Kelly James arrives in Heidelberg, Germany after winning a scholarship to study and work under the famous artist, Wilhelm Brock. She meets an aunt she never knew she had and snared the attention and ire of Max Dreiecke, her aunt's step-nephew and owner of the home she will be residing in for the duration of her stay. She doesn't know that her aunt Louisa is deathly ill, and to make matters worse, Max thinks she's there to stake a claim on an inheritance. Misconceptions and misunderstandings between Max and Kelly constantly add to the sexual tension between them. Though Kelly is attracted to him, she refuses to give in to her feelings and become as flighty as her mother. Max's only excuse is that he wants to protect Louisa from being hurt by her family, who has ignored her for the past forty years. Louisa seems to have her own agenda. When Louisa's health takes a turn for the worse, Max suggests that he and Kelly pretend to be falling in love with each other. Apparently that is Louisa's greatest wish. Throw in gorgeous colleagues and an artist with a penchant for lovely female students and the drama is complete.
I really liked this story. It's charming and full of emotion. My heart broke for Kelly many times over. As an artist she needs to be able to tap into her emotions, but her hurt and shame over her parents has only led her to build barriers around her heart. She came across as very weak – both physically and emotionally. I would have liked to have seen more emotional growth from her; to see her go from timid wallflower to a woman who blossoms after finding love. Max was the polar opposite to Kelly – confident, brooding, a quick temper and never short of admirers. There's no kind way to say it, but he's a (sexy) jerk throughout the story. He makes assumptions and voices them, not realizing that every word and action cuts Kelly down a little bit more each time. There wasn't a dull or slow moment. It was fluid, and I felt immersed in Kelly's feelings as she was experiencing them. Max's actions kept me guessing until the very end as to his true feelings towards her. The ending took me a little by surprise but it was a beautiful conclusion to the story of this unlikely couple.
This was my first story by Ms Carey, but I would definitely like to read more of her stories.
It bears mentioning that this story is written in British English (any words that may be conceived as spelling/grammar mistakes actually aren't).
I received this book from the author during her Valentine's Day giveaway. A review in return wasn't promised to the author in exchange.