Review: Treacherous Longings

Treacherous Longings Treacherous Longings by Anne Mather
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quinn Marriott is a man on a mission. An investigator for a television news show, he is tasked to find the elusive, mysterious Julia Harvey, a famous film actress who disappeared ten years ago at the peak of her career. Long ago, Quinn thought he knew Julia more intimately than anyone could ever know anyone--until she dumped him without a word, shattered and embittered. Without Julia in his life, Quinn had been forced to move on. He had a new life, a job that challenged him, a woman who loved him back, and most importantly, his heart and sanity were intact. And now here he was, standing in his boss's London office, being told that Julia Harvey may have been found and Quinn is the one he wants on the job to get her and secure an interview.

Julia has been living in the Cayman Islands for the last ten years in a house she had lovingly restored herself, as Mrs. Julia Stewart, a successful children's book writer. She has built a happy, quiet life for her and her ten-year-old son, Jake. There are no traces of Julia Harvey in her anymore. She is thirty-seven years old now. She is tanned where Ms. Harvey was milky-white, curvy where Ms. Harvey was willowy-thin. In fact, she was almost certain that no one would recognize her anymore as the once famous Julia Harvey. She had left that life behind--the fame, the glory, the money... Quinn.

Quinn was the only part of her old life that she really regretted leaving. She had loved him, treasured him, but he had been too young, too immature to be the man she needed. He had only been eighteen years old. The eldest son of her very good friend Isobel, she never meant to get involved with him, and had in fact, tried her damnedest to keep away from him. But from the moment Julia saw Quinn, she knew he was going to be trouble. Julia Harvey, the sophisticated party girl of the silver screen, known for casually getting involved with her handsome leading men, couldn't keep her cool around an eighteen-year-old boy. But one night, Quinn stormed into her London flat, took her in his arms, and proceeded to prove to her that he was no longer a little boy. Swept up by passion, Julia makes love with Quinn, promising herself that it would only be a one-time thing. Schyeah... not!

And so Julia gets pregnant. Panics. Decides not to tell anyone. Runs far, far away.

When Julia and Quinn encounter each other again, it's immediately obvious that the old chemistry, the old magnetic pull between the two of them is still there. Quinn finds himself flabbergasted by his emotions because of all the feelings and reactions he had anticipated, this raw, primal need for her that hit him like a punch in the gut wasn't it. He was angry with her, all right. After all, she had broken his heart, crushed his dreams... walked away from his offer of marriage. But why was his first instinct to protect her and her son? Why did he want to just walk away from this assignment and wish he had never been talked into it? Why does he still want her so very much when she tore his heart and soul into confetti-sized pieces and stomped all over them?

***SPOILER ALERT***

LOTS. OF. ANGST. Quinn is so very bitter that Julia dumped him and disappeared ten years ago without a word that he had a nervous breakdown. He started hanging out with a bad crowd, doing drugs, drinking heavily, sleeping around with women of questionable reputations--all in an effort to banish Julia from his mind and heart. And to think that he once had a very promising future: he was supposed to go to Cambridge, study law, and someday take over the family estate as the Lord of the Manor. Well, he's the eldest son, so the estate will go to him, anyway, but he wants nothing to do with it and he doesn't really give a shit about it. But hey, at least he's mostly forgotten all about Julia. He's even seeing somebody else now, a nice, if albeit-shallow girl named Susan. He might even marry her. And he's got a job he really likes! And he's not even drinking that much anymore. He's really making a go at this whole "living" thing.

But all his boss had to say were two words: Julia + Harvey. And everything went to shit.

Julia's been doing really well, too. She has written twenty children's books that have done very well and is about to embark on a new series of children's books that promises to do just as well, if not better. She has a good relationship with her son Jake, even though one of these days, she knows she will have to sit him down and tell him all about his father. She has trusted friends in the islands, a lovely home, and most importantly, peace and quiet. She has done really well for herself, considering she was pretty pregnant by the time she reached the island ten years ago and alone, at that. She had been miserable and scared, but she managed to pull through and she has proven for the last decade that she can take very good care of herself and her son, just fine. She didn't need a man to do any of that. And she certainly doesn't need Quinn.

But put these two in a room together, shake a little for aggravation, and stand back to watch for the high-drama and action. Quinn has legitimate grievances: JULIA LEFT HIM WITHOUT SAYING A WORD AND DIDN'T TELL HIM SHE WAS PREGNANT. She was totally in the wrong here. She for real broke his heart. There were no misunderstandings, no miscommunications--she told herself she knew what was best for the both of them and acted on it, without consulting him. Without telling him she was pregnant. And he had absolutely zero clue where she was. He never got a call or a letter or a postcard from her. For all he knew, she could have been dead. And that would have been so much easier to get over. But to find out that all this time, she was hiding out on some island and the reason she had run away was because she was pregnant with his baby and she didn't want to tell him because she thought he was too young to understand and take responsibility? Because she didn't see him as a man just yet? Yo... that's messed up. For once, I AM SUPER OUTRAGED FOR THE HERO HERE! (Quinn, on your behalf, I'm also outraged about the ridiculous picture on the cover of the book. Is that 'chu?)

I totally get why Quinn would be bitter and be all, "Grr... Arrgh... Revenge!" Sure, he got a little grabby and pushy at times, but not too badly. And that scene in Julia's hotel room where he was ordering her to get him a bottle of scotch or he'd give her something to be really upset about was... kind of hot. I know, I know, I'm sick. I need help.

Okay, I can't even defend Julia. She was nine years older than Quinn. She should have known better. If she was having so much trouble dealing with her feelings for him, she should have told her good friend, Quinn's mom, and she would have set them both on the correct path. Quinn's parents might have found a way to keep Quinn away from Julia and maybe Julia didn't have to come around the family estate so much anymore. I'm sorry, but it's like bitch didn't even try. I would have been like, "Hey, Quinn's mom, listen... you're my good friend and I love you, but I've been feeling naughty things about your son lately and your son has been sniffing around me and it's kind of really starting to get harder to resist him, so maybe a little help would be in order?" That's what a real friend would do, right? I'd be so pissed if I found out that one of my best friends was having an affair with my teenage son behind my back, the shameless cougar hussy!

And Julia doesn't even do a proper grovel. Having heard from Quinn's mom that Quinn had completely deteriorated and was currently drinking himself to death after finding out that Julia had been lying to him all this time and kept his kid away from him for ten years, she rushes over to the estate to throw herself into his arms and be like, "Oh Quinn, Quinn, I'm so sorry, I loved you all this time!" Upon finding him with a bad attitude and a sneer, however, she completely chickens out and was like, "Oh, okay, um... never mind. Uh... listen, that kid I worked so hard to keep away from you for ten years? Have your lawyer call my lawyer. I'm sure we can work something out." I'm surprised Quinn didn't snap right then and there and strangle her. Instead, he lets out a wail of agony and as she's turning away, he asks brokenly, "Why?" And bitch says, "Because I'm too old for you." Seriously? If I were Quinn, I would have dropped the mic, walked out of the barn, and been like, "Peace out, bitch." INSTEAD he gives her a chance to explain and she tells him she was so scared and she didn't know what to do... and yada-yada-yada... you were a GROWN-ASS WOMAN TEN YEARS AGO, JULIA. JEEZ.

Then Quinn forgives her. FORGIVES her. Damn, you know how I'm always on the heroine's back whenever she forgives the hero too easily in the end? I'm feeling the same for my boy, Quinn. You shoudda made the bitch grovel, homie. You shoudda made the bitch grovel.

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