When museum curator Vena Fenton returns to her small Montana hometown, she’s forced to live under the same roof as Finnian Quaid, the star of more than one teenage fantasy. Finnian is now an environmental lobbyist, making a bid for senate, and is as dreamy as ever.
Finnian needs a more settled image if he wants to get ahead in the polls. In order to do that, he needs a wife. With Vena living under his roof, his problem seems solved. As the romantic sparks fly, there's more at risk than Finnian's political aspirations. Can they keep their eye on the prize, or will their growing love derail them both?
This was my first book by Linda Carroll-Bradd, and I wasn't expecting to laugh and giggle my way through it. This was definitely a welcome surprise from a new to me author. The friends to lovers trope worked well for me with this couple because of their familiarity with one another. Vena and Finn gre up together, and even though they hadn't seen each other in ten years, their reunion conveyed an easy friendship.
I liked Vena. She was quirky, she seemed to have a big heart, always preferring to please others rather than speak up, and she was a trouble magnet. Despite the fun and carefree spirit she portrayed outwardly, she had her fair share of problems - an engagement that recently fizzled out without any fanfare, absent parents who were more interested in their jobs than her, and a gorgeous sister who seemed to outshine her.
If Vena was the storm, then Finn was definitely the steadying rock. He was just as focused on his career, but where she thrived on daydreams of the old frontier and needed her creativity to just flow, Finn needed stability, and he had an image to uphold. I felt he took the drama very well and I loved his patience with her. He wasn't the hard-nosed politician I had been expecting.
Their arrangement sounded simple enough. He would present Vena as his fiancee to keep his matchmaking mother at bay and keep his campaign backers happy. However, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Everything she wore, said or did drew unwanted attention, often with some hilarious results. Enter the part about me laughing. Not only did her behavior start a rumor about a possible mental breakdown, but she also managed to get get arrested, she got drunk, and she was made the spokesperson to protest against police brutality. But my favorite scene had to be the visual of her sneaking home with a cardboard mannequin of a carpenter.
I liked and believed the chemistry between Vena and Finn. The dialogue was good and I felt they communicated well with one another. The story was paced well, as was the development of their relationship. I'm not sure I fully understood the fake fiance spin as the story went on because it never really came into play. No one was ever told that that was her role even when rumors began to spread about them living under the same roof. The story flowed well from one quirky disaster into the next. I did gloss over a few of the scenes that dealt with the historical aspects or with her exhibit. It just wasn't something I was all too crazy about, but it did suit her and the story. It didn't stop me from reading this book in one sitting. There was one steamy, sweet love scene that fit the overall tone of the story without being overly explicit. In fact, I think I swooned a little. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a sweet romance and a small town that loves to gossip and meddle. In a well meaning kind of way.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy from Entranced Publishing for the purpose of an honest review.