Last Man in Texas

The Last Man in Texas (Malloy Men, Book 1) (Harlequin Superromance #918) - Jan Freed 31yo heroine quits her 2nd-in-command job at most-eligible-bachelor Hero’s company after 10 years of starting the company with him. She realizes that Hero has never seen her as a business partner or a woman and she’s tired of waiting for him to change. Hero freaks out when she quits and pleads with her to stay until their important presentation. Heroine agrees only if he helps snag 4 dates with another eligible bachelor. Hero agrees but soon becomes uncomfortable with her dating another man. Will Hero’s changing feelings translate into love?

This was an ok romance by Freed but I ended mostly feeling sorry for heroine. Their romance was pretty much one-sided. Heroine was an independent & intelligent career-woman but she was codependent & a romantic doormat with Hero. She waited & watched Hero date other women for 15 years while working hard to help him with his business. Hero knew she had a long-time crush on him but he treated her as an asexual business partner and buddy when convenient. He didn’t show much interest in her as a person or a friend for 15 years and it was only when she threatened his security in his precious company & saw her with less clothing that he started seeing her as a woman. He was also at a stage where serial dating was boring him. Essentially Hero’s attraction towards heroine came out of convenience & his insecurity. He was ever successful at everything he went after & things were easy for him so this time when many things in his life were unraveling his eyes were finally opening up to heroine’s attractiveness. In a way, it’s a classic codependent story where the codependent heroine stops unconditionally supporting self-absorbed Hero and then their r/s changes. I was hoping she would date other men and truly take a real stab at her emotional independence. But most of what she did was to manipulate things to make Hero jealous & pay attention to her as a woman. The sad thing is Hero saw through her ruse pretty quickly. He felt sorry & upset with her and that’s just not romantic. Ultimately, Hero’s love for heroine was based more on heroine’s loyal friendship & his new physical attraction to her. Their love r/s didn’t have an equal feel. It was all about him and her role was supportive even at the end.

Partially recommended.