Linda Howard asks the question: "Is there a limit to love, a point where it dies?" She believes there isn't and gives a very movingly works to make the case. I give this book 5 stars because of the powerfully move story (a wee bit dated and the whole book, since it was a series, is limited in scope).
Howard does more in a small book, than any writer outside of Anne Stuart, and has proved consistently to be one of my favourite writers, though I have not really been wowed by the writing in the last few years. It seems JAK, Howard and Roberts are suffering from a formula writing, that is taking the glitter off their craft, and in a move to go more mainstream is causing them to forget the romance roots, and ultimately betraying the very fans that built their careers.
What hurts this books, dating and limitations aside, is although you are carried along with her prose, the power of the relationship she creates, you get to the point where you just do not accept love forgives all. I am sorry, if the man I loved believe I was an embezzler, did not confront me with the evidence FIRST and give me a chance to prove my innocence, had me arrested without the first warning or preparation, refused to take my calls from jail or after I got out....well, I just don't see how I could forgive as easily as Howard's character did. And that in the end, it nearly cripples this book so much.
Tessa Conway is working in accounting of Carter Engineering. The firm is having the losses of large revenue, they bring in Brett Rutland the corporation's top troubleshooter. Brett has the reputation of a pitbull, has little respect for women, uses them and leaves them without a care. He is an emotionless hunter that shows no pity, and he goes after Tessa with the cutting edge of wanting sex and information. But he falls in love with her (or so Howard would try to make you believe). But he resents this so much, nearly hates her in his own way for taking away his control, that when he finds evidence showing Tessa guilty of stealing thousands and thousands of dollars, that he has her arrested. No warning, no chance to prove her innocence, no support. She is arrested and booked. She tries to call him, believing her lover, the man she loves desperately, will make everything all right. He refuses to take her calls. After she gets out of jail, he still refuses to take her calls. She finally goes to see him at his hotel and he cruels says he only slept with her to gain information. This nearly destroys her. All in an effort to save his pride.
Later, in an the middle of the night, he finally realises she could go to prison. He loves her (? sorry that is a big leap of faith for me at this point) and cannot stand to know the woman he loves will go to prison, so he goes to his boss and makes a deal to get the charges dropped. He tells the boss he will repay the money she stole himself, marry her. (nice of him!!). He arranges for the District Attorney to call her in, but she refuses to sign the agreement. She is innocent and will not sign a confession of guilt. It is only THEN he understands that she MIGHT be innocent. Now convinced she is innocent, he has the charges dropped, and suddenly moves in with her to take care of the fragile woman and hunt the real thief.
She shows a moment of fury and lashes out with her fists. But that is about all she does. I am sorry, this really hurt this book. She makes the point that she still loves him. Well, I love so I know you will forgive a lot in your life....but you do not forgive this easily.
Still, with all its faults, this is a powerfully written book. Howard weaves a spell that pulls you along, making you almost believe it...till you take a breath and reality check comes along.
I HIGHLY recommend it for the simple fact it is writing craft at it is highest peak, it is truly emotional...your heart will pound when she is arrested and finally comes to grips with the fact her lover is the one pressing charges. Just sorry, that the confined treatment of the series romance, pushed Howard to take the easy road in the solution.