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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Doukakis’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan

Doukakis’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

With her family business in crisis, Polly Prince does her best to keep calm and carry on. But hard work alone can't save her London company from a takeover by the infamously ruthless Damon Doukakis…or her traitorous body from the lethal sensuality of her boss!

As his new apprentice, Polly accompanies Damon to Paris to negotiate the most challenging business deal of her life! Worse still, Polly must at all costs resist Damon in the most dangerously romantic city in the world.…

Once again Ms. Morgan has created a tale where nothing is as it seems, taking readers on a journey of discovery as two people find love with whom they definitely didn’t want to, and would deny if asked. What made it interesting is that both the heroine and hero fight against the roles they’ve been forced into, and in doing so, reveal to themselves and readers that there’s nothing wrong with saying I’m sorry.

Polly is a powerhouse of a woman. Her drive is compensation. She’s trying to make up for her father, which is like beating your head against a brick wall. Later on it’s revealed that she is protective and loyal to a fault. She doesn’t advertise the things she’s quietly and stoically done in the past and she has no intention of ever doing so, but Damon is a thorn in her side he wrangles the truth out of her … eventually.

Damon is a man burdened. He’s carried so much responsibility from a young age, he can’t let go. His drive to control, manipulate and mandate has only ever been done with the best of intentions. For some reason, this time with Polly, he’s following his passion and making mistakes. Or is he? I prefer to think his heart was making him do things without consulting his brain. I enjoyed watching a confused Damon slowly fall into love with the career focused Polly.

Secondary characters are minor but nonetheless powerful. Polly’s father and Damon’s sister are spoken about a lot but readers only “meet” them for brief scenes. When they did interact with the protagonists, I was treated to an “Aha!” moment. It left me feeling sad for all concerned because all any of them really wanted was to be happy. Being the imperfect people they are, as we all are, they don’t always make the best choices but they make do with what they have chosen. And Damon needed to learn to accept that and move on. Oh, I forgot the Frenchman. He’s a great catalyst! And the people at the office actually contributed to a reader understanding the type of person Polly really is. It’s very charming and endearing.

Readers are going to enjoy the part when Polly’s secrets are revealed. The dialogue that stems from Damon’s reaction was thoroughly entertaining. And I loved how Ms. Morgan had Damon slowing warming up. The effect is most pronounced in the workplace. I really enjoyed that affect. It had me grinning from ear to ear. I just loved Polly.

When Damon revealed his inner pain to Polly, I melted and wanted to hug him. What a horrible horrid thing he had to deal with! Which of course meant it made him a perfect tortured hero that I wanted to save. Good thing Polly was up to the task.

The conflict is character driven and effective. How Polly and Damon came to understand each other was a wonderful journey I enjoyed.

Doukakis’s Apprentice is exactly the kind of wonderful story that romance readers search for. It has humor, heart and well developed characters that touch a reader’s emotions. It entertains, is wonderfully paced and has vibrant and lively dialogue. Ms. Morgan delivered a happily ever after that has left me smiling long after I’ve turned the final page. What more can a reader wish?