Review: Wicked Caprice

Wicked Caprice Wicked Caprice by Anne Mather
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay... more like 2.5 stars.

This is one of those books that I had on my TBR for a while and was hesitant to pick up because the title is boring and kind of vague. Wicked Caprice. Wicked = Mischievous or playfully malicious; caprice = a sudden or unpredictable changing of mind or attitude. What does that tell us? Somebody in the story changes his mind about somebody in a… playfully malicious way. Or somebody’s  attitude radically changes due to suddenly lax morals.  I bet this is an “Ooops, I’m sorry I thought you were a whore. Everyone else said you were. As it turns out, you are good and kind and as pure as the driven snow and I regret that I had to violate you with my peen and take your virginity to discover that you were telling me the truth all along. Will you marry me?” storyline.  It's a tale as old as time. Very romantic. Don’t know why Disney never based a full-length animated Princess movie on it.

Patrick Shannon has a harridan of a sister called Jillian who is married to a sleazy,  cheating douchebag named Richard. This is not the first time Richard has cheated on Jillian, but this time, Jillian has had enough and she wants her big brother Patrick to storm into Cotswold and put an end to the affair Richard is having with his latest harlot once and for all. The alleged Jezebel is Isobel Herriot, the owner of a little curio shop called Caprice, and renting her retail space from Shannon Holdings, of which Patrick is the chairman. Patrick had originally sent out Richard to Cotswold to deal with their tenants there because he figured, what the hell kind of trouble could Richard possibly get into in a one-horse village like that. A lot, it turns out, and trouble came in the slender, yet shapely body of Isobel Herriot. Who isn’t Patrick’s type. AT ALL. She wears long, shapeless skirts and shabby blouses and... hiking boots, for God’s sake.

And yet the first sight of her is like a punch in the gut for Patrick. She dresses like a homeless bag lady, but there is something so intrinsically delicate and elegantly female  about the way she moves, the way she looks at him...hell, the way she breathes. Patrick makes up some bullspit excuse for being in her shop so he could look more leisurely at her and decides that Isobel Herriot is one tempting baggage, indeed. Jillian has every right to  be  worried.  He introduces himself as Patrick Riker,  buys a little something from the shop so he wouldn't look like a creeping stalker,  and asks her to wrap it up nicely,  telling her he'll be back for it later in the week because he doesn't have time to wait for it now. Then he bolts out of the shop before he does something stupid like grab her and kiss her breathless.

Isobel thinks Patrick Riker--most likely not his real name--is the most handsome man she has ever met, but there was something about him that told her to back off. Chris,  her plucky and gossipy assistant, tells Izzy that Patrick got into a very fancy car,  probably a Rolls-Royce. Izzy doesn't really care about stuff like that and told herself it was unlikely she'd see Patrick Riker again anyway. She already has her hands full with one increasingly attentive man who's determined to get her into bed.  The guy's name is Richard and he works for Shannon Holdings and he said he'd negotiate on behalf of Izzy and other storekeepers  about the rent increase. Izzy is finding it hard to keep being diplomatic and polite with him even though he says he's trying to help them. He could be as persistent as a gnat.  It'd be one thing if Richard were single; he is a good-looking guy.  He is also married with children. Isabel just  isn't the kind of lady who could get involved in a mess like that.

Meanwhile, Patrick can't stop thinking about Isobel and realizes that he is starting to become obsessed with her. He has a girlfriend named Joanne and was convinced that one night with her would purge Isobel from his thoughts,  but he could barely work up the desire to even kiss Joanne,  much less have sex with her. And Jillian just won't leave him alone about Richard,  pestering and nagging him on the phone day and night,  demanding to know how he plans to destroy the supposed liaison of Richard and Isobel. Don't these people understand that he has a multi-billion dollar corporation to run?

Soon enough, he starts to come up with more and more excuses to see Isobel. He takes her to a “business” dinner and proposes to finance a move for her store to a bigger location in a bigger town so she can expand her business. Isobel tells him she's perfectly happy where she is and doesn't need his help.  But Patrick refuses to be deterred. One business dinner leads to another encounter and another encounter leads to a cozy home visit which leads to some groping and kissing on the couch… yada-yada-yada,  Isobel is not a virgin anymore and Patrick is suddenly convinced that Isobel is the one for him.

Well, hell, if Isobel was a virgin,  then she and Richard couldn't have been lovers! GASP! Heaven help you,  Patrick Shannon,  there are other ways other than the pee-in-the-vee to get lovin’, you know.

After sullying Isobel’s innocence and basically treating her trust like a toilet paper and wiping his ass on it, Patrick decides it would be best for everyone involved if he never saw Isobel ever again.  After all,  how would be explain that to Jillian? “Oh,  hey,  I know she's not Richard's lover because she's never been with anyone but me.” No,  that won't work. A good clean break, that's the ticket. No messy goodbyes,  no long drawn-out explanations on why they could never be… no phone calls,  not even a postcard.  Radio silence.  Soon enough,  he'll forget all about  her and Richard will move to somebody else… it'll be the best for everyone.

So how is it that he’s sitting in a high-class London restaurant with Joanne,  about to dig into his dinner, when Richard walks in looking spiffy with Isobel on his arm? Oh hell no!

Right smack dab in the middle of this snazzy joint,  Isobel finds out that Patrick Riker is really Patrick Shannon and the older brother of Richard's wife. And… and he owns the building in which she has her store. Incredible.  Isobel walks off while her dignity is still intact and when Patrick runs after her,  she tells him the one thing that freezes him in his tracks: she knew he never intended to call her after he got her in bed and also,  hey,  guess what, clown? She's got a bun in the oven. NOT.  Good one,  huh? You shoudda seen the look on your STUPID-ASS face.

When Isobel fends off all of Patrick's attempts to  get in contact with her,  he does what any reasonable man with a vast amount of disposable  cash readily available would do: he buys the biggest mansion and land in Isobel’s town and hires her interior decorator mother to renovate it.  Because nothing says “I'm sorry I'm a lying asshat” like manipulating a situation so that your lady love is forced to spend time with you and can't do a thing about it.

This was a pleasant enough read and I really enjoyed the chemistry between Patrick and Isobel. The parts where the two of them are  not together drag a little bit,  but once they're together,  it's solid again. Isobel is a fairly tough chick and not very easily pushed around, which is  good because Patrick has a tendency to  be DOMINEERING and pushy . Fifteen pages left and everything is going so well… Patrick and ISOBEL are lovey-dovey again and they're thisclose to saying “I love you” to each other… everything is bright and beautiful.  Oh,  hold up.  Wait,  what?! WHY ON EARTH WOULD PATRICK THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO THROW A HOUSE PARTY FOR ISOBEL AT HIS MANSION AND INVITE HIS CRAZY-JEALOUS SISTER AND HER RATBAG HUSBAND? IS HE BRAIN-DAMAGED? They trust this guy to run a multi-billion dollar corporation? And how the hell does Patrick end up getting shot?

All right,  fine.  It was me.  I shot Patrick. You shouldn't tell a girl you're gonna call her when you don't intend to. That shit is unforgivable.

P.S. Have you ever looked up “wicked” in the dictionary? It means “evil or morally wrong.” Why do we equate it with sexy?

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