By Robyn Thomas
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Publication Date: May 13, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A chef and a rock star. They couldn’t be from more different worlds…
Rock star royalty’s favorite son, Jake Olsen, couldn’t help but interfere after listening to his future brother-in-law talk non-stop about his ex-wife, Beth Carlisle. Jake decides that the only way to get the groom’s mind off his ex-wife is to give her a fake fiancé.
Before Jake can convince Beth of his plan, he’s forced to move in with her to avoid the paparazzi. Their instant attraction makes for a sizzling “first date”, but soon Jake’s fame gets in the way and Beth wants out. Too bad Jake’s figured out just why her ex is so obsessed with her, and he’s afraid he’s not going to be able to give her up either.
Now it’s up to Jake to convince this chef together they make the perfect recipe.
This was one of those times when I wanted to smack my own head against the wall because I wanted to like this book so much and yet there was something so missing that I never quite reached that point where I got beyond the, “ehhh, it was okay,” conclusion. It was like having a craving for chocolate and all I had in the house was a packet of sugar free hot chocolate mix. You know how I am without my chocolate. Not pretty.
One positive thing I can say is that the book starts out poorly and gets better as it goes along. Rock star Jake is concerned because his half-sister Skyla is getting married to someone who seems to still be hung up on his ex. He hangs around her constantly, talks about her all the time and is even talking about moving in with her temporarily to help with her ailing mother. Skyla is perfectly fine with this because she’s not just Beth’s BFF, but she knows Brad and Beth are more sister and brother than anything else, but Jake won’t listen to reason. Reason and Jake have never met, which explains his next move.
Jake decides that in order to keep Beth and Brad apart until the wedding, he’s going to arrange some fake contest in which Beth will have “won” him as her fiancé, thereby taking her off the market. I think the plan was that he’d get to her house and have it announced in the paper so quickly that she’d be besieged by paparazzi and unable to go to Brad. I’m not sure though. It didn’t seem very well thought out, especially considering his band had a weird “no relationships” policy and he’d never met Beth, only seen a photo that got him hot and bothered. For her part, a strange man turns up on her doorstep (she doesn’t know who his band is), announces he’s her new fiancé that she’s won in a contest and after a token, spirited protest, she lets him into her house. Even when he explains what he’s done and why, she gets huffy but then helps him get comfy.
These were characters I really wanted to like and I think if I’d been allowed to believe they were together for more than a couple of days, I might have. Jake was funny and I liked the way he was opening up to the history in Beth’s home. Beth was a chef, had a lot of friends, was funny when she was angry and had a lot of ties to her home. Their chemistry was odd, only because acted like they’d known each other for a long time, thinking in terms of, “as long as I’d known him,” and, “it wasn’t like her,” (those are strictly examples and not necessarily direct quotes). He touched her breast once and compared it to something and she said every time she saw herself, she’d think of that. See, that’s something you say to someone after you’ve had a torrid affair for a week or so, right? Not within 24 hours of meeting them and this is the first time they’ve touched you. Things like that are why I was hitting my head; I kept thinking I was on the edge of really having a good moment with these two then something like that would happen. Argh!
This is a plot I’ve liked before and has elements I could have liked here. However improbable it is, I kind of like stories that have a rock god falling in love with a regular person, odd engagements that end up turning into something real and I’m always a sucker for something set in Australia. I think I’ve already said enough about how I felt about most of the story and unfortunately, the only real reference to it being set in Australia was when a rugby team helped distribute some charity meals. At about the 85 percent mark, things did get better (I know, that’s really late, but it worked for me, somewhat). I actually liked Beth and Jake, they did things that made sense and I even pulled out a tissue. The ending was just as improbable as the beginning, but at least it was funny in a shake-your-head kind of way.
My Rating: C-