by Judith McNaught
Series: Second Opportunities #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on July 1, 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
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It’s been ages since I read Paradise for the first time and I was a totally different person back then. I was curious to see if this book would live up to the love that I had for it back in the day. Judith McNaught is really good at bringing the angst and that is evident in this one. Matt Farrell grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and fell in love with a girl far above him in station. When betrayal shakes him to his core, he works his ass off to become richer than any of those snobs at the country club he used to work at. Now, he’s a corporate raider who is at the top of the food chain and is treated like a King. Everything is different now, he’s not longer that poor boy that Meredith left behind all those years ago but when Meredith shows up in his life again, his life is all shaken up again. Matt and Meredith had a really intense and passionate romance when they were younger. When it was just the two of them, they were perfect. I enjoyed seeing them together again and just as before, I was a complete sucker for Matthew Farrell. The angst in this book really held up for me and that surprised me because though I don’t remember everything from my last re-read, I do remember Meredith getting on my nerves and though she did annoy me, for the most part, I was just wrapped up in their world all over again and it was lovely. When Meredith shows up in Indiana to tell Matt the truth about all of those years ago, my heart damn near burst out of my chest. I cried and cried and cried like she was confessing to me. Goodness, Matt’s reaction to all of that, gah, like I said, I was such a sucker for him. This scene gets me every time:
Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana's steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that still haunted his memory... Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.
A cool, poised executive in her family's legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell -- and their brief, ill-fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other -- and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?
“If you’ll kiss me back,” he whispered huskily, brushing his lips along the curve of her jaw, “I’ll make it six million. If you’ll go to bed with me tonight,” he continued, losing himself in the scent of her perfume and the softness of her skin, “I’ll give you the world. But if you’ll move in with me,” he continued, dragging his mouth across her cheek to the corner of her lips, “I’ll do much better than that.” Unable to turn her face farther because his arm was in the way, and unable to turn her body because his body was in the way, Meredith tried to infuse disdain in her voice and simultaneously ignore the arousing touch of his tongue against her ear. “Six million dollars and the whole world!” she said in a slightly shaky voice. “What else could you possibly give me if I move in with you?” “Paradise.” Lifting his head, Matt took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and forced her to meet his gaze. In an aching, solemn voice he said, “I’ll give you paradise on a gold platter. Anything you want— everything you want. I come with it, of course. It’s a package deal.” Meredith swallowed audibly, mesmerized by the melting look in his silver eyes and the rich timbre of his deep voice. “We’ll be a family,” he continued, describing the paradise he was offering while he bent his head to her again. “We’ll have children … I’d like six,” he teased, his lips against her temple. “But I’ll settle for one. You don’t have to decide now.” She drew in a ragged breath and Matt decided he’d pushed matters as far as he dared for one night. Straightening abruptly, he chucked her under her chin. “Think about it,” he suggested with a grin.”Gah, this book is an old school contemporary romance that will knock you on your ass and make you sit up and take notice of all things Judith McNaught. She’s an OG when it comes to writing romance novels and Matt Farrell is one of the many things that she did right. I absolutely love this book and though it’s not perfect, it’s still one of my favorites from McNaught. I definitely recommend.