Review of THE MARRYING KIND by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1161, May 2007
John Davis knows everything he needs to know about women. He's seen his father's four wives abuse him, milk him for everything he's worth, and make the poor man's life miserable. He's had woman after woman throw themselves at him, offering him sex in exchange for marriage--and his own money. What he'd really like is a woman who doesn't demand anything, who isn't looking for a long term commitment, who has her own head together and won't go all needy on him. Of course, he's been around long enough to know that kind of woman doesn't exist.
When sexy John Davis shows up on her neighbor's doorstop and sweeps her away to a restaurant, banker Diane Black thinks he's about the rudest man she's ever met--and his attitude toward women is horrid. But once he realizes he'd made a mistake, John tries to make it up to her--and the man didn't become one of the richest developers in Dallas without becoming convincing along the way. His rules, no commitment, no marriage and definitely no children are not what Diane is looking for in the long term, but she can put up with them for a while.
It's one thing to agree to rules, though, and it's something else to stick to the agreement. The longer Diane spends with John, the more she realizes that she's truly hooked. She wants his hard body near her, enjoys having him spend the night and cook her breakfast, and will certainly always remember the sexy shower he insists that the two of them share. She tells herself to enjoy it while it lasts, but it doesn't take long before she dreads the day when John will announce it's over. That's when things go completely out of control.
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) packs a lot into this story. Both John and Diane are damaged--Diane by parents who never loved her and John by the loss of his mother and his father's bad experience with greedy wives (including the current wife who is angling for John while still married to his father). John starts off obnoxious but struggles to redeem himself--succeeding with both Diane and the reader. Diane is a strong woman in her own right--she's risen to become Vice President of Investments at one of Dallas's largest banks, has a network of friends, and is a success by any book. She doesn't need a man to take care of her--but she does need someone to love and to love her. Which is why John's rules ultimately are deal-breakers.
I predict that THE MARRYING KIND will create a lot of new fans for Christenberry.
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