This was the first book I have read by Carly Bloom, and when I tell you that I went out and started reading all of the other books in the series immediately, I am not lying. In the span of about 24 hours, I read two full-length books in this series and one novella. I have one more book to go, and I'll probably be finished reading it by this time tomorrow. If this isn't a testament to how wonderful her writing is, I don't know what is. It was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I have had a in a long time, for many reasons that I'm not even able to articulate. For starters, the main characters are unique and colorful, with personalities that had great depth and backstories that were complex and real. The side characters were wonderful and so genuine. They brought the small town of Big Verde to life. At one point, I was reading the book and was hearing all this commotion in my urban environment. I leaned my head against the book and just said, "I need this town to be real so I can go there. Today." I am a small town girl living in a city, and these books just drive home that fact.
Beau Montgomery has always had the hots for his babysitter. Four years older and twice as smart, Alice Martin never thought of Beau as anything other than a kid. He even tried asking her to dance once and was turned down flat in front of his friends. He's been around the block with many women, but he's never been able to forget his childhood crush. When his hidden dyslexia becomes a problem at work, he needs help, and the only person he can think of to help is the smartest person he knows - Alice. Alice has always assumed Beau had no interest in anything serious, so a future with him wasn't something she had ever though about. When he asks for help, she sees an opportunity for a short-term problem and offers help in exchange for him being her wedding date. Since he doesn't think of her in a romantic way, it shouldn't be a problem, right? However, soon they begin to realize their feelings for each other aren't exactly platonic, and what everyone assumes is a real relationship actually begins to turn into one. But it has an expiration date, contract and all, and everyone knows the magic ends at midnight after the wedding. Or does it?
Beau and Alice felt like a very opposites attract sort of romance - at first. Beau appeared to be a very laid back, devil-may-care sort of person who had simple goals and not much discipline. Alice was a librarian who had a no-nonsense view on life and relationships, who lived for her work, her friends, and a self-partnered life. Of course, my initial impressions turned out to be wrong on a few things. Beau desperately wanted to be useful and continue his work as a co-foreman alongside his brother, and he always covered up what he felt was his stupidity by joking around. Because he never addressed his dyslexia, he was unsure if he could manage things when his brother, who had been his crutch all these years, decided to start a new job somewhere else. I think that's why he never felt anything could happen with Alice, because he felt she was so far above him. And poor Alice, she was so hyper-focused on the literal that she missed the nuance around why Beau acted the way he did. I loved how she softened as they hung out together, and he enjoyed her quirky ways. She had never been with a man before, and at the age of 32, she knew things based on reading and not on experience. Beau was the perfect counterpart for her, and the sensuality between the two of them was off the charts. As they fell in love, so did I.
While this is the third book in the series, it can certainly be read on its own. However, after reading the first book in the series immediately following this one, I can safely say that you'll want to read the others anyway. Consider starting at the beginning (which is in the second half of this book if you're purchasing the 2-in-1 special).
**I received a free book from the publisher and this is my honest review.**