I’ve gotten out of the habit of scanning category releases. Too many virgins, mistresses, billionaires, greeks, sheikhs and secret babies. But while browsing at B&N last week (or the week before? it all blurs together), I saw that Robyn Donald, perhaps my favorite Harlequin Presents author, had a new book out. Even better, it is set in New Zealand; I’ve harped on this before, but I think one of the best things about Donald’s books is the way setting is almost a character itself. Princes from made up European countries? Meh.
Title: Powerful Greek, Housekeeper Wife (There still had to be a Greek billionaire in the mix somewhere, of course!)
Cover art: fairly standard HP stuff. Somewhat relevant, since as housekeeper/nanny, Iona does spend time in a swimsuit.
The blurb: With the body of a Greek god, a tycoon’s wealth and all the emotion of cold, hard marble, Luke Michelakis is an enigma. Intimidated and out of her depth in his glamorous world, Iona Guthrie has consigned their brief passionate affair to the recesses of her secret memories.
But two years later the powerful Greek and the housekeeper find themselves together again under the same roof, and Luke has a startling proposition: he’s looking for a wife and, as he discovered once before, Iona meets all his requirements….
As usual, not entirely accurate. Iona and Luke had a vacation fling on Tahiti, and Iona basically dumped Luke when he asked her to go back to Europe with him. [He asked her to go, she said no, then he said he’d "look after her" and was looking forward to making her change her mind. Yeah, at that point, the arrogant ass factor was pretty high.] Anyway, they meet again years later when she is organizing the guest apartment he’ll be staying in, helping her sister out with her housekeeping business. Iona herself is a nursery school teacher. [Seriously, housekeeper and nursery school teacher? Could there be any more traditionally gendered jobs for a heroine?]
Luke’s adopted daughter (actually his half-sister) is in need of care, as her nanny has a family emergency, and Luke more or less blackmails Iona into the job. Following that, they end up in a marriage of convenience for purposes of strengthening Luke’s case for custody of his sister/daughter. Add in some comments about women being naturally treacherous, and being unable to speak to other men without being accused of flirting and making promises with her smile, and you have their dysfunctional romance.
I spent the entire time I was reading the book rolling my eyes at the hero’s jerky behavior, which is only slightly mitigated by the fact that readers get snippets of Luke’s POV, and see how much he wants -and loves- Iona. He admits the love part early on, which is a relative rarity.
As an HP, this was slightly better than average. But I probably would not recommend it as an intro to the subgenre for readers new to HPs.
One thing that always perplexes me about HPs is the mistressing. What makes a mistress? Is it being unmarried and having an on-going sexual relationship? Must money change hands? It makes sense to me as a historical construct but loses something in modern relationships for me. Beyond that, I found Luke’s musing that he wasn’t foolish enough to tall in love with his mistresses to be confusing because Iona was never his mistress. Vacation fling /= mistress. When offered the role, she declined. Then employee (nanny, without sex involved). Where then was the mistressing?
Semi-related: Donald’s backlist is gradually being digitized and sold over at eHarlequin. There are several new/old books out this month and next, including…[sorry, meant to put a list here but got sidetracked.]