You’re ready to leave after a one-night stand, and you’re figuring out how to—shock horror—leave your number and ask him to be your fake boyfriend for your sister’s wedding this weekend.
When he wakes up.
Well, that happened to me. And over coffee and omelets, I found myself a date.
Which was how I ended up arriving at the wedding with a guy I knew nothing about.
I didn’t know his last name, or how we met, or how long we’d been dating. I didn’t know where he grew up, what he’d majored in in college, or how many siblings he had.
I sure as hell didn’t know he was Adam Winters, hotshot hockey player, and not only my father’s favorite player, but my little nephew’s freakin’ idol.
Which means I’m in trouble. Big, big trouble.
My mother is suspicious, my sister is bridezilla on crack, and my grandpa will tell anyone who’ll listen about his time in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
I have to keep this up for four days, and then Adam and I can return to our regular lives, where we don’t have sex whenever we’re alone, and my family aren’t interrogating him over his intentions with me.
At least, that’s the plan.
And we all know what happens to those.
No Rating/A 'Just-Not-Feeling-It' DNF
Poppy and Adam had a ONS after meeting in a bar. She needs date for her sister’s big wedding. He agrees. She doesn’t know he’s a pro athlete.
Full disclosure, there’s an author’s note at the beginning reaffirming it’s an unedited, unproofed ARC. Nothing uncommon there. But then it proceeds to request that reviewers skip over any mistakes (specified as “typos, incorrect words, misuse of words, and facts”). I generally don’t dwell on minor, infrequent, and inconsequential grammatical mistakes that a final proof will likely fix but “facts!!!” WTF? I had to wonder if that was another wording mistake.
I did quite a few double takes or rereads of paragraphs. In the first chapter alone, there were more unproofed sentences than there should be. My genuine advice to any author (and this comes from my years working in the publishing industry as well as studying composition and literature in college)—first impressions are important, and that first chapter can set the whole tone. Re-reading sentences and playing ‘what’s the missing word’ guessing games is distracting. And if I’m being honest about my reading experience, which is what every reviewer should do, then it’s only fair to mention how and why it kept me from engagement with the actual story. Aside from correcting grammatical mistakes in my head, I also kept trailing off pondering questions germane to the plot as I continued on past the first chapter.
Like why didn’t Adam clue her in? He seemed like a decent, laid back guy, and I got that he found it refreshing that Poppy didn’t recognize him nor was she attracted to him because of his celebrity status. But after he agreed to be her fake boyfriend for a long weekend family wedding, it made no sense that he didn’t inform her of his identity. Heck, they exchanged phone numbers but not last names?
Also, if Rosie and Mark have been high school sweethearts and have a 6 year old son together, why would Rosie say she didn’t feel bad leaving Mark with her parents at a pre-wedding event so he could get a “warm up” in what they were like? This dude has clearly known the family for years if he sired their elementary age grandkid, married yet or not.
And perhaps most importantly, why did all these adults let a woman old enough to be a grandmother dictate so much drama??? It’s contrived, perhaps, in many cases. For example, Poppy narrates that her sister is her mom’s favorite, and when Adam’s identity is revealed she fears her mother will accuse her of trying to upstage her sister’s wedding. But Poppy and Rosie appear to get along, Rosie being just as annoyed with her mother as Poppy. So why didn’t someone just tell the women to shove it? Or better yet, not invite her to the wedding!
And maybe they do give her the boot. (God I hope they do.) But it was 22% and I still wasn’t making a significant connection with the characters or feeling any substantial chemistry between the hero and heroine. I was also pretty meh on the whole ‘awkward’ theme. I don’t care for heroines who have been dumped on, have a history of embarrassments, or simply can’t stand up for themselves. It’s not endearing, and it feeds a culture of depicting women as the lesser sex—less confident, less capable… hell even unable to hold a conversation with a naked man she already had sex with or to choose a career based on her own interests rather than as a way to avoid or spite her mother.
On the plus side, the safety factor on this one seemed fine from the parts I read, and I think it had potential. It appears to be a light-hearted, upbeat romance, which I typically enjoy. This one just didn’t work for me. I finally decided to throw in the towel when I was losing interest and the story reminded me that I have an awesome family (hubs & kids) who deserve my attention more.
“Ready?” Adam strolled out of the bedroom, playing with the button on his shorts.
“For lunch with my mother?” I turned and stared at him, expressionless. “I’m thrilled.”
He laughed and adjusted the short sleeve of his white shirt. “It’s what—an hour? Then she’ll be back snapping at your sister’s ankles. Surely you can give Rosie a break for sixty whole minutes.”
“Oh no. I’ve done that guilt trip my entire life. I’m not getting it from my fake boyfriend, too.” I waggled my finger at him before turning back to the mirror to finish my make-up. “And yes, I can give her a break, but it doesn’t mean I need to be happy about it.”
“Do you ever get along?”
“Yes. When I’m in Orlando and she’s in Key West.”
“I mean when you’re together.”
“In the same room together, or having a conversation together?”
“Now you’re just being awkward, Red.”
I brushed a final stroke of mascara over each of my eyes, then stopped, wand in hand, and met his eyes in the reflection of the mirror. “Given how you ended up here, I would have thought you knew that awkward was my default mode.”
“That was cute-awkward. This is attitude-awkward.”
“How do you know there’s a difference?”
He pointed at himself. “Four sisters. I grew up with attitude-awkward. I could recognize it blindfolded with hands cuffed behind my back from two hundred miles away.”
“Wow. Someone’s cocky.”
“I thought we established that the night we met.”
My cheeks flushed. Damn it. Why did I have to blush like an idiot? Oh, that’s right. I was a redhead and so pale I was a distant relative of Casper the Friendly Ghost, which meant you could see my blushing a mile off.
“You’re adorable when you blush.” Adam grinned.
“Thank God,” I drawled. “That was my life goal. Be adorable. Now, I can get it in neon lights over my bed.”
Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels and has been translated into several different languages. She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs. Emma prides herself on her realistic, snarky smut, with comebacks that would make a PMS-ing teenage girl proud. Yes, really. She's that sarcastic.