Desert Isle Keeper
Make Me Yours
Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn is a perfect example for how a short, even slight, romance can just work. In the introduction, the author says that writing it “was the most fun I’d had at the keyboard in years”, and you can sense that in every page you read. The book is my second Blaze Historical, and it just makes me hope for more titles of this sort and quality.
Mariah Eller is the widow of a country squire, and while she is not destitute, the greater part of her income depends on the country inn she runs. So when the Prince of Wales and several drinking companions arrive at the inn and threaten to wreck it, she moves right in and distracts them with raucous country songs and strong punch. At the end of the evening, Jack St. Lawrence, the only man still sober in the room, helps her to take the prince up to a room, and she initiates a kiss.
Mariah knows quite well she was carried away by a handsome face and doesn’t expect to see Jack again. To her great surprise, he turns up a week later with another member of the prince’s entourage and a most amazing proposition. The prince, who has no clear memory of that night, thinks he had sex with Mariah, and he wants to continue the relationship. The courtiers make clear to Mariah that she will profit greatly from such an arrangement, but on the other hand they make clear that they have the power to ruin her financially if she doesn’t agree to become the prince’s mistress. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Mariah accepts the proposition, only to be told that the prince never dallies with unmarried women; hence, part of the bargain is a marriage of convenience. She is given a list of four possible candidates, but refuses to agree to any of them sight unseen, and finally bullies Jack to accompany her on a tour of meeting her potential suitors.
Mariah is a delight. In her late twenties, she is very worldly wise and pragmatic, not least because her much older and much-traveled husband, with whom she enjoyed a happy marriage, taught her a lot. She knows very well she is falling for a handsome face and that she must comply with the prince’s wishes, but she will make very sure that she will get the best out of this bad bargain that she can. She also has a wicked sense of humor, as Jack soon discovers.
Jack is much more difficult to relate to at the beginning. First he comes across as handsome, aloof and enigmatic, much like the average romance hero. Then we find out that his position is that of the prince’s minder, nursemaid and occasional panderer – not good. Jack’s family has served the crown for many years, and he feels it to be his duty to do his part, much as he dislikes it. He also chooses to believe Mariah a light woman, because she instigated that kiss. I was inclined to think he was in need of a backbone, but soon I realized what he really needed was a new set of priorities. Which he gets, along with far more depth, in the most delightful way. And as for misjudging Mariah – boy, does she turn the tables on him.
Don’t take the summary above to be serious: This novel is primarily a romp, a light romantic comedy. There’s hilarious repartee, a cast of wickedly funny secondary characters, sweet & moving moments, lovely sex, and a very satisfying HEA some details of which took me quite by surprise.
In her introduction, Betina Krahn mentions she usually writes much longer books. I sincerely hope that she will add shorter, funny romances to her regular repertoire, as I enjoyed Make Me Yours so much. Harlequin romances usually have a very short span of being in print, so I suggest to get this one while it’s still available. It’s a real treat.