Rowan Adams and her roomie have been working at the resort all season, and it’s time for them to move on…but her pal has fallen crazy in love over the cousin of the resort owner, and wants to try to stay on longer. Rowan and the owner, Fraser Delaney, just don’t get along, but she’s trying to help her friend. Things get out of hand when the girls end up working for the Delaneys–Rowen ends up as the housekeeper for Fraser!
Truth be told, it took me a little while to get into this one–the setting is Australia, and there is a fair bit of Aussie idiom in it, but that’s not what derailed me.
Rowan, particularly very early on, is trying to be a strong, independent woman, but she just comes off as horribly negative, where Fraser is concerned. There are sparks (and a breathtaking kiss) on their very first meeting in this book, but Rowan just seems determined to disagree with everything Fraser does. Given what we find out later, some of that is no particular surprise, but her abrasive negativity just comes on a little too strong in the early going, which makes it hard for the reader to identify with her–which is, I believe, one of the goals of the genre.
Fraser, for his part, is almost too suave, too-well put-together; one wonders if anything–even a cranky hellcat like Rowan–can ruffle his feathers. It’s not until the home stretch that we really get into his head much, at all; this book is almost-entirely told from Rowan’s viewpoint.
The story here is pretty interesting; as the tropes allude to, Rowan was resident in an orphanage and foster homes for many years, which shapes her attitudes about a lot of things–most importantly, herself, and her worthiness for a good relationship. Fraser’s housekeeper helps bring her around some, and that is the catalyst for getting our protagonists together.
There’s one scene where things start to get a little steamy, but no sex happens in the course of this book–wouldn’t be proper! But the descriptions of the makeouts that Rowan and Fraser get into are pretty darn hot, all on their own, and watching Rowan go through some interesting mental gymnastics about the matter makes it even moreso.
Given that Kerry Allyne wrote thirty books for Harlequin (from the late 1970s through 1991), I wouldn’t dismiss this author out of hand; I’d like very much to see another few of her works, to see if she’s an author I can get into. This story took a while to grab me, but it was just enough to make me wonder what other goodies by this author I can dig up.