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Phantom Marriage by Penny Jordan

Phantom Marriage

by Penny Jordan

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***This review contains SPOILERS***

Tara (who's 24) runs into an old school-friend, Susan, who invites her to spend the weekend at her home in the English countryside (the Cotswolds). Tara decides to go and bring her two children with her (6-year-old twins Mandy and Simon). Susan tells Tara she will send a car to pick her up at her home and drive her to her house in the Cotswolds. But who arrives---Tara's ex-lover James!

Tara hasn't seen James since they had a brief affair seven years ago. He was married at the time, Tara became pregnant (with twins), and James never knew. (She was 17, he was 26.) Tara went to his home to tell him about the pregnancy but he was away in another country and she saw his wife Hilary instead, who mocked Tara, and told Tara James didn't want her. Humiliated, Tara left. She has been raising the twins alone, telling people she is a widow and her husband died before the twins were born. She now discovers James has been divorced for a few years and the attraction between Tara and James is still there. Susan is his step-daughter, Susan's mother Hilary is James's ex-wife.

James was blackmailed by Hilary into marriage and he never loved her or slept with her. (He was asking Hilary for a divorce before he met the heroine.) He loved Tara, but he went away for awhile to give her the opportunity to grow, make her own decisions, not knowing she was pregnant.

This story probably isn't everybody's cup of tea. I usually don't like this kind of storyline, but this book worked for me.

I liked Tara. She's a personal assistant to a famous fashion photographer, Chas, who has a reputation as a real ladies man who keeps coming on to her, which caused some jealously from the hero. (I love a jealous hero!) I also liked James. The twins Mandy and Simon were really cute and adorable.

This was another enjoyable read by Penny Jordan with lots of tension, secrets, and forbidden love. ( )
  SandraLynne | Jan 19, 2016 |
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If she didn't hurry she was going to be late picking the twins up again, Tara acknowledged, glancing in resignation at the heavy-duty watch which looked so incongruous against the fragility of her wrist.
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She had weathered life's storms alone. Tara had been only seventeen when she'd given herself to James. She had borne him twins in secret, inventing a short-lived marriage to protect her fatherless children and to hide her shame. The years had brought Tara added wisdom, though time hadn't dulled the pain of James' rejection or the aching pleasure in their remembered passion. Meeting him again was a shock, but Tara was determined never to let him know the price she had paid in silence for her first and only love.
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