A January Bride. Deborah Raney. 2013. 99 pages. Zondervan. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] As part of a “A Year of Weddings,” I read A January Bride. The second book in the series, this novella tells the story of author Madeline and widower Arthur as their friend, a spry octogenarian affectionately known as Ginny, plays matchmaker. Madeline’s house is being renovated, which doesn’t suit her need for peace and quiet while she’s writing. Arthur has a bed & breakfast that sits largely empty while he works as an English professor. When Ginny calls on Arthur to let Madeline use his house while she recuperates from a sprained ankle and tries to beat a publishing deadline. Competing schedules keep the two from meeting, but they exchange almost daily notes, getting to know one another from afar. The only catch is they’re both greatly misinformed about the other – they both think they’re talking to someone Ginny’s age, when the reality is that they’re both barely middle-aged. Even more complicated is that they’ve actually met one another and didn’t even realize it.
Bedding the Billionaire. Kendra Little. 2012. 173 pages. Amazon Digital Services. [Source: personal copy.] My feelings about Bedding the Billionaire are complicated at best. Overall, it is well-written, but that is only if you consider the structure apart from the story itself. The book was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I simply could not suspend my disbelief because of the plot. The main character, Abbey, quits her job and ends moonlighting as a prostitute for her PI friend. The result is that she sleeps with womanizing husbands … and accidentally sleeps with the wrong man on her first go.
Only With You. Lauren Layne. 2014. 369 pages. Forever. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Only With You sucked me in and stole my entire day and I loved every second. It explores the complicated relationship between law student-turned cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton and Gray Wyatt, a stoic businessman, that results from a brief encounter while trapped in a Las Vegas hotel’s elevator. When the Sophie and Gray formally meet a few weeks later, it’s obviously shocking for them, but sets in motion a chain of events that leave the two at each others’ throats and hearts. Although their reintroduction is a bit of a cliche, Layne weaves together a solid story.
Best Kind of Broken. Chelsea Fine. Best Kind of Broken is something like an emotional roller-coaster. The kind that starts off by hurtling you into the air at 75mph before throwing you through 360 degree loops. In this case, that means the first intro you get to the characters is when Sarah/”Pixie” is threatening to suffocate her next door neighbor, Levi, who is working on her aunt’s ranch for the summer. The two have a history together — one that is incredibly tormenting and which neither have properly come to terms with. I found this to be an easy read, but also one that had me emotionally invested in its main characters. Pixie and Levi are incredibly broken, likely a result of their ineffective (read: nonexistent) ways of coping. The two were practically raised together – Levi’s wholesome family was a safe haven from Pixie’s emotionally traumatizing mother. While being together could ease their pain, simply being around each other is a constant, painful reminder of how good their lives used to be.
Mile High. Sally Clements. 2013. 87 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Mile High is a shorter romance novel that recounts the courtship of rich, handsome “Kill,” and Cori, a financial advisor. Their first meeting is physically charged, as Cori coaches Kill through his first flight after a traumatizing accident he experienced five years earlier. It’s even more charged once the two realize and act on their attractions to one another. As luck would have it, the two are bound for the same Mediterranean island, although for strikingly different purposes. Cori is trying to relax away the effects of a terrible relationship and Kill is there to keep his sister from making what he considers to be the biggest mistake of her life. This gives them ample opportunity to explore their attraction further, but the two still struggle to choose how far it will actually go.