Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

It is a fairy tale wedding right out of a bridal magazine. Tansy’s step-cousin is a beautiful bride in a gorgeous wedding gown; the groom, Tucker, is the handsome heir to the van Dalen family fortune; the decorations are perfect, the music is perfect, the cake is — of course — perfect. Then, Tansy has to go and catch the bouquet. And if that isn’t enough, in sweeps Gemma van Dalen like a sudden summer storm, a woman whose golden blonde perfection graced several romance novel covers, whose dagger-sharp smile makes Tansy’s heart race. Gemma van Dalen, who has no idea who Tansy is.

Unfortunately, Gemma is also the woman Tansy told her family she’d been dating. For six months. It was a stupid lie, meant to get her out of family dinners. Now, with Gemma grinning down at her like a cat deciding between cream or a canary, all Tansy can do is prepare for the worst. Instead, she finds herself caught in an even bigger lie as Gemma airily declares Tansy her fiancée and whisks her off to dance.

Gemma needs a wife sometime between now and the next three months in order to inherit her grandfather’s fortune and keep it out of Tucker’s greedy hands. And what better bride than someone she’s been”dating” for six months? It’s not like Tansy can say boo; after all, the lie was her idea first.

What begins as a business negotiation — Gemma will give Tansy the money she needs to buy her bookstore from her stepmother and Tansy will go through with the wedding — becomes something else as Tansy finds herself falling in love with the whirlwind that is Gemma van Dalen, all while Gemma finds her own heart being caught in the gentle, caring hands of a very protective and loving Tansy Adams.

What are you supposed to do when you fall in love with your fiancée? Maybe … try dating?

Tansy’s first forays into romance ended tragically when, at sixteen, her older boyfriend not only took pictures of her, but shared them around the school along with salacious details. Her reputation was ruined and the school, not wanting to offend the van Dalen’s family money, covered up what Tucker had done to her. Now, Tansy just wants to be left alone. Dating is hard, but it’s even harder when combined with her trauma, her anxiety, and her inability to trust people. Making up a fake girlfriend to get a respite from her family seemed like such a good idea at the time.

But Gemma, the person, is so much more than Gemma, the idea. Because they’re both in on the same scheme, Gemma sees no reason to lie about anything between the two of them. After all, they have to stay married for two years, and it’s better to go into that as friends and partners. This lack of expectation, with the ground rules laid out before her, makes it easy for Tansy to take a breath and move forward with their shared scheme. Gemma makes it easy, almost too easy, offering up the most breathtaking gifts with the ease of someone for whom money has never been an issue. Her love language is gifts, and Tansy has never really had someone gift her anything. Not the way Gemma does.

Gemma’s childhood has always been one of disappointing her father, who took away all parenting rights from her mother when he divorced her. Gemma acted out for attention, and attention she got. Yelling, insults, boarding school, scathing contempt. With Tansy, it’s different. When a reporter tries using Gemma’s wild past against her, Tansy is right there, defending her. When Gemma opens up about her past — the good and the bad — Tansy doesn’t judge her. Instead, it’s acceptance, acknowledgement that they’ve both been hurt, and steadfast support when she needs it.

This story is a gooey, glittery, frosting-filled romance that does everything I wanted and expected it to do, and does it so well, so effortlessly that it was there and gone in one sitting. You have the fake fiancée, of course, as well as the backstabbing family, the plucky friend group, sparkly revenge, and just desserts. It’s such a light, flaky pastry of a book that will either work for you … or leave you wanting more. The writing is effortless, and the characters are exactly as they appear. The villains are all suitably villainous, and the happy ending feels right out of a Hallmark movie. If you give it a try, I hope you enjoy it!