Review of LAST RESORT: MARRIAGE by Pamela Stone (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1267, July 2009
Charlotte Harrington is content managing her Florida Keys resort hotel and lusting after sexy charter boater Aaron Brody from afar--until her granfather arrives, announces it's time for her to marry and bringing her slimy ex-boyfriend in tow. Charlotte doesn't know how to handle the presure her grandfather delivers until Aaron happens to walk in to the office. In a brainstorm, she announces she can't marry the evil Perry because she's engaged to Aaron. A hasty marriage of convenience involving a loan to pay for Aaron's needed boat repairs is the result but Perry won't go away and he's convinced Charlotte is faking the marriage.
At the start, Charlotte is faking the marriage but it doesn't take long before she realizes she's falling in love with her husband. Normally, that wouldn't be so bad, but Aaron has slept with most of the women in the Keys, seems to be waiting for the moment they can divorce, and is, according to Perry, involved in dope smuggling. When things start going wrong at the hotel, Charlotte is forced to depend on Perry more and more...but she wondered if it's coincidence that everything went fine until he arrived.
In her debut novel with Harlequin American Romance, author Pamela Stone delivers a charming update to the much-loved marriage of convenience hook. Aaron, with his handsome looks, his concern for others, and his troubled history, makes for an intriguing and different hero. Charlotte will gain reader sympathy with her conflicted need to please her grandfather and save the family hotel chain, to create a form of independence for herself, and to allow herself to achieve the type of marriage she's dreamed of.
Stone's writing involves the reader in the story and the relationship between Aaron and Charlotte evolves organically, with the external plot element of Perry's sabotage both driving them together and creating roadblocks that keep them from fully trusting one another. Pamela Stone is a welcome addition to the Harlequin American author lineup.
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