The Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter

The Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter
The Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter
{link url=”http://www.fishpond.com.au/advanced_search_result.php?ref=866&&keywords=man+she+loves+to+hate+kelly+hunter”}The Man She Loves To Hate{/link} by Kelly Hunter

Mills & Boon conventions aside—yes, he’s a tycoon, she’s totally hot and they don’t use a condom—the heroine and hero of this book are rarely predictable. I only wish it could have been longer.

I don’t know why I didn’t discover Australian author Kelly Hunter sooner because she writes bloody good books.

Jolie Tanner has just removed all of her mother’s possessions from her mother’s recently deceased lover’s hideaway, when she’s caught in an avalanche with the dead lover’s son, Cole. Cole and Jolie used to be friends, but when news of his father’s dalliance with her mother became public ten years ago, Jolie was shunned and she’s borne the stigma of being a mistress’s daughter ever since.

As you do in a blizzard, Jolie and Cole share quite a bit of body heat, and what’s supposed to be a we’re-half-asleep-and-aroused-so-let’s-just-take-the-edge-off kiss ends up in unprotected sex that’s only partially mitigated by the fact that Cole isn’t a shirker and Jolie isn’t stupid enough to have sex without any form of birth control.

Before I go on, let me say that it puzzles—nay, pains—me to read that ‘hot seed spilled deep inside’ the heroine at the climax of a sex scene, and then two pages later, when she’s having second thoughts, to learn that ‘her panties [were] wet with [the hero’s] semen’. I’m uncertain of the rules for when one ought to expect euphemisms in a Mills & Boon novel. Is ‘semen’ considered more sordid than ‘seed’?

Anyway. Moving on.

Cole and Jolie aren’t complete idiots, and despite the hash their parents made of their relationships, they continue to see and enjoy each other in secret. Eventually, though, they have to see if they can be together in the real world. Cole’s family is incensed and his mother takes drastic measures to manipulate Cole into ending the affair.

What makes Hunter a fabulous Mills & Boon author is that she refuses to let Jolie play the martyr. Jolie’s shyness is the reason she can’t cope with her mother’s—and by extension her—notoriety, but she does well enough to stand up for herself in front of one or two people.

Hunter also avoids the Big Misunderstanding cliché. Cole and Jolie know in their hearts that their relationship is special, and even when they’re derailed by a judgemental housekeeper or a needy sister, they fight for their right to that relationship. It’s really quite wonderful.

I wish this had been a full-length novel, because many of the secondary characters’ conflicts and relationships are interesting, too; instead, Hunter compromises by making the secondary characters less nuanced than they could have been.

And is it just me, or does Hunter love the warrior hero? Cole’s not a martial arts expert and the story is set in New Zealand’s South Island, but somehow Hunter manages to evoke the fierce warrior without it sounding too uncool or out of place. Much.

Hunter’s prose isn’t always smooth, but at times I was moved so deeply by this book. There’s a particular moment when, for a few seconds, I was reminded of my favourite author. I was a little stunned.

‘Ask me what I dream of, Jolie. Ask me where I go when I close my eyes at night.’

‘I’m not sure I want to know.’

Wary, and so she should be, given the chaos she caused in him. Cole stepped in close and bent his head so that his lips brushed the hair at her temple. ‘…just for the record, when I close my eyes at night I think of greedy lips and silken skin and blinding passion the likes of which I’ve never felt before. Ask me where I go each night, Red.’

Grey eyes, wide and startled. A mouth made for kisses; not one kiss but more.

‘Where?’ she whispered and it was a supplicant’s murmur and it magnified the heat deep inside him a hundredfold.

‘I come to you.’

Delish.

One last thing. I love the look and feel of the Riva line (check out the cover below). The actual book feels lovely, too.

Yay or nay?

Mills & Boon conventions aside—yes, he’s a tycoon, she’s totally hot and they don’t use a condom—the heroine and hero of this book are rarely predictable. I only wish it could have been longer.

Who might enjoy it: Readers who expect their heroes and heroines to act like adults

Who might not enjoy it: Sticklers for safe sex

The Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter - Australian editionThe Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter - UK editionThe Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter - US edition

Title: The Man She Loves To Hate (excerpt)
Author: Kelly Hunter
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Australia (Sexy): 9781742907444 (5/2011)
UK (Riva): 9780263883732 (4/2011)
US (Presents): 9780373881918 (8/2011)

AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Booku | Fishpond | Mills & Boon | Romance Direct | Other
WORLDWIDE: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository | eHarlequin | Library

13 comments

  1. helene says:

    I love Kelly Hunter’s stories. Her heros and heroines are really predictable, her dialogue sizzles and the depth of emotion she weaves into the stories is wonderful – especially in such short books! I’d love to see her in single title length exploring all the possibilities of the secondary characters.

  2. Kat says:

    Kelly — Oops! I fixed the link. It’s Melina Marchetta, and that bit I quoted from your book reminded me of On The Jellicoe Road. And I should be thanking you for the run of lovely books I’ve read in the past month. :D

  3. Kelly Hunter says:

    I’ve not read Melina Marchetta, but I read a review of The Piper’s Boy and popped it on the to-buy list. I’ve been waiting for it to come out in paperback. Is that a good place to start?

  4. Jen says:

    Loving all your Hunter reviews, Kat. She is my favourite category author, hands down. Her characters are never asinine idiots—to be blunt—which is so refreshing! Was so starry-eyed at ARRC when I spoke to her.

    And I initially didn’t like the Riva design but it’s really grown on me—the cover stock and print finish is very sleek and seductive. ;)

  5. Kat says:

    Kelly — It’s the most adult of her books, I think. I loved it. But the bit I quoted from your book reminded me of On The Jellicoe Road, which many would probably consider her best work so far.

    Jen — Thanks, Jen. It’s just as well I hadn’t read her work before ARRC because I’m a totally dork when talking to author crushes. I like some of the Riva designs, but there’s another Hunter book (review to be posted soon) where the cover had nothing to do with the story at all.

What do you think?