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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Education of Simon Lane by Pat Cromwell

The Education of Simon Lane / Memory Lane Series Book 1 by Pat Cromwell
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Full
Heat: Hot
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Simon Lane was the bad boy Lillian Rouilard always dreamed of. Rolling into Lilly’s life like a runaway train, she was thrilled by the ride but when it was all said and done, he'd left a mess that she could not make her way out of. Simon’s old man always said he would bring misery to anyone who loved him. He ignored his father’s words until Simon’s own cruel actions resulted in losing Lilly—the one bright light in his otherwise dismal existence.

Thrown back together by chance, Lilly will either be healed of the pain he inflicted or be left just as broken as before. This time the choices Simon makes will be the hardest yet because added to the mix is Simon’s new fiancĂ© Millicent who harbors a few secrets of her own. He undertakes a gamble he’s not even sure he is worthy to win.

Was his father right all along? Would he ever learn?

Simon Lane is a ruthless executive, but as it transpires, his more human side is actually not a whole lot nicer. He knows, himself, that he killed the beautiful spirit in Lillian Rouillard, the one person who loved him. He’s an interesting person from the outset; he seems to know what he wants, but refuses to admit it to himself. There are fantastic parallels between the Simon Lane, business side, and his more personal side. It’s subtly done – but provides keys to his character.

Lilly, once the love-of-his life, he treated as badly as any struggling company. She got tossed as fast a CEO for a floundering business discovers the door. Her emotional pain is plain, but heartless Simon, cannot truly be that heartless, can he? Lilly might not be a doormat, either. She might have something more of a get-even mentality, in fact. She can use her sexuality as a whip.

Even if Simon did regret his choices, he’d have to win his way back through her mistrust. He might become something of a different man, in the process.

Of course, it’s never so simple, is it? There’s the little matter of his current fiancĂ©, not to mention the expectations of friend and associate Parker Crane. There’s the strange coincidence when it turns out who Mr. Perfect just happens to be. Life runs headlong into Simon’s plans, and much as we want him to finally get matters of the heart right…you’ll find yourself sympathizing and agreeing with Lilly, as well.

Even Cromwell's secondary characters are well-done, well-developed and unpredictable. Millicent, who could easily have been a shadowy other-woman, is as complex as any other, and has admirable traits in among the tiresome. There are plenty of twists and turns, and confrontations.

The opening prologue set a rather bleak tone, starting right off with really coarse language (and some minor plausibility issues,) yet we see the dark side of Simon’s personality issues grew from there. Once into chapter one, the story springs to life. Don’t be put-off by that opening.

Cromwell's characters will intrigue you from beginning to end.