Title: Untameable Rogue
Author: Kelly Hunter
UK ISBN: 978-0-263-87735-9
UK Publisher: Mills & Boon
UK Series: Modern Heat
N. A. ISBN: 978-0-373-52792-2
N. A. Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Harlequin Presents Extra #128
Copyright: 2010; 185 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Romance:
Him: Luke Bennett is the middle Bennett child — younger than Jake and Pete, older than Tristan and Hallie. Like his immediate older and younger brothers, Luke is in a dangerous profession — explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). Unlike Pete and Tristan, he isn’t coming off a job-gone-bad. He freelances, so he only works when he gets a call. However, he is feeling restless and world-wary. Initially, Luke had planned on being in Singapore for only a week, visiting his brother. Once he gets involved with Madeline Delacourte, he extends his stay longer and longer — in fact, a lot of time passes in this story, which sets it apart for the others.
Her: Madeline Delacourte is a business woman. He late husband taught her how to run a business and she’s been very successful keeping his empire up and running. She hasn’t had any real desire to get involved with another man. Though she has known Jacob “Jake” Bennett for ten years, she considers him a friend. When the book opens, Madeline is visiting Jake’s dojo to ask him to take one of her homeless boys — Po — under his wing, as an apprentice. It’s during this visit that she first meets Luke. Right off, she can tell he is a bit wild and she’d be better off not getting involved with such a man, even for an exciting fling.
An important digression: You really can’t talk about this book without mentioning the eldest Bennett brother, Jake. Unlike the previous books in this mini-series, a character other than the main couple gets a lot of page time. Luke lives with him, initially, and they have more than than one conversation. Madeline placed one of her foundlings in his care, so she has a reason to see him and talk with him. Another factor that makes this book different is that it sets up the next — Jake’s — book. Both Luke and Madeline get roped into a situation that involves Jake’s estranged wife.
The Relationship: Luke is attracted to Madeline on sight. She’s beautiful, kind, compassionate, funny, smart. As long as she’s not involved with Jake (Luke doesn’t poach), he wouldn’t mind getting to know her better. The attraction is mutual. Madeline is drawn in by his golden eyes and lazy, reckless smile. She knows up front that he’s only supposed to be in Singapore for a week and that he’s not looking for long-term. Neither is she. In this way, they are very much like Pete and Serena.
The Conflict: Luke has a knee-jerk initial reaction to learning that Madeline married a wealthy, and much older, man that she did not love. It bothers him to know that she married for security. He works through that issue, as he gets to know her better, but it turns into insecurity on his part. How can he compete with a generous, good man who was able to give her all the comforts of life? Luke makes good money, but he’s not in the same league financially as either Madeline or her late husband. He has a simple life and he’s not sure how he can fit into her world.
For all her self-confidence, Madeline can still be hurt by the spiteful, nasty things that polite, upper-crust society says about her. Usually, she can brush it off. But, knowing Luke’s initial feelings in regards to her marriage, she has doubts as to his reaction to those same comments. Would he believe them? Would he think less of her? Plus, there’s his job. This passage sums up Madeline’s doubts:
“You need a woman whose honour can equal your own. A woman with strength enough to let you go when you have to go and do what you need to do. I can’t even manage honour, let alone the strength I’d need to love you.”
(kept the British spelling of “honor”)
What I liked: I loved this book! I’ll admit that Luke’s attitude in the beginning had me worried, but his obvious effort to come to terms with Madeline’s first marriage won me over. Madeline takes him to task, early on, about judging her without knowing a thing about her, which helped.
Ms. Hunter’s books are usually a fun read, and this one is no exception. Snappy dialog. Humorous characters and/or situations. Tristan had a love-struck cockatoo, Pete had a village of busy-body chaperons, and Luke has Yun. Yun is Madeline’s housekeeper. She’s an expert in fen shui and the Chinese zodiac, she’s a superb cook, and she’s very protective of Madeline. Naturally, she’s going to be leery of Luke.
As I mentioned above, a lot of time passes in this book. Luke does get called out on a mission and is gone for quiet a bit of time, which means Madeline gets to experience what life can be like with him, and that the couple gets their HEA after knowing each other for a few months instead of a week or two.
I wonder why there’s a Christmas bow on the Presents cover, since as far as I can tell, it doesn’t take place around Christmas at all. I hope nobody reads this book expecting a Christmas theme.
What I didn’t like: Uh, nothing to add. Really.
Started: 9 October 2010
Finished: 9 October 2010
Disclaimer: I purchased this book.