The Return by Jan Bowles
Publisher: Book Strand Romance
What I liked: Jan tells such a beautiful story about a couple who love each other very much, but yet to the war things have changed. Jan portrays the life of these two characters as a real life drama that you could sit and watch unfold. Positively brilliant! A must read for those who love contemporary romance or are just fans of romance!
Whilst on assignment in Iraq, English journalist Robert Tremayne is captured by the Islamic Jihad and held hostage. His soul mate, Marielle, can barely come to terms with her loss. When she’s told he’ll never return home, she’s devastated, but tries to move on with her life.
Years later Robert is discovered alive. Marielle is overjoyed, but her life has changed beyond all recognition, and the Robert she loved is now a very different man; his time in Iraq has left him cold and detached. There’s much to tell, and each wants desperately to return to the way things once were. Can they find a way to recapture their lost love and be happy together again?
“Marielle.” He cleared his throat, obviously finding it difficult. “What happened earlier, I can’t say I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t want to hurt you. I wish it had never happened.”
“What, the kiss or my marriage to James?” Had he given her an apology? What did he want her to say? “I can’t turn back the clock. We were convinced you’d died.”
“I know.” He looked briefly at her, a piercing intense stare. “It seemed strange seeing you after three years. It felt as though nothing had changed.”
“But it has changed, hasn’t it?” She noticed that he kept letting his gaze drift slowly down the length of her legs. Her breath began to quicken at the thought of his hands pressing into her flesh. She wanted his touch, now more than ever. But there was too much history between them to start again.
“A lot has happened in three years.”
Yes, a lot had happened she appreciated only too well. She had a child. His child. Surely it was her duty to tell him now? There was so much to explain. A sense of foreboding swept over her, and she clasped her arms more tightly around herself for comfort.
“When I asked you to help me get Willow Hall back in order, I meant it. I made the remark without thinking, but the more I think about it, the keener I am on the idea.”
“No.” How could she possibly work for him? “There must be hundreds of others you can choose. You don’t need me. We’d be bad for each other.” She paused, taking a deep breath. “Look what happened only this morning. It’s no use, we cannot forget what’s happened.” She knew it would only be a matter of time before everything came back to haunt her.
“I’m not looking to the past. I’m just thinking that by working together we could become friends once more, and be able to move on.” He pulled a hand through his ruffled hair. “Maybe forgive each other.” Then he looked at her in a way that began to permeate the frost she had laid around her heart.
She knew that he didn’t know the half of it. When he found out about his daughter, he would never forgive her. “I’m not convinced, Robert.” Standing abruptly, she said, “I must check on Jemma.” It was an excuse she knew, but she needed some distance between them, where she could think more clearly.
“Stay here.” He reached out a hand as she walked past the sofa. He clasped her fingers and drew them to his lips. She closed her eyes, not wanting to be charmed by his tender touch. She wished the pulse of electricity she felt would not course so strongly through her veins. She drew her hand away to steady herself.
“No.” She stood firm and stared at him on the sofa. “I think you should go.” Her gaze wavered, and she turned away, unable to bear his intense scrutiny.
She felt relieved when he said, “Okay.” Then he followed her out into the hall.
Within seconds she was in his arms, his hot lips caressed hers. His hands pulled her close. She felt the heat of his body through the thin material of her chemise. It sent her pulse racing.
“Marielle, I need you.” He pressed her back against the wall. The passion erupted so easily between them as his head dipped once more to swamp her senses with a kiss. It took every last vestige of her resolve to firmly push him away, as she flattened her palms to his chest.
“No,” she said without making eye contact with him. “There are things you don’t know.”
“Look at me.” He took her hands from his chest and clasped them tightly against the wall. His knee pushed her legs apart. The pressure on her body forced her to meet his gaze. “It was only ever you,” he whispered. He moulded his body firmly against her small frame, to show her how much he needed her. Totally at his mercy her composure began to falter. Her breath caught in her throat.
“You’ve plenty of women in your life. I’ve seen them in the papers. You don’t need me,” she breathed, unable to fight the uncontrollable desire to respond as his heat enveloped her. All those famous women he’d been photographed with were proof of that.
“Ah.” He smiled. “Why, Marielle, have you been reading all about me? Those women in Cannes and Monaco, they could never match you.” His words melted every possible excuse she had, and when he said, “I need you now.” His kiss, deep and sensuous, sent tremors throughout her body. He made her want to experience his love making again.
“But Robert, I need to tell…”
“Shhhh.” He pulled her easily into his arms and kissed her forehead. “Tell me later.”
It seemed the most natural thing in the world to take his hand and lead him to her bedroom.