What can I say about this latest installment in the
Invincible Women series from author Francis Ray? Ray's
romances are artful, sensual, craft-filled storytelling
feats. In IF YOU WERE MY MAN, Raphael Dunlap—a walking
specimen of controlled passion—connects with restauranteur
Nathalyia Fontaine based on a dare from his fellow police
officers. Sparks immediately fly, as Nathalyia, with the
need and hole in her heart left by the death of her husband,
unleashes everything that Rafael has kept bridled. Still,
these two are challenged to overcome the vow they each have
made to remain unattached.
I felt less as though I were reading a well-crafted plot and
more as though I were experiencing the winding, flowing
story of two destined lovers. I loved the subplot romance
between Jake and Clarice, two bartenders at Nathalyia's
restaurant, for its fun and sense of spunk. Throughout this
series, the secondary romance sometimes has been the favored
one, but not here. IF I WERE YOUR MAN was definitely Rafael
and Nathalyia's story.
I find it ironic that the series title focuses on the women,
who are indeed both strong and admirable, but the true stars
of this series are the men (and how it took me five of the
six books to realize it). Even now, as I write this review,
I can hear the refrain from that old Gladys Knight song, "If
I were your woman...and you were my man" repeating in my head.
IF YOU WERE MY MAN captures the mood of that song, just as
it will capture readers' hearts.
Natalya Fontaine has been the sole proprietor of the
restaurant Fontaine since her husband died four years ago.
She hasn't dated anyone in all those years, choosing not to
open her heart again, or risk revealing her dark past. That
is, until she meets Rafael Dunlap.
Rafael is a hostage
negotiator with his own set of problems. Though he loves
women, he vows he'll never marry because his job is just too
unpredictable. He can't imagine leaving a widow and children
behind. But his thinking and game plan of loving and leaving
changes when he meets Natalya. Though she tries to resist
him, Rafael sweeps her into a whirlwind romance. When the
unexpected happens, and Natalya is forced to keep it a
secret, she ends things with Rafael before he can break her
heart. But when Rafael is in harms way, will Natalya resolve
to tell him the truth before it's too late? Or will past
demons keep them apart forever?