From the BLURB:
She was sexy, smart…and not for sale. But that won’t stop him.
When Parker Quinn is forced to accept an outrageously high bid at a charity auction, she has no choice but to go out with the last man on earth she wants to spend time with. Dean Maxwell may be one of Manhattan’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s also the man who had an affair with her sister and abandoned her when she became pregnant with his child.
Dean doesn’t know why Parker hates him so much, but he’s determined to show Parker the type of man he really is. Whisking her away to a private island in the Bahamas for a sensual, sun-drenched week together, Dean leaves Parker’s preconceptions shattered and her desires inflamed.
But even as their passion reaches irresistible heights, Parker has a decision to make. Can she allow herself to fall for the seductive magnate, or will family secrets and a dangerous ex tear them apart?
Parker Quinn is a New York magazine editor who meets Dean Maxwell at a win-a-date charity auction. Dean is smart, suave and totally off-limits for Parker... because Dean is also her niece’s baby-daddy. Dean ran out on Parker’s younger sister when she told him of the pregnancy and his name has been blackballed by the Quinn family ever since.
But there’s undeniable heat and spark between Parker and Dean... and when he makes an outrageous bid for her body and whisks her away for a six-day weekend the inevitable happens.
This erotic romance didn’t sit well with me. There were so many niggling little problems with the entire relationship that I couldn’t just let my mind go and enjoy the titillating romance.
To start with, Parker and Dean’s first meeting left me cold. They bump into one another at a win-a-date charity auction, and Dean chivalrously saves Parker from a grabby ex. Their following exchange is a little bit heated, very flirtatious and bordering on sleazy. But there was nothing in Parker’s personality or Dean’s hot-n-heavy come-on that I found endearing or warranting of the slight obsession they develop of each other. And I mean ‘obsession’ – because the second Dean learns Parker’s name he researches her, can’t stop thinking about her and concocts a plan to win her over.... all in the space of a few hours. But I just didn’t get what was so fascinating about Parker, apart from the fact that Dean really liked her body, wanted to see her naked and enjoyed ‘the chase’.
More than anything though, I really couldn’t understand Parker’s attraction to Dean. I mean, yes he is handsome and rich and sophisticated... but he also impregnated and abandoned her little sister! Of course Parker battles a half-hearted protest with her conscience, but when Dean whisks her away to a private island for six days her resolve quickly crumbles.
What really didn’t sit well with me about all this was that Ann Bruce just throws money at the moral dilemma. ‘Parker’s Price’ really isn’t a female-empowering read... because Parker pretty easily drops her sister in favour of Dean and his ‘I know someone who has a private island and he has loaned it to me’ schtick. Parker believes that Dean left her sister high and dry when she was pregnant with his baby. I’m not saying that Parker’s attraction to Dean is based solely on his assets... but that’s kind of how it came across. But I’m sure the private island went a long way to easing Parker’s guilt over sleeping with the man who fathered her niece.
He lifted a brow. “You wouldn’t mind me being with another woman?”The dilemma of Dean’s parenthood is examined in the second-half of the book... but Parker's confrontation of Dean does take a while to come about – she spends the first half of the book thinking about confronting him and raging at how immoral he is... but she’s still attracted to him and wants to sleep with him. Ick.
Something dark and heavy and more than just unpleasant slammed painfully into her chest, making it hard to breathe. Was she jealous?
Parker deliberately backed away from that dangerous edge and told herself she had no right to be jealous. If Dean Maxwell fell into bed with another woman, did all the things to the other woman that he’d done to her and more, she had no right to want to viciously yank out every strand of hair on the other woman’s head.
I never liked Dean. He just came across as sleazy and my female intuition was constantly red-alerting during his scenes. It was just little things that added up to a not-nice protagonist (though Bruce didn’t mean for him to come across that way). Little things like him undressing Parker when they arrive at the private island and tucking her into bed while she sleeps. Eew. And the fact that he kept suggestively touching Parker even after she firmly said “No. Don’t do that. Don’t touch me.”
Running alongside the Parker/Dean dilemma romance is a side-story about Parker possibly being stalked... because she finds her apartment door open and some lingerie missing from her drawer. Parker is obviously creeped out and concerned about this stalker – yet when Dean takes it upon himself to have a copy made of her apartment key she still can’t help but be attracted to him? I don’t think so. Dean just came across as a sleazy sexual predator to me. While it could have worked if Bruce had meant for Dean to be a not-nice anti-hero, she is writing him as a straight romantic interest and it did not compute for me.
Sorry. The sex scenes were hot; I’ll give the book that much. But otherwise this light romantic erotica did not work for me – I could never get past Parker’s moral dilemma or Dean’s sleaziness.