Saturday, March 4, 2023

Storm Clouds Gathering by Edwina Shore


I don't read a lot of Harlequin romances but sometimes I end up with them anyway because friends and family give me some. This one was a gift from my sister and I have to say, I loved the idea of a second chance romance where the hero comes back to fuck with the heroine and take names as he gets revenge on the heroine, amidst the background of a small island setting off the coast of Australia. I was prepared for something bland and tepid, and what I got instead was the emotional equivalent of biting into a scorpion pepper when expecting oatmeal.


Everyone in this book is AWFUL. Our colorful cast of characters are all up in their own respective asses, each determined that they are right and everyone else is wrong, to the point where I propose that an alternative title for this book could be STORM CLOUDS GASLIGHTING. But don't take me at my word: let me introduce you to this cast of characters.

Jenna, the heroine, was the island beauty. Her grandmother came from money but when the money went, her pride stayed. She was furious when she found out that her granddaughter was engaged to be married to the son of a grocer, and pretended to be dying so Jenna would stay with her instead of marrying Drew. Faster than you can say "I told you so," Drew hops on a fuck-you plane to Sydney with a one-way plane ticket on his head, and suddenly granny is miraculously cured. Now Jenna lives with her brother and his bitchy wife, running a failing restaurant she doesn't even like.

Chris is Jenna's brother. He's lazy and a drunk, and leaves most of the restaurant work to Jenna and his heavily pregnant wife, Clare. But lest you feel too sorry for Clare, she's a busybody and a gossip and loves to tell Jenna that her hasn't-even-come-to-pass-yet marriage won't last, just like the one she had with Drew! This is her reason for selling her shares of the restaurant out under the table to Public Enemy #1, Drew, despite knowing Jenna's history with him. In fact, she does it without even telling Jenna and then she and Chris spend the rest of the day hiding so she won't find out. There's a quote in here about Jenna never wanting to punch a pregnant lady before but wanting to make an exception for her sister-in-law, which made me laugh because Clare is 100% the type of woman to hit first if she thinks you're getting "hysterical" (which she almost does). Chris and Clare suck.

Drew is Jenna's ex-flame. He has come to the island to buy out her shares and humiliate her, whether it's coming over to her house at booty call o' clock in the middle of a storm, even though Jenna is engaged to another man, and then manhandling her in his office despite his gossipy male receptionist keeping one ear to the door when Drew is like NO CALLS (admittedly, this was hot). After they have sex in his office and word inevitably gets around, Drew hops on a plane and leaves Jenna to suffer before she gets angry enough to chase him down to Sydney this time, whereupon he's like, I DID IT FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, I DIDN'T ENJOY HURTING YOU. Apparently, he was just giving her the agency to break up her own wedding herself by lighting a fire under her cooch. Bullshit, good sir. Even the Marquis de Sade would call you and your gaslighting ass an emotional vampire at this point.

Various other greatest hits moments: A showdown in a toystore where Drew flashes his cash in a game over "who can get Clare's stupid daughter the most expensive present." Drew telling Jenna to go inside when he's hashing out repairs for the restaurant she still partially owns. Jenna talking to Drew like he's still the help and making him go in through the back door. Oh, and Dr. Nash, Jenna's fiance, getting angry at Jenna for being business partners with her ex when HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUY HER OUT AND DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE IT. Also, he's a sexist pig too because he doesn't want Jenna to work when she's married: she's supposed to be a mother and his secretary for free. 

Fuck all these people.

3 out of 5 stars

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