TBR Day. Doukakis's Apprentice / Sarah Morgan. 2011
This month's TBR theme is something steamy. You can usually rely on an HP to provide the heat, so I decided to finally read this RITA winner by Sarah Morgan. This is one of several books that caught my eye when the RITA nominations were announced last spring because I remembered reading some positive reviews of it. I found this one here at Dear Author and another at The Good, the Bad, and the Unread.
Polly Prince may be "just" an assistant in her father's marketing firm, but in truth she's the inspiration behind their successful campaigns, and the glue holding the foundering company together. Damon Doukakis is a self-made, successful businessman with an ax to grind against both Polly and her father. As the book opens, Damon has purchased the smaller company and Polly is desperate to do what she can to save everyone's jobs. The board of directors has bled the company dry, while taking credit for any success Polly and her team have had. Damon already has a low opinion of Polly and the company, but he hears enough to realize that maybe he should give Polly a chance to prove herself.
This is a wonderful character-driven story that does what the best HP books often do: tell a story of two opposite people who are instantly attracted to one another, but are also divided by some pretty major differences or pre-conceived ideas. Polly is unconventional in her style while Damon is rigid and controlled. Perhaps the best part of this book is that, unlike some HP heroines, Polly isn't afraid to stand up for herself and her people from the get-go. The interactions between Polly and Damon are so well done, and a couple are even a little surprising. There's great chemistry here that leaps off the page and it was great fun to watch both of them, but especially Damon, grow and change because of their relationship.
I haven't read many of the other 2011 books in this RITA category, but I have no complaint that Morgan took home the statue. This was a great read, and a wonderful example of the Harlequin Presents category.