Silver and Spice

Silver and SpiceBy Jennifer Greene

Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Netgalley

Jake Rivard has been back in Grosse Pointe for only twenty-four hours, and already banker Anne Blake’s well-ordered world is in chaos. Again. Every time the man with the sexy silver-gray eyes shows up, she falls into bed with him. And every time he walks away, there’s an ache in her heart she can never ease. Now that she has the stable life she’s always craved, Anne’s not about to let him seduce her again. No matter how much she wants him to.

Jake’s not leaving this time without Anne by his side. He’s determined to marry her, despite her insistence that their relationship doesn’t work outside of the bedroom. All he asks is that she spend two weeks with him in Idaho’s Silver Valley, managing his finances. And if it will prove to her that they have more in common than lust, Jake’s prepared to keep his hands to himself for the whole trip.

But is two weeks enough time to convince Anne that the only thing standing between them is the wall she’s built around her heart?

(Previously published under the author’s other pen name Jeanne Grant)

Goodreads Summary

I’m one of those readers that loves the “friends to lovers” trope, but not so much the “reunited lovers find passion again” type.  Both manage to find their way into this story, and while the couple’s love story is sweet, the resolution of their relationship is fraught with stereotypes and a disappointing lack of character development.

Anne Blake screams Type A personality.  The bank trustee is as wound up as her tightly coiled hair, and she likes it that way.  A childhood spent drifting from place to place at the whim of a serial-wedding mother, she’s vowed to plant her roots and keep them there for her future family.  Complicating things is her sometime-lover Jake Rivard.  Friends since childhood, lovers since she was eighteen, he blows in and out of her life every few years between one ridiculous adventure or another.  Each time he shows up, she loses herself in their passion again and each time he leaves, asking her to come with him, the one thing she can’t do.  The last time she’d sworn would be the last, but he’s shown up again three years later and this time he says he’s not leaving until she marries him.

I liked the setup.  The opening chapter where Jake all but stalked Anne at a party was terrific, their chemistry sizzled.  Then the whole oil and water thing started to be built and things took a turn for the worse.  It was noted constantly that Jake was a disgusting slob who wore patched jeans and Anne was a neat freak who wore designer clothes and panicked enough when she had a run in her stockings that she kept spare pairs in her desk.  Anne always assumed Jake squandered every penny he’d been given, while she of course, had managed hers quite well.  He was the constantly rolling stone gathering no moss, she was the immovable object.  Frick and frack.

When Jake couldn’t get Anne to even discuss marriage with him, he went to her boss at the bank and arranged for her to take a trip with him out west to see his silver mines.  See Jake wasn’t poor at all: he had mega bucks and “needed” Anne to help him manage his finances.  Of course she smells setup, but of course she goes.  She has to show him that they just don’t match.  To do this, she takes along all of her fancy clothes (only skirts, frilly, silky blouses and heels) and fancy dishes for their RV drive west.  Sigh.

It’s undeniably touching that the two of them genuinely love each other.  Jake knows Anne is caught between physically wanting him and not being emotionally ready to commit, so he doesn’t push her.  When Anne does something to hurt Jake, it really hurts her, not just as a lover, but as someone who’s been Jake’s friend since they were kids.  When they finally do get around to being intimate, they have fun with it and don’t waste time with regrets.

This could easily have been a great read for me, if it weren’t for the really ridiculous character lobotomy Anne underwent.  Why a bank trustee would stare out an RV window and think with awe and wonder, “ooh, corn!” really is beyond me (one fairly benign example of many).  I wish I could blame the age of the book, but this was 1984.  I was disappointed that the Anne whose head I’d been in at the beginning of the book had all but vanished by the end of the first third and from thereafter, she was just a piece of putty for Jake to mold.  By the end, if I hadn’t made a note of it I’d have forgotten exactly what it was she actually did for a living beyond being an airhead.

There are a lot of ‘80s references that haven’t been updated, clothing especially which can either make you laugh or wince depending on your age.  I laughed, then winced, since at one point, Anne wore culottes and velvety corduroy jeans.  I wore both, wore them badly and hope no one has pictures.

My Rating: C+

Barbara

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