His Private Nurse
Don’t let the blah title keep you from picking up His Private Nurse. While it didn’t blow me away, I found an interesting story with a very likable heroine.
Royce Lawler is in the middle of a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife, Pamela, when he’s nearly killed falling down the stairs. The consensus amongst his friends is that he was pushed by Pamela, but he clams up each time the subject is broached, insisting it was an accident. Besides, he has bigger worries when he ex-wife uses his injuries as an excuse to cut off his visitation rights, saying seeing him in the hospital will be too traumatic for the children. So Royce needs to get home. He hires Merrily Gage R.N. away from her job at the hospital to be his private nurse (hence the title).
Merrily is eager to get away from her three spoiled older brothers, who use her as slave labor at home. She jumps at the chance to be Royce’s live-in nurse. Soon Merrily is falling for Royce, but there’s still the issue of the accident. Did Royce truly fall or was he pushed and if so, who’s he protecting?
I figured out Royce’s big secret pretty quickly, but as this isn’t a suspense novel that didn’t really matter. The heart of this book is about the lengths parents will go to in order to protect their kids. Royce is basically a nice guy, who made a poor choice when he got married and stuck things out too long. Sometimes I really wanted to shake him, because he’s a doormat where his ex is concerned. Yes, his legal options were limited, but he just seemed too complacent about the situation.
Fortunately for the story, Merrily is the exact opposite. She doesn’t let anyone walk over her, even Royce. She knows what she wants and goes for it. There are some great comic moments when her brothers try to bully her into quitting her job and she stands up to them. She doesn’t let Royce push her away, and when Pamela tries break them up Merrily uses her head and takes advantage of Pamela’s actions to get the upper hand.
In many places the story was melodramatic (namely the climatic scene in the family court) and the cliché of the evil-ex wife was played a little heavily, but James manages to keep it plausible within the constraints of the story being told. Besides it’s the characters, especially Merrily, that pull the reader in.
So if you’re looking for a change of pace from the usual romance (i.e. cops, cowboys, brides, amnesia, etc.), give this quiet little character-driven drama a try.