Read with: Kindle for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Hero: Constantine Voulos
Heroine: Rosalie Waring
Date of Publication: November 28, 1997
Started On: June 16, 2011
Finished On: June 17, 2011
The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham is a novel that I seemed to have missed out on previously. It tells the story of how Rosalie Waring’s world collides by a twist of fate with that of the ultra rich Greek tycoon Constantine Voulos brought about by the conditions set aside on the will of Anton Estrada, adoptive father of Constantine.
Rosie is stunned when after a period of blissful happiness of 4 months with Anton, he dies suddenly leaving her bereft and alone once again. When Constantine jumps to the worst of conclusions about her relationship with Anton, Rosie’s bitterness towards Constantine who has had a lifetime of moments with her own father lets her keep the explanations under wraps until Anton’s will forces Constantine to ask for her hand in marriage.
It is a blazingly resentful Constantine who calls Rosie a gold digger and much worse that turns up for the wedding along with our prickly as a hedgehog heroine whose instinctive reactions of self protection is the tendency to lash out and give as good as she gets, an aftereffect of being in state ward care since the tender age of nine, that makes the joining of holy matrimony of these two a volatile one at best.
Though Rosie tries to come clean with who she is, Constantine is not one to believe a word that comes out of her mouth and this charade continues throughout the book, each of them insulting one another blinded by the fury at the inconvenient desire that they feel for each other.
For me, The Secret Wife didn’t make for such a great read. The premise of the story which promised to deliver an angsty read failed to do that when Constantine refused to listen to whatever Rosie had to say and Rosie refused to try and make Constantine see the light afted his initial rejection. For me, I would gladly take Rosie’s side because Constantine just grated on my nerves with his inability to see beyond what he wants to see, and even when eventually the truth does come out, he is quick to lay the blame at Rosie’s feet rather than accept his own doing in complicating matters.
This story is told from Rosie’s viewpoint and I for the world of me cannot understand how it is that Constantine falls in love with Rosie. For someone who loves finding the hero’s feelings via his reactions towards the heroine; I just didn’t feel the love in this one.
Recommended for those who love the marriage of convenience theme and fans of Lynne Graham.
Final Verdict: Blazing sexual heat, jealousy, angst, and a motherlord of misunderstandings signifies this story making it memorable!
‘Let go of me, you caveman!’ Rosie splintered breathlessly.
Constantine gazed down at her, blazing golden eyes intent, and splayed hard fingers to the curve of her hip and forced her up against him. That close to that lean, muscular male frame, Rosie froze, bright eyes bewildered as the heat and the scent of him washed over her in a heady, disorientatingly pleasurable tide. A tiny little muscle deep down in her stomach jerked, making her legs feel oddly weak and hollow. Her heart started slamming suffocatingly fast against her ribcage.
‘You were trying to flirt with me,’ Constantine murmured with a slight frown, his deep, dark drawl sending the most peculiar little shivers travelling down her taut spinal cord.
‘Your mouth is bigger than you are,’ Constantine growled, his deep voice thickening in a manner that sent Rosie’s self-preserving instincts shooting to full power. ‘Why not kiss me instead?’
‘Because I don’t want to kiss you!’
‘Do I look that dumb?’ Rosie spat.
But then Constantine blocked out the light with the hot, hungry heat of his mouth, and the world spun so violently, she gasped and clutched at him. Electrifying heat engulfed her… or maybe it was him. He seemed to be burning up too. Her fingers framed his hard cheekbones and her head went back as he knotted one hand tightly into her hair and kissed her with bruising, demanding thoroughness until she thought she would pass out from lack of oxygen but didn’t care because nothing had ever felt so good.
A lean hand jerked at the tie on the towelling robe and then closed over one small, pouting breast. The sensation of pleasure was so intense, Rosie almost had a cardiac arrest.
Lifting his dark, tousled head, Constantine smiled sexily down into her shaken face. ‘You like that?’
Rosie didn’t have words to tell him how much. She was lost in another world, a wholly physical place where only sensation ruled. He sent his tongue skimming over a swollen pink nipple and her back arched, her teeth clenching, her nails clawing into the bedspread beneath her. All she knew was that she wanted more, more of that stunning, heart-racing pleasure, and only he could give it.
‘It won’t work… I’m naturally argumentative’ Rosie asserted even more tautly.
Golden fire in his molten appraisal, Constantine swept her up into his arms to carry her into the bedroom. ‘Christos… of course it will work. And once we have made love, once you have lain in my arms and tasted the pleasure we can share, you will never mention the throwback again. I may not be perfect but I’m way beyond him in the reliability stakes.’
Rosie looked up at him, her heart racing so fast, it thundered in her ears. ‘We c-can’t do this,’ she stammered.
