Natalie Holcomb is used to the wealthy-socialite life; it’s what she was raised on, after all. Not, mind you, that she likes it–she left her family, put herself through law school, and is climbing her way to the top in a prestigious New York firm, rather than stay with the family business. But she’s good enough at it to help her friend Liza put on a great party–and there she meets Jake Lannister. There’s late-night coffee, and and early-morning fling..and then, they make an arrangement.
Neither of these two souls thinks they have time or desire for anything long-term, and they both travel a good bit with their work. Jake’s proposal is simple: when their paths cross, they meet up. No strings, no commitments. It seems, at first, like a perfect arrangement. Both of them get to enjoy the best sex they’ve ever had, and don’t have to commit or worry about what anyone else thinks. But given how much they enjoy their little trysts, we are unsurprised when they start falling for each other. Rather predictably, both of them don’t want to mess up their arrangement by mentioning it to the other.
This is a more-complex tale than I would normally expect from Harlequin Blaze; the protagonists not talking to each other is, in fact, not the main point of conflict that brings us toward a happy ending. Both Jake and Natalie are being shoved along in their lives by forces that are not readily apparent at the outset, but that they must eventually come to grips with. Jake is a troubleshooter for his family cattle operation, but really would rather be at the ranch, a little more settled, while Natalie is resisting her family’s insistence that she join in the family business, which–especially when compared with what she learns from Googling around Jake’s business–feels a little shallow to her. The way that’s all dealt with, toward the end of the book, is very solidly done, much moreso than I am used to for this line.
That’s not to say that Her Secret Thrill doesn’t live up to the Harlequin Blaze line, oh, no! The lovemaking in this book is white-hot, with nice tense build-ups followed by steamy, explicit times alone in the bedroom. Natalie and Jake love to get each other all worked up, as their escapades show when they meet up on the road, then break the tension with unreal headboard-banging, sweaty-bedsheets, screaming-your-name sex!
I enjoyed Her Secret Thrill a lot. In it, we find a wonderfully fun love affair, with two people who are easy to understand and get into, who have situations that they must handle–and they do, skillfully, to bring things to a very happy ending with no loose ends left over. It’s an easy read, and a good one.