In Reflected Pleasures, the second book of Linda Conrad’s Gypsy Inheritance series, a magic hand-mirror is given to the reluctant Ty Steele by Passionata, the daughter of the King of Gypsies. His cousin told him of the gypsy and her magic, but Ty cannot believe in it. The gypsy promises Ty that at the right moment the mirror will reveal its true purpose. Passionata and her three gifts are what tie the three books together, but aside from a cursory mention at the beginning and in the middle of the book, the mirror is barely spoken of.
Ty Steele is a self-made millionaire who made his money the hard way with his bare hands by fixing up, and then selling, old properties. He heads several businesses and, wanting to give something back to the community, he started a foundation/orphanage. Now he needs someone competent to run it. Ty has the money but not the polish or finesse to get other investors on board to help keep his organization up and running, not to mention he is having a hard time keeping good help. It seems that every woman who comes and works for him has her eye on becoming Mrs. Steele instead of being his assistant.
Enter Merri Davis aka Merrill Davis-Ross, a model running from her lavish past. She is looking to connect with real people and get away from the shallow lifestyle of modeling, and so disguises herself by dying her hair and wearing glasses. She is happy to be Ty’s new assistant and loves her new job; it allows her to use all the etiquette training her parents forced her to endure. Working with the children in the orphanage is also a thrill for her. She is meeting and connecting with people who want to know her for who she is rather than because of her fame.
Things truck along really well for these two characters until Ty starts to notice Merri, and then he wants to get to know her and spend time with her. He proposes that she help him get rid of his rough edges so that he can become a better spokesperson for his foundation. The more time they spend together, the harder it is to contain their attraction. Merri knows that she has to come clean in order to move forward with Ty, but it may not be possible because the one thing that Ty cannot stand is a woman who lies.
Ty and Merri’s story, involving as it does someone hiding from their past and trying to make a new life, is not unique in the romance genre. The problem is that so much time is spent on Merri’s lamenting about what she should do that I stopped caring. The book has a great build up until the issue of Merri’s past becomes the main issue. The sexual tension in the book was great, the love scenes were well written, and I had even starting liking Ty. It’s hard to explain what really went wrong for me with out giving away the plot, but let’s just say that I was annoyed and just wanted to finish the book to see how they were going to work out.
As a result of the plot issues that I had with Merri and Ty’s story, the book fell flat for me and I was disappointed. I read and enjoyed Scandalous Melody, the book which follows this one in the Gypsy Inheritance series, and liked it a lot more than either of the first two books in the trilogy. I recommend that you skip Reflected Pleasures and instead read Scandalous Melody, which stands alone quite nicely.