Favorite Lines: “Leading the way up the steep staircase to the hallway increased her tension. That short skirt meant if he looked up, she was hiding very little. She didn’t know if he did, but the thought made heat roll through her in waves.” (p. 27, egalley)
Socialite Bellina Mazzanti Forde was the ultimate party girl—until she disappeared with Byron Brantley five years ago. Determined to find his brother, Jonathan Brantley has tracked Lina to a café in Naples and demands answers. Certain she’s hiding something, Jonathan vows not to let Lina out of his sight until she agrees to help him, even if it takes all night. Though he doesn’t trust her, he can’t deny that he wants her—has always wanted her…
Happy in her new, simpler life, Lina didn’t want to be found. Now that the past has caught up with her in the form of the sexy tycoon, she’s torn between exploring the passion he arouses in her, and facing the secrets that caused her to flee New York.
The tension between them soon leads to a scorching affair, one they both know can’t last. But when their search for Byron finds them tangling with the mob, Jon and Lina learn they have no one to trust but each other…
Lynne Connolly popped onto my radar with her story about betrayal, lust and love: Learning to Trust. She is the author of over 40 books, but I hadn’t heard of her before I picked up an egalley of her work from Netgalley. The story is a contemporary romance (filled with erotic scenes), has a touch of suspense and features a former drug addict as its heroine.
I enjoyed meeting Lina the heroine. She was a former wild girl and druggie who decided to clean up her act and knew staying away from her family was the only way she’d remain an asset to society. We don’t know why she ran from America to Italy, only that she did.
Enter her former lover’s brother, Jonathan. He wants to find out where his brother disappeared to, as his brother left America with Lina. Jonathan was attracted to Lina, but after she hooked up with his brother he filed her in the off limits folder. His discovery that the two are no longer together makes it possible for him to explore Lina in more than one way.
As the two get to know one another, outside forces converge upon them and threaten the peace they find in each others arms. It seems random and I really didn’t get the point of it until the very end. Lina tries to ignore her past but she is forced to confront the issues which led her to flee America. I was disgusted with the description of Lina’s life with her mother, but I don’t think there was ever any adequate resolution to the events which shaped Lina into a drug user.
It felt like a tool to prevent me from thinking of the heroine as a spoiled little rich girl who was bored until she found drugs. I wanted more time with Lina, her mother, stepfather, stepbrother and lover. I guess I wanted a knock down, drag out fight. I wanted some type of acknowledgement that Lina’s suffering had been avenged. While there was a clear end to that plot line, it came too quick and was delivered too swiftly. I was left thinking that the darkness had been fluffed over.
Despite not being enthralled with several aspects of the book, I am a character driven reader. I like the idea of an imperfect heroine redeeming herself and then finding a partner to share her life with. She didn’t need someone to fix her; she did it on her own. She wanted companionship and found a man who understood and accepted both her and her baggage. Her man was willing to support her without trying to take over and rule her. He was passionate, as well as compassionate. He was a genuine “good guy” which the heroine needed in her life.
While I don’t see myself rereading Learning to Trust any time soon, I’ve got to give the author props for the well written sex scenes. The story is a short, easy to read romance which I visualized in my mind. This became especially true when I noticed a scene which reminded me of Pretty Woman. I love that movie, so it put a smile on my face.