Title: Accidental Mistress
Genre: Romance, Drama
Artist: Cathy Williams (original story), Junko Okada
Publisher: Digital Manga, Harlequin K.K. / SOFTBANK Creative Corp.
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Lisa’s hopes for a fantastic vacation are suddenly dashed when she’s involved in a car accident with a handsome stranger outside of the airport. The handsome stranger is named Angus; he makes no secret of the fact that he’s rich and gives Lisa’s compensation for her medical bills, despite her protests. Lisa dismisses him, though she can’t help but note Angus’ good looks. Feeling guilty over ruining Lisa’s holiday, Angus returns with an invitation for a cruise on his private boat. Lisa bristles at the invite but finds herself on Angus’ boat not long after. When a night of passion results in unexpected consequences, how will Lisa and Angus be able to cope?
So this is my first Harlequin manga. I’ll admit that I initially a bit dismissive of these types, and Angus declaring “Honestly speaking, I am rich,” within the first few pages was enough to get a wish-fulfillment eyeroll from me. Still as I kept reading along the less the story felt like a complete waste of time. The story checks all the expected boxes: handsome rich man, curly haired rival, forceful kiss, etc, but I wasn’t quite expecting there actually being consequences to the main characters getting together, i.e. Lisa getting pregnant. Lisa then struggles: should she marry for the sake of the baby or for the sake of love? Angus doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in his family-rearing skills either. Used to having women come after him for his money or looks (or a mixture of both) Angus immediately makes a jackass of an offer — how much to make this all go away? Throw in a jealous rival who has no qualms about getting in between the expecting couple and there’s a lot of drama in just one volume.
Still, it’s obvious from the get go that Lisa and Angus at least have (lustful) feelings for one another; it’s just a matter of actually being honest about wanting more. Lisa’s convinced Angus is a playboy, and it doesn’t take much convincing from the outside to have Angus thinking Lisa is after his money. Both characters spend the latter half of the volume anguishing over the perceptions of one another’s intentions; if you can’t completely suspend your disbelief (or if you find Lisa’s semi-justifiable angst annoying), the story can lose you at this point. Otherwise the story is wish fulfillment drama at its best. It may be a bit predictable, but Accidental Mistress isn’t a bad introduction to the Harlequin brand of manga.