A fake engagement proves the perfect means to not only get two overbearing exes of their backs, but also allows Meg and Stratton to finally acknowledge what’s been in front of them all along. Each other!
What’s it About?
If you write an email to a friend about a fantasy involving your gorgeous boss, don’t send it to All Staff…
It’s not easy to reinvent yourself, but my thirteen-year-old son and I are ready for a new start. Old Maggie was a magnet for disaster, but New Meg is going to be elegant, sophisticated… and blonde. I’ve landed a dream job at the other end of New Zealand as PA to three rich directors who spoil me rotten, I’ve found a beautiful new apartment, and I feel reborn. Then I write an email to a friend describing in vivid detail what I want to do to the sexiest of the directors—involving melted chocolate and/or whipped cream—and mistakenly send it to All Staff. It turns out that New Meg is pretty much just Old Maggie with different packaging. Some things never change.
I’ve wanted Meg since she first walked into my office with her soft lips and sexy curves, but she wears another man’s ring, so I’ve steered well clear… until now. My mind’s been occupied anyway since I broke up with my ex, Natalie. She’s desperate to have me back and won’t take no for an answer—so I’ve come up with a brilliant plan, to hire a fake fiancée for Christmas to prove to her that we’re done. After sending her hot-as-hell email, Meg confesses the truth about her past, and it gives me an idea. She can pretend to be my fiancée, and I can protect her from the guy she’s running from. Sounds like the perfect plan, right? Her teenage son’s no problem because we get on great. Sharing her room? That’s more of a challenge, but I’ve always had excellent self-control. Yeah, I know. I keep forgetting about the melted chocolate. What an idiot.
A debonair billionaire game developer who doesn’t want children. A single mom with a teenage son. These two might not initially appear to be the likeliest of bedfellows, but literally from opening bell we are rooting for Stratton and Meg to find happiness together as they exchange witty retorts and beguiling smirks that leave our toes curling in delight. Sure, there’s the added complication of the fact Meg is Stratton’s employee, and he’s under the impression she’s happily married, but…we all know it’s just a matter of time before the electricity buzzing between them becomes too much to keep hidden. While it did take longer than I thought it would for all of the chess pieces to fall into place for this game of romance to get well underway, the author does a brilliant job of laying the foundation for us to believe our main characters aren’t just in this for the sex.
An Office Romance with a Twist
Meg and Stratton are undeniably attracted to each other, with both having a feverish desire to make use of Stratton’s desk for something other than typing out business memos. However, there’s also mutual admiration and respect at play. Stratton isn’t just all good looks and money. He’s devoted to both his sister and best friend, and he got to where he is today because of his intelligence and tech savviness. As for Meg, she’s the epitome of poise, as well as a pillar of strength for her young son, yet Stratton comes to learn there is a sexually curious and adventurous side to his seemingly delicate PA. One of the things that drew me to this novel in the first place was the synopsis description of Meg’s disastrous mistake of sending an All Staff email outlining her darkest desires when it came to what she’d like to do to her boss.
I waited in suspense and anticipation for what the fallout might entail, and wondered how soon that chocolate sauce and whipped cream fantasy would come into the mix of things. Surprisingly, even though this email is the impetus for Stratton’s realization that Meg actually isn’t married as she had previously let on, and that she harbors an intense attraction to him, this rather embarrassing email gaffe almost immediately disappears from the story line entirely. It’s referenced a few times here and there as something that made them openly acknowledge their desire for each other, but there wasn’t as much of an awkward aftermath as I was expecting. In fact, we sadly never even see this culinarily influenced daydream play out. Instead of focusing on this comedic mistake, the novel chooses instead to focus significantly more attention to a more serious and even troubling story line involving the exes of both Meg and Stratton.
A Mutually Beneficial Fake Engagement
I’ll admit that a good ole fake engagement plot point is one of my favorite romance novel tropes. Delightful hijinks typically ensue, whether it be to claim an inheritance, get nosy parents to stop their meddling, or even to make an ex jealous. In this instance though the need for a fake engagement, while initially humorous in its presentation, ultimately becomes necessary for more dire circumstances. Both Meg and Stratton are trying to convince their exes that it’s over once and for all. Stratton is the one to initially cook up the fake fiancée idea as a way to get his ex, Natalie, off his back. It’s only after Meg’s All Staff email fiasco that she admits to Stratton that she actually isn’t married, and after fleeing her abusive ex with son in tow he has now found them again. Upon hearing her story, and intervening in a suspenseful confrontation between Meg and her ex at their place of work, Stratton believes his fake engagement idea could also prove beneficial in convincing Meg’s ex that she’s off limits.
The relationship between Meg and Stratton might have a light and flirtatious air to it at times, but I was surprised by the rather serious tone we see throughout this entire novel as it related to their stalkerish exes. We might be rooting for these two as their relationship evolves from employer/employee to friends, confidants to lovers, but always lurking in the background there’s this underlying sense of apprehension as we question if this engagement ruse could possibly spur their unhinged exes to take things to a threatening level. Thankfully, things never go so far as to be treacherous for our main characters, but it did make it hard to relax at times and fully lose ourselves in our young lovebirds. It’s possible that was the author’s intent all along, as it was a rather successful explanation for why Stratton and Meg would have had to go so far as to initiate a fake engagement to finally cut the cord with their exes. We can all admit that a simple sit-down conversation wouldn’t have sufficed in either Meg or Stratton’s situation. However, I guess it was just a bit heavy for what I thought would be a light-hearted Christmas romance 🙂
Series: Love Comes Later, book 1. I might continue on with this series. If this first book is anything to gauge by, we’ll be privy to comedy, heat, yet also depth of characters as they overcome intense personal situations.
Final Impressions: I absolutely adored Meg and Stratton, from their playful yet admirable personalities, to the fact Meg finally found someone with whom she was comfortable discussing and exploring her sensual fantasies. More importantly however, you get the sense these two really understood the other person from an emotional perspective. The integration of Meg’s son into the story, as well as into Stratton’s life, was done to perfection. That being said, this novel did deal with some heavier subjects that I wasn’t prepared for upon reading the synopsis, from abusive and stalkerish exes, to intense discussions of Stratton’s hesitancy to have children of his own. All in all these topics were definitely covered with care and credibility, it’s just something I didn’t expect! I will say I think more attention was placed on dealing with Stratton’s ex, which left the final confrontation with Meg’s ex feeling imbalanced and almost unfinished. Overall though, an entertaining, engaging and sexy read!
Smut Level: This read is steamier than New Zealand at Christmas time!! Which…is actually in summer, so you know…it’s hot!!
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. 256 Pages.