When the Italian Count Alessio is caught with a married woman, his Aunt decides to blackmail him with the information... but what does she want? She wants him to seduce his cousin's girlfriend away from the cousin to put an end to the relationship... The Aunt is a pretty nasty villian and she doesnt' like the girlfriend because the Aunt is pretty much a snob and the girlfriend has humble beginnings basicly.
I liked this book because the hero was a bit different from some hero's.... He started out doing a bad thing, (shagging a married woman) but really feels bad for how he has acted it in the end, (falling in love with ther heroine sort of makes him want to be a better person I thing) He is never portrayed as ruthless really like a lot of Harlequin Present's hero's are.
For handsome Italian count Alessio Ramontella, seducing women comes as naturally as breathing. Alessio lives his life based on two criteria: first that success and satisfaction are guaranteed, and second that all his dealings are discreet and conducted between mutually consenting parties.
Then he meets innocent English beauty Laura Mason. She's sweet, temptingand off-limits. Alessio must decide: should he ruthlessly pursue Laura until she gives in?
This was a good and quick read.
Unusually, this Harlequin Presents opens from the hero's point of view. Alessio is an Italian count; in bed in his apartment in Rome with a married lady, and already regretting his entanglement. Then, his wicked witch of an aunt arrives on his doorstep, and makes him regret it even more. She blackmails him into helping her break up a most unsuitable romance between her son Paulo and an English girl.
What neither of them know is that the heroine, Laura, is in Italy under false pretences: she's agreed to play at being Paulo's fiancee in order to help him escape an arranged marriage, and to earn a bit of money.
After wading through some subpar Harlequins, I really appreciated this setup. It showed more imagination than the typical, "hero somehow manipulates heroine to sleep with him to save her father/brother/family from ruin", average Harlequin plot. Also, one of the story's strengths is that the viewpoint of the hero is given equal time with the POV of the heroine; he's as conflicted as she is about their mutual attraction, and it gives balance to the story to see the hero's inner conflict, too. Again, this makes for an untypical Harlequin.
The characters are well-rounded, although the heroine is just a wee bit tarred with martyrdom's brush (can't have a Harlequin without that!) but fortunately just a little. And the story is not without humor (the blackmailing aunt and her slimy son are a hoot). It really moves along, propelled by sex appeal and the above-average plot. It's a solid, well-constructed Harlequin, with an (ultimately) sincere, sexy hero, and a heroine I for once don't want to clock over the head.