Read with: Amazon Kindle & Mobipocket Reader
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #566
Hero: Nathan Jones
Heroine: Elizabeth Jane Mason
Date of Publication: September 1, 2010
Started On: September 7, 2010
Finished On: September 7, 2010
What I adore most about novels by Sarah Mayberry is the fact that her books offer more than just a fabulous roll in the bed which the Blaze line of books are famous for. Her books open up a world of possibilities with in depth character development and there is always a story begging to be told from start to finish. This book is no exception to that fact. When one reads the back cover of the book, he or she might be lulled into thinking that this is just your average good girl gone bad story. But it offers so much more and I loved every bit of reading Nathan and Elizabeth’s story maybe as much as or more than Ms. Mayberry must have loved writing their story.
Elizabeth Jane Mason was on the verge of tying the knot with her fiance’ Martin St. Clair within 8 weeks, whom she had been with for the past 6 years. Amidst bouts of panic and questioning herself on whether she was doing the right thing, Elizabeth was a mess which she attributed towards prewedding jitters. She had always felt that there was something missing in her relationship with Martin who worked for her grandfather at his prestigious law firm. Elizabeth had been brought up by her grandparents when her parents had been killed in a light plane accident 23 years back. Elizabeth had always been the good girl, never giving a reason for her grandparents to worry over, always giving up what she had wanted in life in favor of what her grandparents thought was what she wanted and needed.
All the tension and unease Elizabeth is feeling comes to head when she receives the shocking revelation that John Alexander Mason whom she had always known to be her father was in reality her stepfather. Her actual father was a man named Sam Blackwell of whom she had known nothing about, until she had requested for a copy of her birth certificate to be mailed over so that Martin could apply for their marriage license. The final straw is realizing that even Martin had known about it when her grandfather had taken him into his confidence right after Martin had proposed to Elizabeth. Feeling immensely betrayed by the fact that her family and her fiance had made choices for her that they had no right making, Elizabeth calls off the wedding and heads off to find her real father and to find herself whilst she is at it.
Four days later, Elizabeth arrives in Phillip Island in Victoria Australia, Sam Blackwell’s last known place of residence. When she knocks on the door, the man who opens up the door wearing nothing but a threadbare towel and looking like he had just got out of bed with bloodshot eyes, he literally takes Elizabeth’s breath away with his superb body on display.
Nathan Jones (Nate), is a man who is haunted by memories too painful even to contemplate. Drinking from noon to night till he achieves the perfect balance to embrace the oblivion offered by sleep until the next day, surfing and walking the beach around the island and hooking up with an available woman a night or two is how Nathan prefers to live at the moment. A horrible accident that had taken the life of Olivia his sister whom he had loved more than anything in his life had left him with scars on the inside rather than the outside. Giving up all management rights of Smartsell, the business he and his lifelong friend Jarvie Roberts had built from the ground up so that he could take each day as it arrives, Nathan doesn’t envision his life changing the pattern it had taken since the night that irrevocably changed his life 6 months ago.
When Nathan opens up his door to eye the beautiful woman who stands on his doorstep and finds out that she is looking for his buddy Sam, all Nathan offers Elizabeth (Lizzy as he calls her), is that he would let Sam know that she had come looking for him. Elizabeth is more than infuriated at the gall of the man and his disinclination to help her even when she professed to being the daughter that Sam had never even met. Resigned to the fact that she would have to wait around since Nathan had informed her that Sam was gone for the moment to participate in the Sydney to Hobart yatch race and would only return during new year which was nearly a month away, Elizabeth returns to her hotel and tries to make the best of her stay and loose her inhibitions a bit.
When the sleep that Elizabeth had been craving for after the long journey eludes her, with thoughts of Nathan and his beautiful body crowding into her mind unwittingly which annoys her to no end, Elizabeth decides to go downstairs and check out the beer bar which was full of people as night was settling in. It is there Elizabeth encounters Nate again, whom she can’t help but follow around with her eyes. The red hot attraction that blazes to surface seems to be mutual on both ends, and Elizabeth who has never done an improper thing in her life has wild mind blowing sex with Nathan on the beach before the night is through.
What starts out as an island fling with the only man who had the ability to rock her world slowly turns into something more as the days pass. Elizabeth’s first impression of Nate as a carefree beach bum slowly changes as she realizes the depth of intelligence that he keeps well hidden behind the facade that Nate puts up. Nate in turn faces the fact that Elizabeth and the time he spends in her company is more effective in keeping those dark memories and dreams at bay than any alcoholic beverage. And though Nathan has nothing more to offer a woman than a fabulous time in bed, he finds himself seeking out Elizabeth and what her delectable body offers him. In true Blaze style Ms. Mayberry knocked my socks off with the sizzling steam these two generate.
When finally Sam makes contact with Nathan and Elizabeth gets to talk with her father, she knows from the unenthusiastic response that she receives that she is a complication that Sam wants to do without at the moment. The hurt and dejection that settles on Elizabeth’s shoulders somehow reaches out to Nathan who doesn’t want to rescue any damsels in distress. Nathan offers to take Elizabeth sailing and in the end comforts her by conveying to her that Sam was a rather reclusive man who loved nothing more than sailing the vast oceans.
When Nathan starts to feel things are getting too serious betwee him and Elizabeth he decides to call things off, but in the end the powerful effect of the trauma that Nathan faces every day since the accident propels him to seek Elizabeth’s company. Elizabeth knows that even though they had spent just 5 days with one another give or take a few hours, she had found something she had craved all her life with Nathan and refuses to give up on him no matter how hard Nathan tries to push her away.
Slowly Nathan starts to heal though the guilt he stores deep inside him for surviving the accident and being unable to help his sister fills him with self loathing and anger. Ms. Mayberry doesn’t offer any quick solutions to Nathan’s problems which made this book a winner for me. When tragedy nearly rips the woman he loves from his arms, Nathan once again tries to close himself off of the possibility of being happy and loved and it is Elizabeth’s stubbornness that saves them in the end.
I definitely loved the epilogue which portrays their lives six months after, with Nathan slowly healing and mending with an unwavering Elizabeth by his side. The story ends off with the tale of Martin and Violet, Elizabeth’s best friend who had loathed each other and have got together begging to be told. But I guess it’s too much to hope for their own story even though I would love it if it were to be told. Kudos to Ms. Mayberry for weaving the magic she so effortlessly creates with her characters whom you can’t help but fall in love with before the story is through.