A Cold Creek Reunion (Harlequin Special Edition) - RaeAnne Thayne
By far the worst part of this book was the heroine. Everything she said I wanted to kick her in the head. I really don't understand the narrative of this book positioning her as sympathetic or the aggrieved party. I mean, is it just me: Ten years ago, after years of being friends then lovers, Lauren and Taft were set to get married. A week before the wedding she broke off the engagement and took off for Madrid. For some reason he agreed to say it was a mutual decision. Turns out, six months prior his parents had been brutally murdered in their home. He was having a hard time dealing with his grief so he closed up. Went to the bar a lot, apparently flirted with girls there. He never did anything with them. Lauren got mad that he shut her out and wouldn't postpone the wedding and that's why she broke up with him. At this point I was put out with her. Everything she was saying was that she was pissed at him for not making his grief about her. To her it was about what she wanted and wasn't getting and so she broke his heart on top of everything else and ran away. Then later she reveals through her POV, with some "not that he ever shared this with her" snide whining, that it wasn't just that his parents were murdered. He came home right after it happened, saw his father dead and his mother bleeding to death on the floor. When the paramedics arrived he was covered in his mother's blood from giving her CPR, but she couldn't be revived. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! He went through that and within six months you ditch him all because he didn't make it about you?! You couldn't give him more time than that? That just screamed "heartless bitch" to me. At some point she said if he were willing to postpone the wedding she might have stuck around. So she put her foot down and broke up with him, but didn't put her foot down about the wedding? What the hell? She even says she knew he was angry, bitter, and lost in deep grief. And it never occurred to her that maybe he closed up to protect her from his anger and the horror of what he'd been through. It doesn't sound like she tried to help him, or get through to him. Just expected him to know what she wanted and left when he didn't give it to her. She called herself silly and naive then, that she was stupid to believe in love, and he broke her heart. Never once was it brought up what she did to him. Not once. How it must have been for him lost in that grief and losing the love of his life. And for some reason he kept apologizing and feeling guilty about the past and she never once did. She was painted as the victim. Especially because once she left him and the country he started drowning his grief and heartbreak in women. Something that she kept using against him like a spear throughout the book. Saying stupid things like she can't trust him with her and her kids because he'll decide he doesn't want it again, and miss his partying lifestyle. What the hell? Just, what? When they see each other again she starts out being nasty to him, and continues. He's nothing but sweet to her and the kids and she's just rude and mean. She was the victim, right. Of course. He said he should have gone after her when she left but he wasn't the man he is now then or something like that. And I was like, no, you were in the throes of profound grief and not in the right place to know what to do. That wasn't on you. But she says, 'yeah, if you had even called or emailed I would have come right back.' What? OH, MY GOD. SHUT UP. And I hate that he stuck to that "mutual decision" lie. I really wanted his family on his side. Not one person in this book was on his side. That made me even madder. Lauren kept saying how she was weak and pathetic then. She was, but not in the way she thinks. Quite frankly her shitty marriage was karma for the way she treated Taft. She got knocked up by a guy she didn't love, and married him anyway, then had another kid. He kept things from her like she accused Taft of doing and why she left him, except Javier did it for everything. Including all his women on the side. She said a few times that she never loved him, even once wondered if she had tried harder to love him he wouldn't have run around with all those other women and he'd still be alive (he died while boating with one of them). Then, when she suddenly realized she loves Taft and never stopped she was all, 'I loved Javier. Of course I did. I wouldn't have married him otherwise.' What?! Since when?? That was a 180 degree turnaround from what she was saying before. She doesn't know what she's talking about or what she feels. She's not stronger or smarter. She's just as stupid as the girl who ran out on her fiancé when he needed her most because it wasn't easy and about her. I don't remember the last time I hated a heroine this much.I liked Taft, but he made me mad because he took all the blame for the past on himself and in my opinion he shouldn't have. He took all her unwarranted anger and the unearned barbs she threw at him, and all I wanted to do was yell at him to find someone worthy of his love. I didn't get why he felt anything for her.And then in the end it skips over them reconnecting in any way. She pushes him away, is nasty to him, and does her best hurt him any way she can no matter how sweet he is, so there was never any of them getting to know the people they are now. But that all changes based on an over the top situation She leaves the kids alone by the creek for a minute and they fall in, Taft risks his life, against all protocol, to save them. Then, of course, she loves him without reservation and they can be together. Cue my heavy sighs and eye rolls. The character I liked most was little Maya. This was probably one of the best treatments of a kid with Downs Syndrome I've read. It wasn't continually brought up, she was treated as any other child. Though I didn't like the couple of times Laura referred to her as "fragile" and "vulnerable", but like I said, everything she said made me want to harm her. Especially after she used it as a reason to tear into Taft when he was going on about how adorable and lovable Maya is. "Don't you pity her!" Uh, he wasn't. He was loving her. Idiot.I really wish the backstory between Taft and Laura had been different and she hadn't been so awful. I liked the rest of the book enough to have wanted to like the story.