Three reasons to keep away from Cole Rees…Do you think that it is possible to overdose on an author's books? If it is then I am in serious danger because this is the seventh Kelly Hunter book I have read in the last four days.
1. My mom had a scorching affair with his dad—just think how awkward that "meet the family" would be…
2. His arrogance drives me mad—he might be a gorgeous billionaire, but I hate how he knows it!
3. Every time he touches me I go up in flames…and it's utterly terrifying.
Come on, a fling with the man I love to hate? Like that would ever work out…
When she was teenager, Jolie Tanner was best friends with Hannah Rees and she had a huge crush on Hannah's delicious older brother Cole. She thought that they were inseparable until, in the course of one day, the friendship was ripped apart and her life was changed forever. Not only was she not friends with Hannah anymore but all the other kids had turned away from her as well. When Jolie went home to her mother that day she found out why - Cole and Hannah's dad had been having an affair with her mum.
Fast forward through the years and Jolie has become adept at wearing the various masks that she employs to both hide her shyness but also to protect herself from the assumptions and insults that have been made about and to her, most of which assume that she has loose morals just like her mother before her.
Now, James Rees has died and Jolie is returning to his mountain top cabin to collect her mother's belongings, removing evidence of the liaison between the two that lasted more than twelve years. Little does she know that Cole is also up the mountain saying goodbye in his own way to the father he loved and admired, but who he also couldn't understand when it came to the decisions he made about his wife, mistress and children.
There is a blizzard coming in, and when Jolie and Cole end up sharing the last gondola of the day, the last thing Jolie wants is for him to recognise her and she tries to hide her identity from him. When the blizzard worsens, they are stranded in the gondola and they suddenly find themselves in a life and death situation where the past doesn't matter anywhere near as much as managing to find safety and stay alive.
For a relatively short book, this book covers a lot of ground. Not only do our main couple have to deal with the snow and ice, but they have their own misconceptions about each other, the rumours spread by others, a hostile business situation for Cole, mostly instigated by his bitter mother, as well as finding a way to balance their two lives. Cole has a successful business life in Queenstown and Jolie lives and works in Christchurch as an artist. She knows that he needs someone who can be a proper business wife, and he thinks she can do it, but she knows that with a past like her mothers and the not necessarily true rumours that swirl around her she is being unfair to Cole to keep the relationship going.
You just know that when a woman makes a list of reasons as to why they shouldn't be with a particular man that is exactly what is going to happen though. The list above that forms the cover blurb makes it sound as though this could be written in first person but it isn't. Both Cole and Jolie get ample page time for the reader to get to know them - to learn what is important to them and what makes them tick as people whether it be Cole's business dealing or Jolie's art (especially towards the end of the book where she pours all her heartbreak out into her pictures).
I have no idea if there is going to be another book featuring the other characters from this book. If so, I would love to see Hannah come undone just a little and meet the man who can thaw her out a whole lot. That thawing out process started in this book but there is still a whole lot more to go!
In closing, I would like to volunteer my services to the author as a location scout. So far in the books that I have read by Kelly Hunter the locations have included Singapore, London, the Greek Islands, Outback Australia and now this one which is set in New Zealand. I could totally help out with finding future locations!
Now I am off to scour my bookshelves because I know that I have one more Kelly Hunter book in my house that I haven't read yet. It's here somewhere!
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.