‘We can…let me show you how,’ Constantine groaned achingly against the corner of her mouth, his breath fanning her cheek. A hunger she couldn’t fight shot through her with the shattering shock effect of a lightning bolt and, reacting on pure instinct to the almost pleading quality of that deep, dark drawl, she turned her mouth under his… and burned.
Constantine smiled. Rosie’s heart flipped. He withdrew his finger, dropped his dark head and traced the fullness of her lower lip with the teasing tip of his tongue. She wanted him to kiss her. It was an instantaneous need and she shifted beneath him, all of a quiver with helpless impatience, her body taut with sudden screaming tension. Her hands flew up of their own volition and her fingers sank into his black hair to try and drag him down to her by force.
With a husky laugh, Constantine resisted her urging and instead let his tongue dip between her readily parted lips. ‘Foreplay,’ he whispered provocatively.
‘Cool down?’ Rosie echoed breathlessly as if he were talking in a foreign language, the throbbing tips of her breasts grazed by the rough black curls on his chest, making her eyes slide shut again on a silent shiver of utterly boneless pleasure. She moved so that she could rub herself against him again and moaned.
A thick flood of Greek was wrenched from Constantine, his long, hard frame shuddering beneath hers in enforced response. Hard hands closed round her hips and dragged her up his extended length, parting her thighs so that she straddled him. ‘I need to cool down…no, I need—’ And he closed his mouth hungrily over a rosy nipple, jolting her with such a shock of intense sensation that she cried out, her head falling back.
Theos…’ Constantine rasped, black eyes expressively awash with guilty, angry bewilderment as he snatched in a ragged breath. ‘I’m sorry… you excited me so much, I lost control.’
Incredibly touched by the look of bemusement in those magnetic dark eyes, Rosie’s tension gave. ‘I—’
His dark, tousled head swooped down, the tender, seductive caress of his mouth feathering against hers in silken persuasion of the cruellest kind. ‘But you feel like heaven on earth,’ he confided with a sinuous, slow and infinitesimal shift of his hips that sent a rise of reawakened pleasure travelling through her startled body. ‘Trust me, pethi mou…’
Rosie melted like frost in sunlight, heat surging back in a stabbing little surge of excitement.
‘You told Anton that you were pregnant,’ Constantine contended in a ragged, dark growl as he drew inexorably closer. ‘It was a cheap trick but that is why he demanded that I marry you.’
‘I don’t play cheap tricks,’ Rosie told him breathlessly, struggling to hang on to her wits as her skin heated and her breasts swelled into throbbing sensitivity. She pressed a betraying hand to the pulse flickering a crazy beat at her collarbone.
‘Christos … you play me like a witch casting a spell!’ Constantine countered with sudden glancing rawness. ‘I want you even more now than I wanted you last night—’
‘Tough,’ Rosie said with tremulous bite, a quiver of deep overpowering longing sheeting over her with the efficacy of a mind-blowing drug, leaving her more dizzy and disorientated than ever.
In response, Constantine reached out, curved his fingers firmly over her stiff shoulders and pulled her across the floor into his arms. And since that was where every inch of her wanted to be she couldn’t fight. He crushed her to him in a shatteringly sexual embrace, a powerful hand pressing her into intimate contact with the bold, hard thrust of his arousal. Rosie shivered violently, her legs turning hollow. He took her mouth with hot, hard hunger and the heat of desire blanked out every. thought. She clutched at his broad shoulders, knit frantic fingers into his thick black hair and feverishly kissed him back.
He sank down into his swivel chair with her on top of him, lean hands roving beneath her loose T-shirt, skimming over the smooth, taut skin of her ribcage in search of the pouting mounds above.
‘You are driving me off the edge, pethi mou,’ Constantine confided with ragged bite. ‘Possibly a working honeymoon was not one of my brighter ideas.’ Suddenly he stood up, both arms anchored around her, and set her down on the edge of the desk, sending papers flying with a decisive sweep of one arrogant brown hand. ‘But then if I want to make love to my wife in the middle of the day that is my business.’
Rosie’s lashes fluttered. ‘I’m not your …’ she began, yet her voice trailed away again, wiped out by the change she’d discovered within herself, the sea change that had crept up on her without her noticing. His wife, she savoured in a sudden stark surge of possessiveness that shook her.
With an urgent groan, Constantine sank his hands to her hips and hauled her under him. Then he hesitated. ‘I don’t want to hurt you again.’
‘You don’t argue with me in my fantasies…you don’t stop…you don’t make me wait!’ Rosie sobbed in explosive frustration.
The silence thundered. She closed her eyes in horror. Oh, no, I didn’t say that … did I? she asked herself.
‘What do I do?’ he murmured.
‘What I want,’ Rosie mumbled.
Constantine vented a ragged laugh of appreciation. The velvet-hard thrust of him surged teasingly against her, gently probing the slick, damp welcome awaiting him.