Parker's Price
by Ann Bruce, contemporary (2010)
Carina Press, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-4268-9013-0


If the hero Dean Maxwell in Parker's Price were Greek or Spanish, Harlequin would have purchased this book and smacked a title like Bought For Pleasure By The Greek Billionaire on the cover. Perhaps it is because the hero is a mere American that this book is published by Carina Press instead, heh. After all, there are plenty of elements here that would see this book comfortably fitting in in the Harlequin Presents line.

Our very, very, very wealthy hero Dean Maxwell is in a charity auction for the usual reasons when he spots our heroine Parker Quinn who is helping to organize the auction. Every nerve in his body goes into alpha male dry humping mode. Parker however remains less than receptive to his initial advances. The reason Parker is telling him to vamoose is because she believes that he knocked up her sister and then refused to play the responsible father. Of course, it's never as easy as telling Dean, "Don't call my name, I'm not your babe. Don't wanna kiss! Don't wanna touch!" He has a private island, after all. In addition, some mild romantic suspense plot will help drive Parker further into a clinch with Parker. Alejandro, Fernando, Roberto, whatever. Dean Maxwell is hot like Mexico, so rejoice!

Dean is a standard bossy and arrogant hero who leans on the heroine, charges past the barriers she has put up between them, and shags her until she sighs and swoons. Parker is said to be someone who likes to be in control, but here she can't stand up to Dean at all. I'd think she would try harder to say no, especially when she believes that he is the baby daddy of her sister's kid, and she believes Dean too easily for my liking when he denies being the daddy. I can't help getting this impression that she lets his pretty looks get in the way of any common sense that she may have.

Still, Parker's Price is devoid of silly bickering or juvenile depictions of Whore/Madonna syndrome that often mar a typical Harlequin Presents book. The prose is clean and engaging. All in all, it's really not a bad read at all. It's just that I wish the author had done something a little bit more to prevent this story from being predictable.

Rating: 75


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