In the epilogue of the prequel to this book, Hot Island Nights, the heroine of that book, Elizabeth, is flabbergasted to see sworn enemies, Violet and Martin (the hero/heroine of this
book) getting off of a plane together to visit her in Australia. Her fiance Nathan, seeing her astonishment, says to her "Let's hear their story."
Yes, Nathan, let's! And what a story this is!
Violet is Elizabeth's best friend. Martin was Elizabeth's fiance. The two of them constantly sniped and bickered at each other for the entire six years they've known each other. She called him 'Droopy Drawers' and wondered how he didn't bore people to death. He merely sneered superciliously at her wild clothes and even wilder manner.
When Elizabeth throws Martin over and runs away to Australia both Violet and Martin are left a bit adrift. But at heart they are two decent people who both loved Elizabeth and Violet feels very sorry for Martin. So she buys him a bottle of Peach Schnapps.
Who knew a bottle of Peach Schnapps would set off a torrid love affair between two sworn enemies?
I loved this book! Violet and Martin had crazy chemistry and they quickly figured out that all of that animosity was simple re-directed passion. They had been in complete denial for years that they'd had the hots for each other.
In addition to the great romantic & sexual chemistry there is excellent characterization of both parties. Violet is a wild child because she is hiding an immense amount of pain from being rejected by her family. Martin has painstakingly cultivated his current, precise persona in order to rise above his decidedly lower-class beginnings. Their burgeoning understanding about these parts of each other is what makes the romance in this book so affecting.
And it sweet to see them begin to settle into a deeper relationship and to see Violet attempt to tone herself down a bit in order to help Martin get a coveted membership to an exclusive club, while at the same time it is great to see Martin reclaim some of his inner-tough to defend her honor.
And it was gratifying to know that while Martin wouldn't consider any sexual position except missionary with Elizabeth, he'll do it anyhow, anyway, anytime, with Violet!
I take a half-star off because of Violet's incessant hand-wringing about telling Elizabeth about her and Martin. Although Martin succinctly explains why she keeps putting it off, it still felt a little too much.
But that is a minor quibble. I really enjoyed this book.