Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Annie and the Red Hot Italian / Annie's Secret (UK) - Carole Mortimer

Carole Mortimer’s Balfour Legacy book started out with a bang! As those of us who have been reading the series know that their father Oscar Balfour has recently lost his current wife and his ambition now is to see his daughters take charge of their lives and he also sends them on journeys which result in them finding a life partner.

Annie, has always felt the competition of her sisters so when she got a chance to not go on the family vacation and go with her university friends on an ski trip she took the chance. And then she realized how safe she had always played her life. When she met a drop dead gorgeous Italian man she took him up on his offer and spent time skiing, and had drinks at his private chalet. That’s not all they did, the result being a son Oliver. What neither of them counted on was that Luc never had the opportunity to make their dinner date the next night because he found out his father had suffered a stroke which had been brought on by Luc’s carelessness with the family business. Annie was shocked when he didn’t show up and then a month later when she found out she was carrying Luc’s baby. They was no way to contact him. Because they had acted on their mutual attraction more than getting to know each other, they never exchanged last names.

Now four and one half years later, her father Oscar Balfour insisted she should attend a conference in Italy and of course, quite by chance she bumps into that same very sexy Italian Luca de Salvatore. It was a crazy coincidence, who could have imagined that 4 ½ yrs later she would run into him? I immediately wondered if Oscar Balfour knew his grandson father’s identity and did he set it up because he knew life was too short? Luc thought something was familiar about Annie but he couldn’t pinpoint it until he recognized the tattoo on her back while she was swimming. However, Annie knew immediate who Luca was and wondered if she should tell him about Oliver.

When Luca returned back home to his father, he realized he was responsible for the state everything was in….his father’s health and the state of the family business. He literally grew up and worked day and night to make the business even more successful than it had been before. Luca was at the very same hotel as Annie. Something was familiar about her, the attraction was fierce and when he finally realized who she was and put two and two together when by accident he found out she had a four year old boy, he knew it was his child and he was furious. And then the battle began he was determined they marry or he would fight for custody. They constantly fought, we constantly drawn to each other, kissed, touched and argued. Annie stood her ground and Luc hurled accusations at her as to why she didn’t contact him. It was nasty and Annie was hurt but all of it.

A truce was called when Annie agreed to accompany him to his vineyard in Venice. They were somewhat relaxed with each other and then the inevitable happened, they made love. What they didn’t count on was they would be called back to London because Oliver had suffered an accident and was in the hospital. So many conflicting emotions, especially when Luc met his son for the first time. Annie was an incredible mother, a protective one but she knew without a doubt she loved Luc but she couldn’t marry him unless he returned that love. To stay strong she remembered the one of the Balafour’s motto's, “A Balfour should be frightened of nothing. Face your fears with courage and they will lead to further self-discovery.” Of course, they got their happy ending but at some cost and it was extremely creative how Carole Mortimer had her hero Luca realize what was most important in life and at what cost he was willing to make them all a happy and loving family.

The Balfour Legacy and the lengths Oscar Balfour goes through to guarantee his daughters’ happiness have been a joy to read. Of course, with his daughter Annie, as I suspected, he set up their reunion in Italy.

Book Description:

For once in her so-far-practical life, Annie was going to be daring...

Annie is a single mother who adores her young son - but as one of the notorious Balfour girls, she has to work hard to give her baby a normal childhood. Then a chance meeting forces her back into the world of

Luca de Salvatore, the gorgeous father of her child!

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