Once Touched, Never Forgotten by Natasha Tate

Title: Once Touched, Never Forgotten

Author: Natasha Tate

Genre: Contemporary romance

Synopsis: Super-exec Stephen Whitfield and high-flying colleague Colette Huntington both understand the rules of their attraction. One: it will never be anything more than a fling. Two: either can walk away at any time they wish.

Only, Colette hasn’t counted on walking away pregnant. And, to Stephen’s frustration, after Colette, other women don’t seem to provide quite the same satisfaction.

Now Stephen’s going to lay down some new rules—rules that will most definitely give him the opportunity to indulge his craving for Colette once more.
I liked that this book began with the female lead, Colette, choosing to walk away from what she thought was a pointless situation.
However when Colette and Stephen next meet five (5) years later, he manipulates her so quickly and easily into being his mistress upon discovering they have a daughter together, that I had to question if Colette knew her rights. 

Yes, I understand and appreciate Stephen’s anger and need for revenge, plus his far healthier bank account balance but Colette is five years older, a single mother, and should therefore have put up more of a fight. He offers marriage, she counters with offering to be his mistress. 

Tate crafts their story well and their interaction with their daughter, Emma, came across as genuine but there were far too few scenes of the family or even of Stephen and his child together.
Especially since Emma ‘stole the show’ in a couple of scenes and because her very existence was the plot line that leads to Stephen and Colette passionate reunion.
Overall a good way to pass the time but not a book I would hold on to. Interesting since other readers have said they didn’t enjoy a previous book by Tate but loved OTNF. 
Grade: B+
Excerpt: No.Shocked denial cinched Colette’s stomach into a tight knot and she couldn’t seem to draw a proper breath. As she stared at the telltale blue line, the second in as many hours, Colette’s trembling hands nearly dropped the evidence she wanted so desperately to deny.How had this happened?

It doesn’t matter. It’s happened.

She couldn’t avoid the truth any longer. One test might lie. But two? Never. Shaking, and feeling slightly ill, she placed the plastic testing wand on her flat’s scarred bathroom counter and then braced her quivering arms against the sink.

She was pregnant.

With Stephen Whitfield’s child.

Colette closed her eyes, leaned her forehead against the cool mirror, and tried to think through her options. As if she had any.

She knew Stephen. She knew his plans for the future, and they didn’t include her. They never had. How many times had he told her of his decision to never marry or have children? He liked his solitary life, loved his freedom. It allowed him to focus on business without messy, emotional distractions.

Through a tacit, unspoken agreement, neither of them had pressed for more. Neither had asked questions the other didn’t wish to answer. The past remained in the past; they lived for the moment. It was safer that way. For today, for the duration of their affair, he’d accepted her, pleasured her, and made her feel wanted. She’d told herself it was enough.

And it had been enough.

Until she’d fallen in love.

Closing her eyes, she inhaled sharply. She couldn’t change the rules on him. She wouldn’t. They’d been too careful to avoid talk of each other’s pasts, too careful to make no demands the other wouldn’t wish to fill. Though she suspected he carried scars no mere female could heal, she certainly was in no position to try. She wouldn’t be naive enough to offer.

But you’re going to have his child.

It didn’t matter.

No way would she be one of those women who trapped a man into marriage by getting herself pregnant. No way would she repeat her mother’s mistakes and put her child in the middle of a loveless marriage. And she knew Stephen well enough to know that he’d demand just that. He’d forfeit his future for his child, and then hate them both because of it.

Curving a hand over her abdomen, she felt a rush of pro-tectiveness bring the sting of tears to her eyes. It didn’t matter that her baby’s father had no desire for children. It didn’t matter that their fling was supposed to be a temporary indulgence with no strings. No expectations. No future.

She’d make her child feel loved regardless of the circumstances of her conception. No baby of hers would ever feel like a pawn in a marriage built on coercion, obligation and resentment.

She had to break things off with Stephen. Today.”

 

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