Harlequin Presents #984
SPOILER ALERT ⚠
The Unusual Plot
Emma Darcy‘s Don’t Ask Me Now is such an unusual Harlequin Presents. I had previously seen a love-triangle plot done similarly in the Temptation line, which was more sexually explicit. To see it in HP was a bit surprising.
What’s the big deal? Well, this book features two heroes! And the heroine sleeps with both, although it’s not as tawdry as it sounds.
Many years ago, the heroine, Cathy, had a torrid love affair with Anthony Pryor-Jones of the Pryor-Joneses, part of Australia’s creme-de-la-creme. His family disapproved of her as they were a wealthy clan while Cathy was a nobody. Hero #1 was obsessed with her, and they had fantastic sex. Finally, Cathy broke free of the toxic relationship and relocated to Sydney.
Years have passed, and Cathy’s made a new life for herself. She’s got a great friend and business partner, Tom. Tom, Hero #2, has always wanted Cathy. Unfortunately he’s been friend-zoned for some time. Just ehen he thinks he’s breaking through her icy reserve, they bump into Anthony at a ball.
Cathy sees him, and her feelings come rushing back. Anthony wants her again, too.
Tom isn’t going to stand by and let it happen. He demands Cathy see him as he really is: a man, a desirable one, who genuinely cares for her. Moreover, Tom’s not willing to play second fiddle to her ardent feelings for Anthony. Even if Tom knew Cathy loved him, he’s unwilling to be next-best in bed. Tom is rightfully jealous of the passionate relationship she shared with Anthony.
“Don’t ask me now, Tom,” Cathy says to him, as she can’t decide what her heart wants. But she must.
Who Gets the Girl in This Love-Triangle?
I’m happy to say that it’s the nice guy who wins out in the end. Hero #1 turns out to be no hero at all. Tom and Cathy get invited to a weekend party at the Pryor-Jones estate. As Anthony sees that Tom and Cathy are drawing closer and Cathy won’t give in to him, he tries to make Cathy jealous. How? By having sex with a young girl in a car in the driveway (what a stud!). Then when he sees Cathy fleeing his family’s party, he cruelly and abruptly abandons the crying, confused girl.
Cathy easily realizes it’s Tom she wants, needs, and–most importantly–desires.
The pair share a memorable scene where they make love and break the bed. This occurs at the party at Pryor-Jones estate, so everyone will see the results of Tom and Cathy’s wildly erotic night.
Final Analysis of Don’t Ask Me Now
What a wonderfully unique Harlequin Presents is Don’t Ask Me Now. It was written to keep you guessing who’s the right man in this love triangle, then made you root for that right man to get the girl. I don’t even want to imagine how this kind of plot would be addressed in a modern HP/ Mills and Boon. If it has, I don’t want to know!
Emma Darcy executed this plot with perfection. Although I’ve enjoyed many of her books, like Fantasy, this one is special. It’s one of my most beloved Harlequin Presents; if not a top 10 pick, then top 20 for sure.