(based entirely on the other Hathaways in the story, NOT the main couple)
Kev Merripen has loved Winnifred "Win" Hathaway since the first time he saw her, when her eccentric family took him in after the Gypsy tribe his uncle was the leader of left him injured and dying. Having been trained to fight anything and anyone, and been treated no better than a vicious dog, Merripen is hostile and distrustful at first, but the care and kindness of the various Hathaways, especially Win, ensures that the family have his undying loyalty. As the years go by, everyone in the family know that Merripen and Win love each other, but their feelings go unspoken, mainly because Merripen is convinced that Win is far too good for him, and he would harm her if he was with her.
Before Win goes to France with her brother Leo (now a Viscount after a distant cousin died and left Leo the only heir) to France to a health clinic (having never recovered entirely from a bout of scarlet fever that killed Leo's fiancee which sent him into a destructive grief spiral), she tries to confront Merripen. They kiss, but he sends her away, heart-broken. She returns two years later, healthy and more beautiful than ever. Merripen has become cold and bitter, having used all his energies into getting the Hathaway estate into shape. He's not happy to see that Win has brought along the handsome and charming doctor who runs the clinic, and who seems quite determined to marry her, if she'll have him.
This is the second of the books in the Hathaway
series, which each deal with one of the five Hathaway siblings. I read the first one, [b:Mine Till Midnight|693016|Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1)|Lisa Kleypas|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1317064398s/693016.jpg|679345], last year, but didn't review it. While the books in no way require you to have read the others, the story progresses throughout the series, and the characters keep recurring in each other's books. In this case, having the heroine in the previous book, the eldest Hathaway sister, Amelia, and her now husband, the half-Gypsy Cam Rohan, as well as the rakish Leo Hathaway as such prominent recurring characters, is probably what made me bother finishing this book at all, because Win and Merripen - I couldn't care less.
Their angsty relationship, with Merripen's haughty faux-Heathcliff brooding bored the socks off me. He and Win keep confronting each other, kissing passionately, then swearing off each other again and again and again throughout the book. The supposed mysterious family origins of both Cam and Merripen, despite the fact that they are both Gypsies, and both have the exact same tattoo (that is very unusual and that no one else they talk to seems to have come across on anyone else EVER) was another tedious sub-plot, and the reveal that SPOILER... they turn out to be brothers (gasp!) is something I called in the previous book, when it was first revealed that they both had the blasted tattoo in the first place. The further reveal in this book of who their father really was, and what they stand to inherit from him just made me roll my eyes more.
There's also a third sub-plot involving the sort of love triangle with the handsome doctor. He's never really set up as a proper rival, as it's quite clear that Win loves only Merripen, and as soon as she and her family can get it into his thick skull that they're meant to be together, it's clear that the doctor will have to go bye bye. But they have to complicate things with sinister rumours about him maybe killing his first wife, and a preposterous poisoning plot (although this leads to Win honest to God setting fire to a wardrobe with the doctor locked inside to get him to confess, which was insane, but sort of fun).
I would highly recommend anyone thinking of reading the Hathaway series to just skip this book entirely. In the later books, Merripen and Win are married. It's not worth suffering through the angst and drama to see how they got there, just move along to another Hathaway sibling instead.