This book has a premise that you don’t find so often which is exactly what made me want to read it. The hero used to be a national hero, but everything came crashing down when his infidelity was publicly displayed for the entire world to see. So yes, interesting premise, but also a tricky one, I honestly thought this was going to be a train wreck. I’m glad –and surprised- to say that against all odds, and because of a great talent, Ms. Doyle managed to make it work.
Gabby Haines used to be a local talk show host. But age and a few pounds got her fired. Now she’s trying to pick up the pieces of her life and start over, but starting over means working as a junior editor at a publishing house, so she goes from interviewing Kevin Bacon to making coffee. However, her luck is about to improve when the biggest opportunity of her new career is presented to her: getting Jamison Hunter to finally agree to write the autobiography he signed to do years ago.
Jamison Hunter became a hero after saving the International Space Station from being destroyed. Instead, what was destroyed were his life and hero-status, when it was discovered that he was a cheating bastard. Now, eight years later, he lives alone as a recluse in a secluded island and the only thing bothering him is the publishing house insisting he writes the biography he agreed to do just before the scandal.
When Gabby shows at Jamison’s door he is both annoyed and attracted, but he kicks her out because regardless of how appealing she may be, he won’t write the book. But Gabby is tenacious and slowly but steadily wears him down, she can’t get him to agree to the book, but she is starting to see the real man behind the scandal and wonders how such a great guy could have done something so terrible.
Gabby was a very conflicted heroine and had huge self-worth issues. She was fired from her job for being fat and old, her father left her when she was little and her fiancé cheated on her with her half-sister. She was warded and obsessed with her weight, and she hates cheaters. So it came as a big surprise when she found herself falling for the most infamous cheater in the country. I liked her very much even if at first I was a bit weary of her mostly because she kept complaining about her weight which became annoying very fast. But she had a huge reason to be that way so her weight wasn’t an excuse for the hero to talk about how gorgeous she was and how he loved luscious women. She goes from insecure to confident and driven, so her character experiences a huge change throughout the book.
Jamison, on the other hand, had already learned from his past, and his journey was about convincing Gabby that he is a different man, as well as forgiving himself. One of the reasons he worked so well regardless of the infidelity, was because he was older, so he had time for growth and atonement and his transformation happened after years instead of just a few days. He was 45-years-old and it was painfully obvious that this wasn’t the same guy who cheated on his wife all those years ago.
This book is about accepting what you are, what you’re not, and deciding if that’s enough to trust and be with someone you love, because sometimes love isn’t enough and if you can’t trust the person you love there’s no way you will enjoy a healthy and happy relationship. Gabby had to accept that she wasn’t a lesser person just because she lost her job. She had to accept that just because her father left and her fiancé cheated on her, it didn’t mean that she didn’t deserve love, but first she had to stop being afraid and she had to let herself trust. Jamison, on the other hand, had already accepted his mistakes and realized that he needed to forgive himself as much as he needed his wife’s forgiveness.
I really loved this novel. It’s full of surprises, the ending was filled with twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and the hero was just as unexpected. I know cheating heroes are not particularly popular among romance readers, so the reader must walk alongside Gabby on her journey to believe and trust Jamison. If you like contemporary romance I’m sure you will enjoy this book, it was fresh, interesting, sexy and fun.
NOTE: I bought this book directly from Harlequin and I didn’t realize that it won’t be available at other retailers until April 1st. If you can’t wait, you can order it directly here.
Review by Brie
Starting over sounds good...in theory!
The reality? Well, Gabriella Haines isn't enjoying that so much. Once a top-rated TV host, suddenly becoming the junior editor at a publishing house isn't playing to her strengths. She does have one chance to fast-forward a few career steps, however. If she can manage the impossible? convincing former American hero Jamison Hunter to finish the autobiography he owes them.
Too bad he's resistant to all her tactics. Worse, that little star crush Gabby had on him before his downfall? She isn't quite as over it as she thought. In fact, the more she knows the real him, the more she wants to uncover the truth about what happened. Because restoring him in the public eye may be the best chance they have at a future together.
Harlequin. April 1, 2012.