Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1104
Hero: Ryan Fraine
Heroine: Venetia Gamble
Date of Publication: August 1, 1988
Started On: June 29, 2011
Finished On: June 30, 2011
My God! Whoever says that Harlequin stories are only fluff would definitely have a tough time categorizing this title as such. Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald is a title that ended up in my TBR pile via a recommendation received from Amazon. I finally gave into my curiosity and sampled my first Robyn Donald last night and boy did I have a hard time letting the story go to catch some much needed shut eye last night because yes once you start reading, this is the sort of book that refuses to let go!
Television reporter Venetia Gamble meets the engimatic and handsome Ryan Fraine whose reputation precedes him as one of the best in her field during a function held to inaugurate the set up of the first private television station in New Zealand. Even though the cynicsm that lurkes close to the surface in Ryan’s eyes tells Venetia that he is a man best left alone, the explosive reaction that he seems to trigger with her baser emotions and seems to return in full makes her a slave to the fulfillment that he alone can give her.
23 year old Venetia has already learnt the bitter lesson of letting passion rule her life when she had been just 18 years old. Fiercely independent and not as sophisticated as she lets on, Venetia plays a dangerous game in perfecting the image that she thinks is what Ryan looks for in a woman though her ploy fails miserably when she falls in love with him only to have him fall for Venetia’s innocent and serene cousin Elizabeth.
Six year later, Venetia has made a life for herself and her five year old son John at her grandmother’s place in Austalia. And it is here that Ryan comes to seek her out, having bought the rights for her book which is to be made into a movie by the man himself. Elizabeth having passed away a year back, Ryan once again starts the dangerous cat and mouse game that they had played before with the passion that swirls between them stronger than ever, refusing to be denied even if giving in is the furthest thing Venetia wants.
With their son to consider, Ryan proposes that she marry him and give him the opportunity to once and for all slake the uncontrollable hunger that rules them both given half the chance. But the hurt and betrayal from 6 years back when Ryan had shattered the very foundation of her being when he had cruelly ended things with her has left its mark on Venetia who is ever more cautious and fools herself into thinking that she would ever be able to say no where Ryan is concerned.
Smoke in the Wind is an intense read that requires a lot from the reader and I revelled in the heady sensations that coursed through me every single minute of the story. Ryan is a hero that is hard to get on board with, his cruel treatment of Venetia because he can’t accept the fact that he is vulnerable to her as she is to him hard to accept. Still I found myself fascinated with his character and came to understand what it is that drives him to be his meanest when he is around Venetia.
Venetia on the other hand is strong, fiesty and independent and vulnerable to the very core where Ryan is concerned. Though she gives as good as she gets, she is no match for the strong connection that is between her and Ryan and has withstood the test of time, distance and immense betrayal and once again it is Venetia that opens up herself to the possibility that this time around with maturity and past mistakes to guide her, she would be able to reap the benefits of Ryan’s affections even if he might never come to love her as he did for his first wife.
If Robyn Donald writes all her stories with unapologetic honesty as this one, I am already a fan as Smoke in the Wind is a romance that fans of ruthless alpha heroes and fans of Harlequin romances ought not to miss. I would have loved to see Ryan brought to his knees and maybe see him grovel a little, hell a lot more but I suppose a gal can’t have everything she wants.
He smelled so good, of warm, aroused male. And taste. On his probing tongue, in his mouth, lingered the faint essence of the wine they had had for dinner, but mostly her mouth accepted his own special flavour, potent, exciting, more precious than the best vintage champagne. And the feel of him, the hard, powerful muscles so pleasurably contrasted with the smooth, flowing silk of the skin over them, a magnificent masculine dichotomy which conquered all that was feminine in her.
‘You,’ he repeated, his voice heavy and hard, shaking with emotion he no longer troubled to hide, ‘I took one look at you and knew that that was it, I’d spent the last six years with hunger for you eating at my heart.’