More Than Willing - Laura Landon In More Than Willing we see a guilt ridden younger son with a secret he hides from the rest of the world. As the incident which causes him to be guilt ridden happened in his teen years, he naturally see events more severe than an adult would do and it stays way longer with him than it would have with a normal adult. He feels that he has a black soul and believes his family believes so too, so with the logic of the young, he lives up to that reputation. His parent who had missed non-deliberately the opportunity to set him right, finally has enough of his son’s behavior and gives him a sort of farewell gift with an ultimatum, a manor house as a home, he knows his son is avoiding like the plague and a brewery, he won in a card game to afford him a living. Essentially, he provides tough love with a cushion.

The heroine is the daughter of a viscount who had been a younger son and the daughter of a prosperous wine merchant. When the father becomes the heir and has to shoulder responsibility over his inheritance, a brewery and the estate which is entailed but dependant on the brewery, he is unable to live up to the responsibility and it is his wife who steps in. Their oldest daughter witnesses a marriage which was a love match but due to circumstances became a living hell for both parents, the father who no one treats with respect because he does nothing to earn it and the mother who works long days do keep the family going but knowing that with her work she diminishes her husband’s standing in the eyes of those around them and who depend on the brewery for a living.

The hero is rather intelligent and he knows if he shows up at the brewery and announces he is the new owner, he runs the risk of key staff leaving him, so he starts at the bottom and works his way up. Three months into his employment, the heroine who has taken over after her mother’s death and in the absence of the father, recognizes the hero from her one and only season as a spoilt member of society with a rakish reputation. She does not know that her father has lost the brewery in a card game and she is guarding a secret that could make her lose the brewery and with that her and her two younger sisters’ livelily hood.

There is an immediate attraction between hero and heroine but neither wants it to be; the hero believing him to be a bad apple and the heroine sees her father’s behavior and manner in the hero. And so begins the dance around their respective secrets. The heroine tries and to some degree succeeds in helping the hero to confront his demons. He in turn helps her against an unwanted suitor, further the interests of the brewery (which are really his but she does not know that) and helps her keep her secret which he does not know for certain but I believe he guesses.

Later he tries to use this secret in bending the heroine to go along with his wishes. I believe he really loved her that he was afraid to lose her and just did not know better.

Reconciliation with his father, talking with his father about the events which led the hero on his path to almost destruction, helps him to realize his way to win the heroine was doomed with failure and helps him to find the right words to convince her.

Both hero and heroine had legitimate hang-ups. Personally, I would have loved to see them confronting their respective demons a little sooner. The “I am not good enough for her” and the “I don’t want a marriage like my mother” went on a tad too long for my liking. Otherwise, it would have been a 5 star for me.