Dustin Merriweather travels to Gold Creek, CO to finalize the sale of his family’s property there to developer Chad Paltrow. He breezes in accompanied by model, Chantal. Quickly put the deal to bed and get the hell out and back to L.A. is Dustin’s plan. When he’s accosted on the street by an adorable whirlwind asking him to kiss her or hide her he’s intrigued. When he discovers she’s Amy Dane, the reporter who’s written a series of articles against the sale, Dustin finds himself in a position he’s never experienced before; caring about someone other than himself.
KISS ME is the second in the Merriweather sibling contemporary trilogy. We first meet Dustin in SEDUCE ME, Luke and Faith’s story, Luke being the eldest. Malice aforethought describes Dustin’s attempts to discredit Faith with Lucas. Dustin is what I call hateful. I didn’t like him at all. There’s a fine line between being an ass and being malicious, Dustin crossed that line. However, in the short interim between SM and KISS ME, Dustin has started to deal with some harsh familial truths that came to light near the end of SM. Lucas’s example, even though they can’t be considered close, has caused Dustin to see himself, his life and his choices in a less than flattering light. Dustin knows he’s not a good person but does he really want to make the concerted effort necessary to change?
What Dustin needs is a catalyst to complete his transformation before it’s too late~ enter Amy.
Amy never really had a childhood. From the age of fifteen, with the help of Marge, the neighbor who raised her, she’s has been raising her twin sisters. Her mother, Pamela, claims to be Amy’s sister and is always chasing the next rich husband. Pamela’s convinced money can buy happiness. Amy knows it can’t. She’s independent, loyal, loving, giving, realistic, stubborn, does the right thing even when it hurts, and has a stainless steel spine. She crosses Dustin when she speaks out against the Merriweather sale of Gold Creek, CO, to developer Chad.Paltrow. She has too much at stake to allow herself to wimp out or be intimidated. I loved Amy.
For all Dustin’s wealth and standing in Society, Amy outclasses him in every way.
“I’m visiting you,” he declared, “next time I’m in Colorado. I don’t care what you say.”
“I don’t want you to.”
“The twins and I have some issues with people who leave us.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought about that.”
“We need stability in our relationships—especially now, when Pam is here.”
“You couldn’t possibly. We have to love people who love us back, people who like us enough to stick around.” She studied him, her probing gaze piercing and astute. “Do you like us enough to stick around, Dustin?”
“You know I can’t,” he murmured. “I have a whole life in LA, and I have to get home to it.”
“Are you happy there?”
“Of course, I’m happy.”
“Then I’m glad for you.”
Was he happy? He didn’t think so. His wealth allowed him entrée into movie circles, where he could surround himself with the famous and infamous. But it was all a chimera, fueled by greed and conceit and the pursuit of money and celebrity.
He could live there or anywhere. Why not pick up and move to Colorado? What was stopping him?
The pathetic fact was that he couldn’t commit himself to her.
She was so extraordinary, and her past had been so difficult. She deserved someone better than him, someone who would love her madly, who would remain with her through thick and thin.
He wasn’t that guy. He was fickle and undependable and disloyal, ceaselessly hoping that a more auspicious opportunity would present itself. When it did, he seized it. Though he might promise fidelity, he would never keep that promise.
He’d never treat her that way. He liked her too much.
“You’re supposed to stroke my ego and beg me not to go,” he said.
“Since you refuse to plead with me, I’m not sure how to act.”
“Act how you always do. Sneak out in the middle of the night.”
As that was his typical behavior, he couldn’t protest that she was painting him in a bad light. He tried a different argument.
The above excerpt is a prime example of Amy’s strength and willingness to do the right thing despite the pain. It also shows Dustin’s inner battle. That he admits he likes Amy is huge. The old Dustin really didn’t care enough to like or dislike anyone or thing, possibly including even himself. The simple fact that Dustin is with Amy is evidence of how far he’s come. Dustin only dated models, actresses and other “beautiful people”; like Chantal, the beautiful, grasping, selfish model who’ll do almost anything to sink her claws into Dustin and his fortune. Amy wouldn’t even have been on his radar. Combine Amy with his consideration of the effects his business decisions have at the human level and an epiphany while talking to Jacquelyn; we begin to see just how much Dustin is growing.
Dustin is well on his way to becoming a decent person, in spite of himself, and no longer ranks right up there with spiders on my list.
Have to wonder if we’ll get to see how much further Dustin has evolved in LOVE ME, the final book in the trilogy.
Edgy, tense, and sexy with characters who take circumstances and emotions to the edge KISS ME is bound to keep you glued.
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