Michelle Cabot has been running from her feelings for John Rafferty for ten years. Now she is alone and has no where else to go except to the ranch her father has willed to her - which just happens to be neighboring John’s ranch. Although Michelle doesn’t know the first thing about ranching and has never had to work a day in her pampered life, she is determined to be independent for once and not rely on any man. Unfortunately, along with the ranch, her father also left her mountains of unpaid bills, including a $100,000 debt owed to none other than John Rafferty.
John has an easy solution to solving Michelle’s money problems – she can sleep with him and all will be forgiven. John thinks the spoiled Michelle he once knew and lusted after will jump at the chance to take the easy way out, but there is more to Michelle than meets the eye. She never wanted to be treated like a princess, but instead be regarded like the woman she is. Michelle surprises John with her willingness to work hard and her resolve to make her ranch a success on her own. He soon discovers he would much rather have a woman in his bed than a princess.
Even though Michelle wanted John the first time she laid her eyes on him, his well-deserved reputation as a “stud” always pushed her away. She knew he would be more man than she could handle and never dreamt that he could be tamed. However, an abusive ex-husband and maturity has given Michelle the strength to take what she wants and what she wants is John Rafferty.
Linda Howard does an excellent job of portraying Michelle’s personality and giving realistic reasons for her actions. I found John to be the stereotypical leading man – he is shown as a tough, macho rancher who can be overbearing and arrogant but only because he wants to protect “his woman”. However, his character works in Heartbreaker since Michelle does need protection and he is more than capable of the task.
Being one of Ms. Howard’s earlier works, Heartbreaker is a quick, light read. Although there is some suspense involving Michelle’s ex-husband, the main focus in the novel is on the romance between Michelle and John. While the plot is basic and somewhat predictable, Heartbreaker kept me turning the pages until I reached the end with a smile on my face.