Published June 1, 2004 by Harlequin
TBR Challenge 2012 : January : category romance
The optional theme for this month's TBR Challenge was a category romance, so I pulled this one out of the pile. Having thoroughly enjoyed the O'Sullivan trilogy by Kathleen O'Reilly a couple of years ago, I thought The Longest Night would be a good choice. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.
Cassandra Ward is gorgeous, sexy and single. When Cassandra walks into a room, men notice. Those who pursue her learn quickly that Cassandra is willing to play the game of seduction as long as her rules are followed. No emotions, no strings attached--Cassandra is not interested in a long term relationship and marriage is out of the question. Unfortunately, she operates this way because trying to be seen or treated any other way by men has always been futile. If you can't fight 'em, join 'em.
At one time, Noah Barclay turned down Cassandra's attempt at seducing him, not wanting to be one of her boy toys. However, it's been months and he can't get her out of his head. Determined to win Cassandra's attention and affection in a genuine relationship, he proposes to court her the good old fashioned way with dates and kissing only--something no other man has every offered her. Despite this being risky business of breaking her own rules of emotional attachment, Cassandra cautiously agrees. The question is can she truly open up to someone, be herself and fall in love?
The premise of this story is refreshing--a welcomed reversal of a gender stereotype. Unfortunately, it didn't hold up for me. Neither the characters nor the conflict were fully developed, leaving me wanting more on all those fronts. A lot more. For example, we learn that Cassandra was hurt badly by her first love who couldn't trust her, but we never really learn the details of what actually happened between them. This old love even comes back on the scene to try to win Cassandra back, but their dialogue only implies a major fall out over him trusting her, never fully revealing the story to the reader. Knowing Cassandra's past would have helped me relate to her in the present, and perhaps I would have felt more connected to her story. I kept feeling like there was more to know about her, but that information was just out of reach.
As for Noah, his character fell a little flat and well, one dimensional. Yes, he wanted more from Cassandra than just her body, but why? What was it about her other than his physical attraction did he fall for? Her strength, confidence and intelligence? Those are some of Cassandra's best traits that I saw--but if that's what Noah saw, too, it wasn't spelled out in the story. It would have been nice to know why Noah fell for Cassandra.
Overall, The Longest Night didn't impress me, but it was a quick read that entertained me on a flight home earlier this week.