Heroine who makes a conscious effort throughout the story to stop being a doormat and a vulnerable hero with some asshole moments who acknowledges and feels bad about being an asshole. Add some adorable flirty dialogue as a relief from the angst, like:"Since when are gowns deadly?" [...] "Shoes are regular serial killers, but dresses are harmless," she teased.He couldn't help the twitch of humor at the corner of his mouth. "I've seen dresses short enough to take a man down. Whiplash is a common occurrence."Her smile grew. "I nearly died of embarrassment in a bathing suit once. True story."This Presents just worked for me. I won't go into the plot, except to say that it's mostly typical HP fare. What makes this one great is that hero and heroine are so recognizably human in their reactions to the drama they're mired in, and that so many HP staples are turned on their heads. Lauren is aware that her timidity and willingness to be walked over are a problem, and we get to see her changing step by step, with a few backslides along the way. Her dead husband was, conveniently, a cheating jackass, but--and this is truly miraculous for this type of story--she was sexually satisfied with him despite being otherwise unhappy. She even says once that with her husband away so much she sometimes wished she were the type to cheat. A heroine with a libido independent of true love's aphrodisiac properties? How in the world did this get published? Paolo is never allowed to be a jerk without an explanation, and his behavior never crosses the line into unforgivable. The man want Lauren and is seriously terrified of getting hurt. And he's a rich banker who actually has to work hard, and doesn't have the freedom to just live as he pleases without consequences. This story is what I hope for every time I open an HP--soapy, over-the-top plot with characters that talk and act like real people.