Before I start this review, let me introduce you to the book's protagonists.
Darcy Denton is a waitress, and a deeply broke one at that. Growing up the illegitimate daughter of a drug-addicted prostitute, in and out of care and foster homes, she never had the chance for any decent schooling. Despite this, she's fiercely proud and determined to better herself; she never, ever wants to be anything like her own mother turned out. How she ended up seduced by a billionaire seems to be a bit of a mystery to Darcy herself, but she doesn't plan to let it change who she is.
Renzo Sabatini was apparently born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, considering the palatial family villa in Tuscany he takes Darcy to visit at one point in this book. He has literally everything he could ever want handed to him on a plate. However, when he was a kid his father ran off with his mother's best friend and this apparently Scarred Him For Life. No Woman Can Ever Be Trusted.
It doesn't seem occur to him that his father might have been SLIGHTLY to blame, as well.
Because you know, Renzo, lots of families split up when one of the parents has an affair. Lots of people end up in this situation. Most of them don't decide to treat every member of the opposite sex like complete scum because of it.
Can you tell which of the protagonists I have some sympathy for, here? Renzo treats Darcy like absolute crap. The book begins four months into their relationship and it's very clear that she is nothing more than a warm body he enjoys taking pleasure in. To her credit, Darcy isn't exactly happy with the situation; she realizes there is no future in it and starts making plans to move on, but Oh No. Renzo can't allow HER to be the one to call it quits. Everything has to be on HIS terms.
The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when Renzo was musing on Darcy's motives and the following line happened:
"Was she being deliberately naive or exceptionally clever?"
Or, you know, possibly COMPLETELY HONEST, Renzo? Because she has never been anything but, in all the months you've known her? Yeah, she doesn't talk about her background... but you made it clear you didn't want to know. When the final truth comes out, you do exactly what she'd feared, as well. You treat her like scum.
Later on, after Accidental Pregnancy happens (and accusations get hurled, because of course they do) Renzo buys Darcy a house. Admits that he misses being close to her (my God! An honest admission from him! There's a first!) and practically begs her to make love. She's missed him too (well, maybe she's just horny... pregnancy does that to you) and they make love.
The afterglow hasn't even faded when he accuses her of giving him sex in payment for the house.
Incredibly, she doesn't even slap him. I'd have gone to the kitchen, found a knife and stabbed him with it.
And THEN, as if I hadn't got ENOUGH reason to hate this book, Darcy somehow decides that It's All Her Fault. For not Trusting Renzo enough... to tell him her darkest secret when he was busy treating her like pond scum.
I somehow managed to get through Darcy grovelling publicly to Renzo and his horrific rejection. And then his (way too late, in my opinion) attempt to put himself in her shoes and realize that, oh, actually, he was the one at fault.
Frankly, in Darcy's place I'd have taken out a restraining order, not accepted his apology and let him back into her life. Why she decided she was In Lurve™ with him, I couldn't begin to fathom.
I'm reminded of the line "Cool motive. Still murder."
Renzo doesn't even have a decent motive, and he's still an asshole. A hero with this kind of utterly misogynistic attitude is completely abhorrent.
This harked back to some of the old 70's era Harlequins I grew up with, and not in a good way. I absolutely loathed it.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
If you really want to buy it (though I can't imagine why, after reading this review) it's released on February 21, and here's the Amazon link.