After the Night by Linda Howard
Why this one: Since all my coworkers on my team at work know that I'm a huge fan of romance, some are quite open to reading some that I recommend. I've been looking for books I think will suit them and I thought this book might work for one of them. But before I brought it to her, I started rereading it again myself.
Steam Level: Perfection! A nice, steamy read.
Blurb: SHE RETURNED TO UNCOVER OLD SECRETS...AND NEW DESIRES --
FAITH DEVLIN -- A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she'd always adored the town's golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard...not to feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn't quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel...
GRAY ROUILLARD -- Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott - and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To care for her was impossible, unthinkable...because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her...
My Thoughts: It's real hard to pin down my favourite Linda Howard book. She's written some pretty amazing books. But whichever one is my current fave, After the Night is right up there with it.
A lot of readers have read this one already since it's one of her older books so instead of going over the storyline, I'll just explain why I love this one so much.
Faith Devlin! I just love the character of Faith. She was raised in one of the trashiest families ever. Her father and older brothers were drunks. Her mother slept around with just about anyone who wanted her and her older sister was headed strongly in the same direction as Renee, her mother. Faith had a younger brother she was almost the sole caretaker for. There is a very painful scene near the beginning of the book which happens in earlier times. Gray, the hero later on in the book, has just learned that his father left town with Renee, Faith's mother and after hearing this, his sister has attempted suicide. Grey is enraged and goes to the shack that Faith and her family live in and with a group of sheriff's men, throws Faith and her family out. As a young Faith has loved Gray her entire life, she is traumatized by this event.
The story then picks up much later when Faith, realizing her mother didn't leave town with Guy all those years ago, travels back to Prescott to confront the place of her childhood trauma and is again thrown out of the hotel room she's staying at by Gray.
Faith is an incredible heroine and my all time favourite. She came from such a bad place and is now a strong young woman who has made a success of her life. She's a lot stronger than she used to be and is able to stand up to Gray even though she still has very strong feelings for him and not let him push her around. Because of the way she was raised, she went in the opposite direction and has a very strong moral code. There is a very compelling attraction between her and Gray and he really puts pressure on her to give into the attraction, but she holds firm, not giving in and allowing him to think her the tramp her mother and sister were. Her strength of character is what makes this book so gripping for me.
Gray! I've seen that a lot of readers don't like his character and I can see why. He's alpha to the max and sometimes he does go beyond to the point of cruelty. There is one scene where he and Faith finally give into their desire for each other and his words to her after are just plain nasty. If Faith wasn't such a strong character herself and able to stand up for herself against him, I wouldn't like him either. But he does have insight into how unfair he has been with Faith in the past, and while Faith doesn't realize it for a while, he does respect her and what she has made of her life.
The love scenes are smokin'. There is one scene that when discussing this books with others who have read it and you say "washroom scene" they immediately know what you are talking about. It's hot and it's funny and it's one of the most memorable sex scenes in romance books. The love scenes are combustible in this book.
The mystery. Faith has come back to town to find out what really happened that night that changed her world only to discover that Guy was never heard from again. She is determined to find out what really happened. In a lot of romantic suspense, one takes a back seat to the other, but in After the Night, both are equally well done.
I think I reread this book once a year - I know it almost off by heart now. But that hasn't lessened my enjoyment of this fabulous book one bit.
Grade: always has been and always will be - 5 out of 5