Wildest Hearts, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Monday, December 22, 2003

I spent my Saturday morning reading an old favourite, Wildest Hearts, by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Annie Lyncroft knew her scheme was outrageous. She'd come to the elegant penthouse to meet Oliver Rain, the richest and possibly the most dangerous man in the Pacific Northwest. Annie needed this sensual, secretive corporate maverick for what she was about to propose. Marriage!

With her brother Danny missing after a mysterious plane crash, Annie is struggling to protect his hot electronics company from the sharks who think he's not coming back. But fanciful, ethical Annie -- who usually runs a bizarre bric-a-brac shop knows Danny's alive, and she's determined to keep his company safe by putting his biggest investor at the helm.

When Oliver actually says yes to the marriage of convenience, Annie dreamily envisions a few platonic weeks of helping him become a sensitive New Age guy. Oliver has a different plan; his cold, gorgeous eyes have been watching Annie, and he sees his chance to seduce the beautiful schemer. Love is the wild card destined to teach these two strong-willed opposites a lesson: icy control might run the business world, but all hell is about to break loose in the passionate territory of the heart.
Nice, comfortable read. Very JAK. A B+.

These characters were definitely familiar, but I enjoyed them very much. Oliver was the typical JAK "ascetic monk" hero, dangerous, seemingly cold, a loner; in fact, Annie actually describes him much like this at one point. As always, it was lovely seeing him thaw a bit with the woman he fast started to love.

Annie, too, was a trademark JAK heroine, the kind who completely refuses to believe the bent on revenge hero will do anything but the right thing. Always perky, always optimistic, and still not a shallow, frivolous character.

Their relationship was wonderful to read about, full of the witty banter and sense of emotion and intimacy that JAK does so well, and did especially well in the books she wrote around the same time she wrote this one. I loved the love scenes, btw, especially Annie's efforts to make Oliver lose a bit of that iron control over himself.

I actually liked the marriage of convenience plot, usually not a favourite in contemporaries. What made it work was that it made sense that it would help save Annie's brother's business, and also, that both of them went into it knowing that they were very attracted to the other.

Unusually for a JAK book, I actually found the suspense subplot interesting, though I wasn't exactly disappointed that it was kept very much in the background.

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