Monday, April 12, 2010

Married Under the Mistletoe by Linda Goodnight

One of my favorites in the Brides of Bella Lucia series. with each book in the series i can't wait to pick up the next one. this is the first one where the valentine relative has a male lead.

Daniel Stephens had recently learned that he is the illegitimate son of the Valentines of the Bella Lucia restaurants in the UK. He has spent the majority of his life trying to solve the water shortage problems in countries such as Ethiopia. unfortunately whenever things start to look good for a project the funds run dry. He can only do so much and it feels as if the work he does is swallowed up as soon as he reaches completion. The projects can not be completed without money to fuel them . He decides to go to the UK and meet his father with the hope of gaining money to fuel his projects through the opening of his company. His father offers his the room in the flat above the restaurant he manages, along with the flat comes Stephanie Ellison which is informed to be happy about her impending flatmate.

Stephanie Ellison started working at the Bella Lucia restaurant only a few years ago in attempt to flee her past in Colorado. No one knows the past that she suffers and hides it well with sophistication and strength one would come to expect from someone in her position. She is well liked and has made a success of the flagship location where she manages. Turning the restaurant into the new era leaving behind the old itialian decor and bringing in a new flair with contemporary design and art catered to the sophisticated class. She was given free range in decorating and renewing the restaurant to appeal to it's customers. He efforts have helped the restaurant ten fold, but who really know who she is?

Behind her she left a history of abuse from the monster of a man she later learned wasn't her natural father and opened her eyes to the nightmares yet to come. Scarred from shoulder to mid thigh she hides from her secret shame for her last boyfriend could not handle the horrors of her past which translated to her as unlovable and disgraceful in the eyes of others.

Stephen never allowed him self to have a serious relationship. He allowed him self to enjoy his share of women but due to his upbringing he was raised believing that he himself was unlovable and unable to give or receive love in return. So it comes as a shock when he starts to care for Stephanie and puts it off as nothing but genuine compassion and not love.

Stephanie always held herself away from the opposite sex because of the horrors of her past but from the beginning she felt a connection with Stephen. They both had suffered abuse though his was not physical she was able to relate to him and fell hard and fast for him allowing her love to blossom , which she never thought possible after the things that she was subjected to .

is it possible for them to both put their past behind them and open up truly to love? Can Stephen realize what he has before him before it is too late?