Shock: One-Night Heir
by Melanie Milburne, contemporary (2010)
Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.30, ISBN 978-0-263-87866-0


Shock: One-Night Heir has the same strengths or flaws - depending on how much you love the tropes of the Modern imprint - as the previous book in Melanie Milburne's The Sabbatini Brothers, Scandal: Unclaimed Love-Child. Hey, it's that same idiot chasing after the same imbecile! Only their names are changed and the premise of the story is somewhat different. Don't worry, the same dumb conflicts are present.

Giorgio Sabbatini and his wife Maya have been separated for six months. You see, Maya learned that he married her for convenience - he needed a wife and an heir, so he plucked her, a "penniless waif" as the story puts it, from the streets and deflowered her. Maya fled because, yes, Tina, love's got everything to do with it. She's right, that Maya: Giorgio really didn't love her at that time, and it is only late in the story that he realizes that he has fallen in love with her.

Which makes his antics in this story really creepy. Despite having been separated from the wife and allegedly shagging lingerie models left and right, he keeps making the moves on Maya. What is this? Since when is being a complete sex fiend part and parcel of being a romance hero? Oh, and of course, Maya is pregnant thanks to the Break-up Sex that took place before this story opens. Despite trying to get into the panties of the woman he claims to despise, when Giorgio learns of Maya's pregnancy, he immediately assumes that she deliberately bloat herself up just to get his money. He's not giving her any cent of his money! That whore!

I am totally confused. When is such a man considered an attractive romance hero again? There is nothing remotely likable about this creep. He keeps pestering the woman he thinks lowly of to have sex, he pushes her around and runs roughshod over her, and he doesn't hesitate about being cruel to her. All his millions seem very poor compensation for having to deal with his childish sulks and temper tantrum for the rest of Maya's life, if you ask me, unless we get Maya to smother him in his sleep during the second honeymoon.

Maya knows when Giorgio is treating her like crap, but her reaction to his constant cruel melodrama is to endure and play the martyr. She is also putty in his hands - all he has to do is to whip it out and she'd be unable to resist his manly charms. Therefore, he always has the upper hand and the last word, which is not a good thing considering that he's stupid, stubborn, and cruel. There is no grovel as good payoff, just the heroine finally learning that the asshole clown really does love him so everything is alright again.

Shock: One-Night Heir is therefore a rather traditional book in the Modern line: if you don't cozy up to the tropes, this book will make you want to pull out every strand of hair on your head in frustration, but if you love the alpha mule idiot imbecile hero trope, this one has one such hero doing his worst to put the damage on. I'm sure you know which side of the fence I'm on, and I'm going to leave it at this before someone accuses me once again of being unable to "understand" the heart and soul of a Modern book.

Rating: 46


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