The South sizzles in New York Times bestselling author Beverly Barton's sultry tale of a woman torn between two brothers...
Mary Beth Caine has always been the good girl in her small Mississippi town. But when a big, protective, shamelessly sexy stranger offers to console her on the night of her disastrous engagement party, Mary Beth lets him--only to discover that Parr Weston also happens to be the older brother of her fiancé, Bobby Joe.
Parr left Mississippi after years spent holding his family together. Now that he's back, he can't steal Bobby Joe's woman, and he sure can't offer Mary Beth the tidy happily-ever-after she deserves. But everything about the petite beauty--from her flame-gold hair to her artless sensuality--makes him crave her more. Love or lust, right or wrong, all he knows is that nothing has ever felt like this before, and walking away will be the hardest thing he's ever had to do...
The late Barton (1946 2011) deserves to be remembered for her long career and not for this weak contemporary romance set in the Deep South, where reputation and family are everything. Mary Beth Caine's worthless fianc , Bobby Joe Weston, cheats on her during their engagement party, a blow only mitigated by a sexy stranger's attentions to Mary Beth. Even when he turns out to be Bobby Joe's older brother, Parr, Mary Beth can't dial down her attraction to him. Alma, the Weston matriarch, begs her to give Bobby Joe another chance, and Parr backs off reluctantly. The lopsided love triangle is tedious. Mary Beth and Bobby Joe don't share passion, respect, or companionship. In contrast, the chemistry pops when Mary Beth is with Parr, who alternates between seducing her and pushing her away. The only likable character is Alma, who is staunch in her love and loyalty and deserves her own happy-ever-after.
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Couldn't make myself finish it
I've never read anything by Barton before, but I figured that between the success of her writing and the intriguing synopsis, this one would be an easy winner. Not so at all.
The general plot sounded great. Woman is cheated on by her fiance, finds herself attracted to another man, and that other man turns out to be her fiance's brother. There's so much potential for drama and emotion, and I really wanted to see it all play out. Unfortunately, it started off very shaky, and when the two-dimensional characters all came into play, it just got worse.
Mary Beth is your typical good girl, and she's engaged to a selfish jerk. He cheats on her at their engagement party, and she finds a sympathetic stranger to talk to, someone she's instantly attracted to despite her broken heart and confusion about her future. Said stranger is Parr, brother to her awful fiance, but he's not bright enough to realize that the crying fiancee he's talking to at an engagement party is his brother's woman. And when he does? Doesn't matter. He's angry at his brother and wants to win the girl. Worse than those three are the parents, all of whom seem more interested in marrying off their mismatched, unhappy children than supporting them. Parr's mother actually asks him to intercede and help the broken couple patch things up, and Mary Beth is just enough of a doormat to try to look past her fiance's cheating.
I had high hopes for this one, but I realized rather quickly that I wasn't going to enjoy reading it. I'm used to some contrived drama and even a few cardboard cut-out characters in romances, but this was just too much. When the set-up is so thin, the characters so oblivious, and I end up not liking any of them enough to care what happens next, it's time to bail and find something else to read.
***FicCentral received this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review.