An obsession that blooms into scandal
Since childhood, Ryan Donally adored Rachel Bailey, though the brilliant, beautiful lass saw him as just another rowdy boy. The years pulled them apart, carrying Rachel to a place of responsibility and respect few women of her time enjoyed ... while Ryan ascended to undreamed-of heights of wealth and success, and bound his heart to another.
Now fate has brought them together once again -- and Rachel sees not the boy she once spurned, but a breathtaking man she desires. Yet Ryan has moved on and is unwilling to forgive, and Rachel hides a secret shame that could destroy everything she has worked for. Then, in one moment of unrestrained passion, the walls between them tumble, and the price they must pay is a marriage neither can afford. But will a sensuous fire too-long resisted bring tragedy ... or will it forge a glorious and undying love?
This is the third book in Melody Thomas' Donally Family series, following on from In My Heart and Must Have Been the Moonlight, and it was once again a good read.
Ryan has always been sweet on Rachel, but it seemed that she was more interested in his older brother. They have been partners for many years, without really having much to do with each other, but when they become rivals instead of partners because of some business decisions that Ryan has made, they begin to see each other in a different light.
With the novel being set in Victorian times, Rachel is a woman struggling to win respect in her chosen field of engineering on her own merits despite the restrictions of the time - and it is a struggle. Many of the plaudits for her schemes have gone to others because her name cannot be the headline name, but she is determined that she will be a success. Unfortunately Ryan's plans have put her own into jeopardy.
Once the two characters get together, the sparks fly, but neither side forgets the end aim even whilst falling in love. When they are forced to become even closer to each other by Ryan's priest brother, they then must decide what really is the most important thing to them.
I really liked Ryan. He was a ruthless business man, and could be quite aloof from most of his family at time, but he did seem to be quite a good father to his young daughter from his first marriage. His first wife had been Rachel's close friend, and that is another difficulty in the growing relationship because Rachel felt somewhat disloyal to her dead friend.
Overall this book was another enjoyable outing from this author. The setting could have almost been contemporary really, with all the mergers and takeovers and things - except for the fact that Rachel couldn't be the open leader of a job.
I now have the fourth and final book in the series on my bookshelf now, and I look forward to reading it, along with the new series that Melody Thomas is writing!