There’s something about Martin’s writing style that just WORKS for me, and this was another great example. I loved the light, quirky feel and the grumpy/sunshine dynamic. I’ve also never read a book quite like this one – it’s an interesting mix of tropes, with a dash of enemies to lovers, second chance, fake relationship, Vegas wedding, and opposites attract all mixed together. Ultimately, this feels most like a second chance romance, with a touch of angst juxtaposed against all of the lighthearted humor. These two former frenemies/co-workers got married in Vegas ten years ago, and they’ve got very different interpretations of the situation. While one element of their backstory rubbed me the wrong way, the vast majority of this was GREAT. The subtle angst underneath the rom com makes this a layered and interesting read, while the excellent writing kept me hooked along the way.
The story follows Benny and Francine, two total opposites who worked together one summer. Francine was a ballerina on the rise, while Benny was an awkward tech nerd who always seemed to be scowling. It’s not until ten years later that Francine discovers something very important – they’re married. Apparently, a drunken night on the town led to marriage, and Francine had no idea. When she seeks out Benny in hopes of having a quick divorce, Francine gets more than she bargained for. Turns out, Benny knew they were married the whole time – and she makes a very convenient wife. Benny is now a tech mogul who has schooled his awkwardness into submission, and he’s more closed off than ever.
At the surface, this is a light and fun rom com – there’s plenty of humor, and it plays up the tropes. But Martin excels at writing stories that dig a little deeper, so there’s a lot more going on. We see how the years have changed these two, and how vastly different their responses to the night in Vegas were. I’m not usually one to enjoy miscommunication, but it does work here – this felt fresh and unique is so many ways. I was fascinated by Benny; he’s spent years molding himself into a different person, and he’s completely closed himself off to Francine. I loved the cinnamon roll nerd hidden underneath his alpha exterior, and the complexity of his character is one of the best parts of this book. The opposites attract dynamic was also great, as is their shared history. These two have such chemistry, and their connection is obvious. It’s a unique, bingeable read – and I had no trouble devouring it in one sitting. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this lighthearted romance.
Minor spoilers for those curious about the safety: my knee jerk reaction was to feel a little icky about it. Francine wasn’t aware that she was married, so that’s one thing… but Benny did. The press also knows he’s married, so, theoretically, every woman he hooked up with during the years apart thought he was cheating on his wife (which he kinda was). Realistically, he hadn’t seen his wife (who he never slept with) in years (and she left him), so I’m grudgingly okay with this. But not every reader will be. There’s no OW/OM drama at all, but that aspect of their history is important to the story – and I actually think it’s better for it. The romantic in me doesn’t necessarily agree, lol.
Francine is stunned when she discovers she’s been married – for the last ten years! – to Benny, the surly and nerdy frenemy she worked with one summer in Vegas.
How in the world did they end up married? They could hardly stand each other! Though there was that drunken night….
She tracks down Benny, sure he’ll be as shocked about the marriage as she is, sure he’ll be happy to dissolve their union ASAP so she can get the documents she desperately needs.
But Benny is now a cold and wolfish billionaire. And yes, he’ll sign the paperwork…for a price: she has to spend the next three weeks playing his doting wife.
About the Author:
Annika Martin loves fun, dirty stories, hot heroes, and wild, dramatic everything. She enjoys hanging out in Minneapolis coffee shops with her writer husband, and also likes birdwatching at her bird feeder alongside her two stunningly photogenic cats, especially when she should be writing. She’s heavy into running, music, saving the planet, taking long baths, and consuming chocolate suckers. She’s worked a surprisingly large number of waitressing jobs, and has also worked in a plastics factory and the advertising trenches; her garden is total bee-friendly madness and her most unfavorite word is nosh or possibly fob. A NYT bestselling author, she has also written as RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.
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