The third book in the Men: Made in America series, published in 1984. I have the original Mira book, the small cover.
Call it business
With the cool finesse of a successful businesswoman, Heather Strand negotiated her marriage. Ready to assume control of her family’s Tucson resort, she wanted one man at her side – Jake Cavender. It was a calculated deal, pure and simple, one that would be profitable for both. Nothing stood in the way of their successful partnership.
Call it pleasure
Except betrayal. Now she’s leveraging and impromptu buyout – leaving her groom standing at the altar. Heather is not a woman willing to relinquish the upper hand, especially to a man who’s getting under her skin and awakening in her something she lost long ago. A man who wants her on his terms.
Call it destiny
Storyteller extraordinaire Jayne Ann Krentz weaves a dramatic tale of a modern woman forced to confront her heart and her identity, who suddenly finds herself walking a tightrope between ambition and passion, dreams and desires.
When Heather was 18, she left her parents behind, and ran away on her motorcycle and a bad boyfriend to California. She would make it on her own. She dearly loves her parents, but their choices are not her own. The boyfriend left with her motorcycle, leaving her stranded on the highway. But she did get to California, got a job and a college education, and made her own way in the hotel business. And now, at 29, she is ready to come home, and take over her father’s resort. And she will marry the man he wants her to marry, financial wizard Jake Cavender. A marriage of convenience, with her in power, as he will still be kind of working for her.
She is compliant to her parents and Jake’s wishes, not getting into business yet, but focusing on getting to know Jake and arranging their wedding. He really wants to push the physical side of their relationship, but somehow she is still wary of him, and refuses to sleep with him yet. And he promises not to push her, even after they are married. But on the evening before her wedding, Heather is restless and goes to the office to be on her own a bit. Away from all the wellmeaning family and friends. But going through the papers in what will be her office tomorrow, she is shocked. Her father has sold the resort to Jake 6 months ago! He will be the one in charge of everything, making the major decisions, not her! How could they betray her like this? They knew she though to come back to take over for her father!
So the next morning, she gets out of her wedding finery after sending away her mother and sisters, and dresses again in biker gear, borrowing the motorbike of one of the staff, and goes to church like that. And in hearing of all the guests and family, she tells Jake the wedding is off, as she has found out the truth after all, and she takes of.
Unfortunately, there is no quick flight out of Tucson, so she checks into a hotel near the airport. Then her roomdoor is thrown open and in walks Jake. He has cancelled her flight, got the key to her room from the reception, and tells her his point of view. If he had not deceived her, she would never have married him. And now he has come to claim his wedding night, and take her home to her parents the next morning, as he promised them he would. He won’t listen to Heather, just overpowers her, and makes her body want him in return. I still do call that rape.
The next morning, Heather is calmer, and even believes she loves him, but she wants some time alone to think it over. And to her own surprise, he lets her leave for her fathers cabin up in the mountains for a few days. Finally there, a nasty surprise arrives. Her ex-boyfriend is using the cabin for shady deals, and he threatens to shoot her if she doesn’t go with him to Mexico after his next deal. When Jake does show up (of course he cannot leave her alone for more than a few hours!) he has her turn him away, or he will kill Jake. And so Heather convinces Jake to leave her, but instead, he safes her and they have to flee from the cabin and the fastrising water. They save each other’s lives, and Heather tells Jake she loves him. But Jake is not capable of love, having never had any in his life before. And when he can’t commit like that to her, she won’t marry him. A new battle of wills between them starts.
My thoughts: at first, I really liked Heather. She was a self-made businesswoman, who got what she wanted on her own terms. She is very lively, and charms her guests and personnel easily. She is also a hard working woman, and she has earned everything she has herself.
But she forgave Jake way too fast, especially after he forced her to react to his “lovemaking”. He wants her to surrender herself to his will completely. Do you fall in love with a man who betrays you like that? And later, the resort is no longer important to her, or who will be in charge (not her), she only wants his love.
Okay, okay, the book was written in 1984, when men really acted like that. They were in charge, and the woman had to be nice and agree to everything.
I could not fall for Jake. He was good with figures, and her parents and other family like him, but he is not a people person. The personnel is wary around him, as he always stays aloof. He keeps manipulating Heather, even signing the prenup she gives him, because in reality, it is all in his own favor, and not in hers. She thought to protect herself, and instead, gave it all away.
Jake grew up with a drunk as a mother, and no father, going from fosterhome to fosterhome. He is also a self-made man, but he has no softer qualities. He cannot understand why Heather lived her life the hard way instead of accepting everything her parents could have given her. He thinks she threw their love away, and has forfeited her inheritage, he has worked at the resort for the last two years and has put a lot of his time and own money in it. He just wants to marry Heather because she can give him the home he wants, and a closer tie to her parents. She is also great with people and the resort really needs her. He complains about how his mother and foster mothers and ex-wife never loved him, so he doesn’t believe in the feeling. But he also didn’t love his ex-wife in return, so why he is surprised, no idea. He was totally inflexible, and didn’t know how to compromise or even give a little. He had to have it all on his terms. If was fine that she loved him, he enjoyed hearing those words, but love was nonsense. Now, if she just safe that fire for in their bedplay …
All in all, what started out as a good book, really irritated me from the halfway part till the end. I know, that is the risk with reading those old books. Heather could have fought a little harder, and Jake sure is a caveman.
I still love the writing style, so fluent, and full of humor and also some suspense with that ex-boyfriend stuff.