Virginia Winchester is simply the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. He’s hooked the minute he sees her, like a fish on an invisible line, drawn by a mysterious force.
This must be it, he thinks as he undresses her, the pull of physical attraction so strong he’s drunk on it. Three months later, they are married; and for as long as their honeymoon lasts, he’s the happiest man in the world.
(He never thought she’d turn out to be this spiteful. It’s hardly his fault if he can’t resist the pull of all the equally lovely ladies out there.)
Lord Greg Powers is everything he wishes he could be – strong, handsome, his hunting prowess the stuff of legend. Men and women admire him, and naturally so does Roy – with a murkier undercurrent he daren’t put a name to.
(It’s not that he hasn’t thought about it, on many a solitary night in Africa; and yet, he’s no lovely lady, and neither is Greg for that matter.)
The pull is definitely there, but he finds he can easily ignore it. When all is said and done, he can’t picture himself spending his day-to-day life with the likes of Lord Greg.
Dr Martine Ladyface is such an unexpected surprise, and an extremely pleasant one on top of that. For a while, she seems to really get him – not only she doesn’t tell him off for his puns, she even responds with some of her own, and while Roy occasionally doesn’t get it, that doesn’t make the experience any less thrilling.
She’s smart and confident and attractive, and he’s almost willing to believe this might be it – the relationship he finally, genuinely settles in, against all odds.
Then he meets her sister, and it all falls apart like a house of cards.
Griselda Promogrew is everything he’s ever looked for in a woman – like a Roy Steel in female form, only cleverer, with a body which ought to be carrying a licence to kill of its own.
For the longest time, he believes with all his heart; that he’s in love, they’re the real deal, and he’s going to propose to her. It’s only as the ground’s heaving and the sky falling over them that the illusion shatters in a thousand pieces, leaving only horror in its wake.
Never again, he vows, swallowing around the sour taste of bile in his throat.
Lorrimer Chesterfield is – well, he’s not saying he’s the yin to his yang, but he’s not not saying it, either.
The point is that over the past five years, he’s come to rely on him more than anyone else, ever. Lorrimer’s his best friend, and he thought that much would never change; except he’s got that there Suki now, and there’s no place for Roy, not like it used to, before.
He can’t blame Lorrimer, of course he won’t; but this, he finds, is hurting him more than being forced to relive the trauma of losing Griselda, again and again.