Title: The One that Got Away
Author: Kelly Hunter
May Contain Spoilers
I have read three titles from the Harlequin Kiss line now, and each has been vastly different in tone and texture. My previous forays into the Kiss line were a bit more light hearted and more in line with what I thought this line would be like. The One That Got Away caught me by surprise. This is a darker read, with flawed but likable characters. It delves into the fears of a man whose childhood was marred by abuse, and examines his deepest fear – that he will be as violent, controlling, and selfish as his father. This fear has shaped his adult life, twisting his relationships and fueling his desperation to keep everyone at arm’s length. Mix in a hopeless obsession that has festered for over ten years, and you have a story that makes you uneasy and steals your breath away in equal measure.
Evie has worked long and hard to make a successful business of MEP, the architectural firm she runs with her friend Max. When a huge opportunity looms for them, they both fret about raising enough working capital. Then Max drops a bombshell. He asks Evie to marry him so he can access his multimillion dollar trust fund. Shocked, she agrees, and they travel to Max’s hometown to meet his family, and give Evie another shock. Max’s older brother, Logan, is the man she spent a blissful week with 10 years ago, a week that ended in disaster. Both Evie and Logan have been haunted by their brief time together, but for different reasons. Evie’s heart was broken when she didn’t hear from him again, while Logan ran as fast and as far away from Evie and his obsession for her as he could. Evie represented everything that terrified him, and he didn’t want to face that monster in the closet of his mind.
Now, older and ten years wiser, Evie wants to put that week from her past into perspective. Logan refuses to discuss it. With the support of Max and his mother, Evie slowly begins to understand the demons that stalk Logan. She confronts him, time and again, trying to make him understand that they are both different people than they were ten years ago. I admit that their relationship made me uncomfortable at several points,. Logan’s fear of being like his father has made him try to repress his inner most desires, and when they batter at him, they terrify him. Evie and Logan’s relationship is dark and intense, and at times, unhealthy. I began to wonder if I would be convinced that they could ever have a HEA. Fortunately, I was, and I became a bigger fan of Kelly Hunter’s because of it.
My one quibble would be the lack of depth regarding Evie’s background, and how her dysfunctional childhood affected her. We are given a brief sketch of her parents and their inability to commit, but there is no clear picture given.
Review copy provided by publisher