Review copy provided by publisher
Harlequin Mira, May 2013
Synopsis- Sometimes one look is all it takes.
Chloe Peterson has vowed never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Her reasons are as vivid as the bruises on her cheek. So when her car skids off a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced the gorgeous guy who rescues her must be too good to be true.
As a successful international photographer, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women. He’s satisfied with his life until he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley.
With every loving look and every sinfully sweet caress the attraction between them sizzles, and Chloe can’t help but wonder if she’s met the man who may be the exception to her rule.
Review- The Look of Love is the first romance novel in The Sullivans series created by ambitious author, Bella Andre. This savvy author managed to secure digital rights to her independently published stories and gain the most well-known romance publisher’s (Harlequin) backing for print titles in her line. A series of romance novels promising handsome heroes and strong heroines that seemed to be in a similar vain to the popular Kowalski series by Shannon Stacey, I just couldn’t resist grabbing a digital copy via netgalley.
When Chloe Peterson’s car goes into a ditch while escaping the clutches of her abusive ex-husband, it’s the lucrative photographer Chase Sullivan who comes to her rescue. He offers her a room at his brother’s country guest house against the backdrop of a beautiful winery where he intends to work on a photo shoot. Chloe’s first reaction is to keep running as the last thing she intends to do is trust a man and allow herself to be seduced. Sensing her need for flight and to be in control, Chase treads gently and ultimately convinces her to stay at the guesthouse for a few days until her car is repaired and back on the road. However the sexual tension between them sizzles and isn’t hindered when Chloe and Chase walk into the guestroom to find a naked woman waiting for a special night with Chase. The tension between them is only exacerbated when Chase walks in on Chloe having a private moment in the bath tub. From then on it’s difficult for either of them to deny the rising attraction between them… even though they try to. With Chloe’s ex-husband on her tail and Chase discovering that lust can turn into love, the couple have a lot of challenges to overcome before realising their affair may have long-term prospects.
I was hooked into the first half of the story. I enjoyed their attraction and the few awkward scenes that occur early on between Chase and Chloe and I was eager to see how the romance plot would play out. However, once the couple succumb to their attraction and begin a sexual relationship, the story becomes a little hijacked with every other scene focusing on their sexual encounters. I could see the author tried to convey the emotional tie between them during these scenes, but it felt a little forced for me. Chloe’s predicament seemed slightly ingenuine. She’s fled from an abusive husband and then seems to have massive trust issues but then quite quickly becomes infatuated with Chase. But, she’s completely convinced they can only have a sexual relationship not an emotional, long-term relationship. Chase seemed to lack emotional depth too as apart from never having a serious relationship and deciding he wanted to have one with Chloe; there wasn’t much else in the way of conflict on his part. For a romance story, the weak conflict did let it down and was only intensified by the excessive use of sex scenes to display an emotional relationship.
While the first half of the book had me flipping through the pages quickly in anticipation of what was going to happen next, the second half lagged for me and let the story down. Though there are some similarities to Stacey’s Kowalski series (which I love) the marked difference for me was the emotional conflict and depth of the hero and heroine that is present in Stacey’s novels that didn’t quite get there in The Look of Love. I believe the Sullivan series has been quite successful with romance readers, so I am tempted to read the second book and give the series another try.
“I liked this”
The Look of Love can be purchased in print from Fishpond and other leading book retailers