Luke’s Promise is the second book in Wilks’s Millionaire Grooms trilogy. The plot begins with the same premise as Jacob’s Proposal: a will stipulation. While the premise is not incredibly believable, I still found the story to be worth reading. In my opinion, it’s very seldom the plot that makes a romance, usually it’s the characterization, and in this case, both characters were fun to get to know.
Luke West has to marry. His father left Luke and his half-brothers an incredible fortune in trust, and they were all content to wait for it. But now their old housekeeper, Ada, is in need of expensive, experimental medical treatments, and the Wests need to get to that money. To do so, they all must marry, and Luke, resigned to his fate, has decided Maggie Stewart should be his bride. The only problem is persuading her to go along with his scheme.
Maggie has a bit of a history with Luke. To be more specific, she’s loved him, or fought her love for him, for a long time. A year ago they had an unsuccessful attempt at a fling, and he bruised her heart. But since then she’s hardened herself against him until she’s almost unaffected by him. Unfortunately for Maggie, circumstances have conspired against her. A professional horsewoman, Maggie fell off her horse, Fine Dandy, a little while ago and broke her wrist. Her father then sold the horse against her wishes, and, as a favor to Maggie, Luke bought it. Luke is now promising to give Maggie Fine Dandy back – but only as a wedding present. Since Maggie desperately wants to get out from her father’s control and regain possession of her horse, Luke’s offer is more attractive than it would have been under normal circumstances. But can her heart survive a marriage of convenience, and, even more worrisome, can she keep her hands off Luke’s very sexy body?
The course this story takes is very predictable, thus the B grade. Nothing that happened surprised me; I could have fairly successfully outlined its progress from the first chapter. We have the controlling parent, the long-held crush, the rakish hero, and the sexually unawakened heroine. There’s even the foster kid in need to add the extra emotional dimension. Nothing new here.
But as I stated, I don’t need a lot of “new” to enjoy a book. In this case, the hero and heroine were interesting enough to keep me reading even if I could predict what they were going to do. There was a fair amount of sexual tension as well, and Luke, for all he’s a rake, is very gentle and considerate of Maggie. He knows he screwed her over a year ago, and he’s spent the intervening time thinking of ways to make it up to her. Now he’s decided on his penance: rebuilding her fragile self-esteem. This was unexpectedly sweet.
The will stipulation didn’t bother me because it eases the book nicely into one of my favorite plots, the arranged marriage. And from there Luke and Maggie don’t spend a lot of time coming up with new obstacles to their relationship. This is a quick read, and there’s not a lot of dross to sift through. I was glad for that. The only other problem I had with this book is that the ending felt a little rushed. I suspect that the short category format had a lot to do with that.
Luke’s Promise was a fun way to spend an evening. Wilks is a new author to me and a good discovery. I think I will have to check out Jacob’s and Michael’s stories. If they are as enjoyable as this one, I’ve got some good evenings ahead of me.