Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Sent
One fake relationship . . . Ginny Michaels has always been a good girl and—ever since surviving a school shooting a little over a year ago—hailed a hero. Except she doesn’t feel like a hero. She can’t even have a one-night stand with sexy Wes Dalton properly. When her big city fling resurfaces in her hometown with an intriguing proposition, she’s powerless to resist. A fake relationship is exactly what’s needed to keep her small town’s matchmakers at bay during the upcoming wedding season. If only her attraction to Wes were as easy to ignore.
Too many real kisses . . . Wes Dalton doesn’t have many regrets, and that includes his night with Ginny. But he’s always hoped to strengthen his relationship with his estranged family. When his father’s health takes a bad turn, Wes puts his life on hold and moves to the meddling seaside town of Cape Hope. With his barriers in place—and a beautiful woman to help him hold them up—he’s prepared for anything. Or so he thinks. Despite his determination to leave as soon as the summer is over, those fake kisses are starting to feel an awful lot like the real thing.
This story has several elements that help create a great start to a series; we have a pretend romance and a second chance with an estranged family all wrapped up with small town humor and fun.
Ginny Michaels is trying to get past a horrible incident that took place over a year ago, a shooting at her school that involved her students. A young boy shot her and another and then tragically killed himself. So she jumps at the chance to get away to attend her cousin’s bachelorette party where she is hoping she can let loose a little. When her sister and cousin dare her to talk to the mysterious Mr. Dangerous sitting by himself in the bar, she finally gets up her nerve and follows him as he goes outside, hmmm a stormy hook-up.
Wes Dalton is heading to Cape Hope to help his father who has Alzheimer’s and his half brothers, Jake, TJ and Seth. He spent many summers with his dad while growing up but lived most of the time with his mom in Las Vegas. He always felt like an outsider with his brothers and has not helped much in the past as he was growing his large Real Estate business, but he is determined to change this and be a part of their family from now on. When Ginny and Wes meet again in Cape Hope, they agree to help each other out by pretending to date throughout the summer, do lies ever work?
This is a great start to an engaging series; I enjoy the small town feel of Cape Hope with interesting characters that add to the coziness. We are also treated to family drama and some danger as Ginny’s past comes back to haunt her.
I was not sure I connected with Ginny right away, she has some self-confidence problems and has not really dealt with the shooting, yet she is willing to have a one-night stand (less than an hour) with a total stranger (a sexy and hot stranger) in an ally. But after I got to know her, I saw something different and I grew to like her personality. She is smart and funny and is trying to get back to her old self after the shooting derailed her a bit. Her sister Julie has a lot to do with getting her to push beyond her comfort zone and although she may grumble, she still goes along with what Julie advises.
I liked Wes right away, he comes to town to make amends and build a relationship with his father and brothers, something he is craving at this time. His mother recently died and he feels adrift without family grounding him and wishes to reconnect. There are several instances we can feel his loneliness while reading his POV, at times he will be watching his brothers and seeing how close they are and he wants that. When Wes and Ginny first meet, the attraction is immediate and they get swept up with their feelings, but when reality settles in and they see each other in Cape Hope they take a step back and re-evaluate their situation. They agree to a ruse about dating but the initial attraction is still there although they both fight it. But the two have chemistry together and when they don’t say “ducks”, their scenes sizzle.
The plot progression works well and there is never a slow part, the secondary characters are engaging and of course add to the story and hopefully many of them will be featured in future books in the series. I like his brothers, they have a special bond as they grew up together and have helped their dad through his recent illness but the relationship they form with Wes is promising and I like how things end. The issue with the shooter’s family is interesting and I like the back story but it feels a little rushed and then tied up neatly at the end. Overall I enjoyed the story and I am looking forward to reading more about this town and the characters that live there.
I give Four Weddings and a Break Up by Elyssa Patrick 3.75 stars!