My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Romancing Rakes For The Love Of Romance.
Bella Andre continues her Sullivans series with book number five, IF YOU WERE MINE, bringing us the story of Zach Sullivan and Heather Linsey. Zach is the last person who should have been saddled with a rambunctious little puppy, however temporarily, but he couldn’t turn down his brother Gabe, or Gabe’s fianceé’s little girl. But when his good friend Agnes recommends Heather as the perfect dog trainer, Zach’s interest in Heather ensures that he’ll make all the time she needs to help him make Cuddles behave.
Growing up with a father who cheated and a mother who allowed it has made Heather bitter about men and their lack of fidelity, and just because Zach Sullivan is ridiculously handsome doesn’t mean she’ll let down her guard so he can break her heart. But Zach is used to women falling all over him, and sees Heather’s initial rejection as a challenge he is more than willing to accept, even though he already knows he can never offer her more than sex. Amazing, mind-blowing sex, to be sure, but nothing more.
When Heather’s mistrust meets Zach’s fear of commitment, the result is a story where the hero and heroine spend most of their time doing everything they can to work against their own happiness together. And that is the main reason why I did not love this book as much as the others before or after it. Every time it looked like Zach and Heather were making progress in realizing that what they had was something to treasure and nurture, one of them would backslide into their negative presuppositions about love and relationships and push the other one away again. I wanted to smack Heather more than once when she refused to even consider that Zach was a better man than her father, believing that making herself emotionally vulnerable was being stupid in a way she assumed her mother had been. But Zach was just as infuriating with his insistence that he was somehow doomed to follow in his late father’s footsteps in the worst possible way, with no reason to doubt what I considered to be an incredibly irrational belief.
The best parts of IF YOU WERE MINE were when we got to see Zach and Heather allowing themselves to be happy with each other both in and out of the bedroom. The dog training scenes were also fun, as well as any scene involving the extended Sullivan family, and I did enjoy the book when I wasn’t wanting to throw things at the hero and heroine. By the end of the story, it was a relief to see both Zach and Heather get set straight on what was true and real, and figure out that they belonged together for good. It may not have been my favorite in the series, but IF YOU WERE MINE is definitely worth reading for anyone who loves Bella Andre’s Sullivan family.
He was halfway across the living room when he turned and said, “If it weren’t for the puppy of mass destruction over there, I’d invite you to join me.” Ah, there was the man she could so much more easily fight her attraction to. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.”