The Tycoon's Mistress by Sara Craven
Harlequin Presents # 2192 - July 2001
The Greek Tycoons themed series
On the verge of burn out, Cressida's boss urges her to take an extended vacation somewhere warm and relaxing. The last thing Cressy wanted was a holiday romance in the Greek isles, but Draco's charisma is overwhelming. When this gorgeous fisherman discovers that she is a virgin, he refuses to have an affair but romances her and then proposes. For the first time in a very long time, Cressy feels treasured, and she agrees. She returns to her hotel to gather her things for her move to the island where Draco lives, and to call and let her family know of her upcoming marriage. But she learns that her father has had a heartattack, is in intensive care, and that her stepmother has conned her father out of all his wealth and left town. Cressy leaves Greece to return to England, suddenly feeling very scared of her blinding love for Drako, as blinding a love as her father had felt for the woman who had now betrayed him. What shocks Cressy is that a Greek Tycoon is prepared to purchase her father's estate and take over his debts, and wishes only to negotiate the deal with her in person. Drako is not a fisherman as Cressy had assumed, and he no longer wishes to marry her after she fled Greece without the consideration of a phone call, or the trust in him that he would want to help her in any way. In order to save her father from financial ruin, Cressy is to become Draco's mistress for three months, and after that time she will be free and the estate deeds transfered to her.
This is my first by Ms. Craven. She begins the story with Cressy's return to England, and introduces her romance with Draco with cleverly written backflashes. This worked wonderfully and bravo to Ms. Craven as often the use of backflashes can be confusing. Draco is definitely alpha. We rarely get his point of view, except through Cressy's thoughts and observations, and through the opinions expressed by other characters, so it's easy to paint him as ruthless and unforgiving. I'm not sure of how I feel about Cressy. Often I thought her too self-pitying, and seemed to not have enough back bone to either stand up to Draco or her father. Their passion was intense, and overall I think their chemistry was well expressed. This was an enjoyable read.