want. The trouble is, they’re all alone and the chemistry is irresistible, and, well, what happens in Scotland stays in Scotland, right?

Comment: One more book I added and now I can't remember why.... probably it was the fact the couple met while in an antagonist situation and later on became a loving couple.

When this story begins, Stella Grant is painting somewhere in Scotland, after a terrible situation in which she found out Ben, the man she felt could be the one. was actually engaged and she was "the other woman". Stella feels betrayed but she is still accused by Ben's fiance and family of being the one who caused the whole thing and that is why Stella ran to Scotland, so she could have some peace.
Jack Maclean is the very wealthy older brother of that fiance and he decides to find Stella, tell her what is on his mind and make her feel all the harm she has caused. However, a car problem means he has to stay with Stella and after a very heartfelt conversation, both realize Ben is the actual villain in this situation. In fact, the more they talk, the more they feel the attraction and they end up spending the night together. Still, this isn't the end, for Stella finds out she is pregnant. Will there be a future for them?

This is a quick story, more novella size than full length. Not that I mind it, but as I was reading, I kept thinking this reminded me of those Silhouette/Harlequin little books I used to buy as a teenager. Now that I've checked the author's site, I see she wrote for Harlequin and that kind of shows on how she planned the story and only focused the necessary elements. In a way, though, this means the story felt like things happened way too smoothly for it to feel rich and with enough depth.

The writing itself isn't bad, but there is a lot to be compacted into this small story and I feel that or the story needed more pages, so things could be exploited and solved in a more convincing manner, or maybe less content would have been a better choice. Stella and Jack meet due to a tricky mess but with more time, more interactions perhaps the evolution of their feelings might have sounded stronger. I think it's not that difficult to imagine people would feel sexual chemistry right away, and the unplanned pregnancy quite a plot prop, but there is something missing, character wise.

Stella seems to be a good person, caught in an unfair situation and I could empathize when she says she feels even more betrayed, because she was lied to, when Ben said he was single. However, apart from some things she says and a (later on the story) cliche scene where her parents aren't home when they said they would, there isn't much about her personality that can be memorable except she had parents who didn't care for her.

Jack comes from a wealthy but caring family (he says, because his sister Cora doesn't have such a happy presence when she shows up - obviously - and their parents are only a cute prop at the end of the story) but he starts the story angry over what happened to his sister. After the situation is cleared, and he spends the night with Stella, and they decide to somehow raise their child, we are told he had a traumatic past with his wife, who died, as well as the baby she carried. I mean! Poor Jack, he certainly didn't deserve such a thing, and part of the conflict is how he deals with this and how Stella deals with it - after a convenient chat with angry Cora.

All these things are certainly possible and in a book with different goals or intent, perhaps it would make for a more challenging or emotional read. I see how some readers think this anyway, but to me everything was superficial, didn't have enough time or process to be developed in a captivating manner. The words, the scenes are there but... no real intensity for me.

All in all, it fits all the boxes, it's a well structured novella, but not really strong in content nor in plot choices. I don't think it's a bad story, just feels incomplete and under developed.
Grade: 5/10

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