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Good As Gone
Douglas Corleone
Timothy Miller

Can't Buy Me Love

Can't Buy Me Love - Molly O'Keefe This wasn't the easy romance that I was expecting. Both main characters are very damaged people and neither is over the damage. Tara Jean Sweet, as she is known now, began life as the abused daughter of a woman with bad taste in men who lived on the wrong side of every track. She got out by using her body and her ability to scam old, lonely men. She has tried to turn over a new leaf but the past she is running from is in danger of catching up.Luc Baker is a pro hockey star who is holding on to his position on the team despite numerous concussions and the possibility of brain damage because hockey is the only place he has felt a sense of self worth. His elderly father abused him both physically and verbally as a child. Now the father is dying but a threat to marry Tara Jean brings Luc and his needy half-sister home to the ranch. When he dies, he leaves 40% of his leather goods business to Tara Jean, which was her incentive to fake an engagement, and the rest to Luc provided he runs the business for five months. Luc feels caught because his sister's inheritance depends on him taking the deal.Tara Jean and Luc are attracted to each other but trust issues and secrets keep getting in the way. They hurt each other numerous times throughout the book. Tara Jean is particularly defensive and does everything she can to drive Luc away. It is the only way she can think of to protect herself and him. The story was filled with strong emotions as both characters struggled to put their pasts behind them and define the futures they want to have. This was a very intense read. It isn't a light, fluffy beach read but an in-depth exploration of two damaged people who manage to overcome great difficulties to find a romance. The author really swept me into this story and made me ache for both of the characters. The one character I didn't have much sympathy for during most of the story was Luc's sister Victoria. She was so needy. She was used to defining herself through her husband but, when he was convicted of masterminding a Ponzi scheme and committed suicide, she didn't take advantage and learn to stand on her own feet but rather decided to lean on her brother for support. I thought it took quite a while for her to wise up. I'm curious to read the next book in this series which will be her story.