Rock bottom has never felt so good.
At least, that’s what I tell myself when I bargain with the enemy and score a renovation for my hair salon.
The enemy? Nick Stamos, my best friend’s older brother.
He’s got a body and face the Greek gods would envy but his personality needs a major overhaul.
Did I mention he’s seen me naked?
I may have crushed on him for years, but the only place I want Nick swinging his hammer nowadays is at my salon.
Except, he needs something in return. . .
A fake girlfriend.
And I’m just reckless enough to say yes.
Nick and Mina have a...complicated...history. She has been in love with him for years, and thinks it was unrequited. Although, when it's the brother of your best friend that you are lusting after, are there really any secrets? I enjoyed the evolution of Nick's feelings for her, and the regrets he had as he slowly discovered that he should have realized there was something with her way before he actually did.
I also enjoyed the family dynamic, and the amusing Greek moments, as these people struggle to meet expectations of being both Greek and American and how well this worked into the story.
The writing in this is strong, with characters that feel three dimensional. I liked that the secondary characters felt real, but there wasn't too much time spent on them. Yes, it was pretty obvious (at least to me) who was going to be the hero in the 2nd book, I felt that we met him as someone who was a friend of Nick's and not as the-person-being-set-up-as-the-next-hero, and that was something I appreciated about the story.
The dialogue flows well, and while there were a couple of places that it felt a little stilted, it was not bad enough to fully pull me out of the story. And, there were a couple of places where the misused phrases got me, but that was something that is a quirk of Nick's, so that was able to be ignored as well.
The chemistry between them was believable, and it was scorching hot in places, and the parts where they are struggling with a new normal in their relationship felt real. That connection that they were not quite sure what to do with, or how to handle, compounded by the fact that both are starting to realize there might be something more there.
The "fake fiancee" part of the story wasn't really there all that much, as I think they both decided early on that the feelings between them were something to be explored and were not really fake at all.
Overall, I thought the story ARC was strong. There is a final reveal of something that was a big deal, which happens rather quickly...but as the flow of the story is for Mina to get to the point in her life where this is no longer something that defines her, it actually makes sense that this was not something that was dealt with earlier.
I enjoyed my first book by this author and I recommend it.
Mina was fun and feisty. I can honestly say I've never met a heroine quite like her. She was brave and bold but oh so vulnerable underneath all that. I loved getting to see her vulnerability and enjoyed watching her come into her own. She had her own issues to overcome and I think she did so in a way that stayed true to her character. I really enjoyed meeting her-she's someone I would want to call a friend.
Nick? Well, Nick is a darn good book boyfriend to me. He's hot and sexy. He's smart and kind as well. He's loyal and I thought that was one of his most admirable qualities. I loved the sense of protectiveness he had for Mina, even if he didn't always understand why that was always there under the surface. This is definitely a man I'd fall for in real life; I absolutely fell for him in the book.
I loved the banter between these two right from the start. I thought they just played off each other perfectly. There was history between them and watching them deal with that and navigate their present situation was very gratifying to me. I was hooked and rooting for them from the beginning. They had great connection and I totally believed it. The sex between them was hot and steamy, but watching their relationship develop outside the bedroom was really great to see.
The supporting cast of characters here added to the fun. I don't think they overwhelmed our main characters in the least. There were definitely some moments where I felt like I was watching my big fat greek wedding in book form-and I loved it. There was one character I wanted to shake but I think the way the Author handled it was even better.
The writing was strong and engaging. I was pulled into this story and didn't want to stop reading. I look forward to what this Author will give us next. I recommend this title.
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~ Mina ~
A masculine hand sticks through the closing elevator doors, cutting off my train of thought as I lurch forward to jab the KEEP OPEN button. I smack it once with a heavy, don’t-fail-me-now finger, then again, my gaze flitting to the doors that are inching closed like the gates of Mordor.
That hand balls into a fist and then a suit-encased forearm appears, followed by a long leg and a brown, leather dress shoe. The leather is so soft, so visibly supple, I wouldn’t doubt that they cost more than my mortgage.
At the Greek curse for “fuck”, and the more than familiar gravel-pitched voice, my back snaps straight, and I yank my gaze up. Up past the lean waist not even a suit jacket can hide. Up past the barrel chest and the bulging, I-swing-hammers-for-a-living arms. Up to a face that’s as unforgiving in its aristocratic, angular bone structure as his hair is a wild, dark mop on his head.
Only that curly hair and a pair of full, pillow-soft lips—not that I’ve ever tasted them, of course—make him seem more human than rigid statue.
Has there ever been more appropriate timing? I don’t think so.
She who asketh shall receive—or however the saying goes.
For possibly the first time in six years, I smile at the man standing just inches away.
Nick Stamos stares down at me, his pewter eyes hard and narrowed with suspicion. “Trying to amputate my arm, Ermione?”
My smile slips, hackles twitching like a cat’s fur standing on end when stalked by a predator. Er-me-o-ne. His tongue rolls over the R in my given name, his Greek accent perfect and sultry despite the condescension dripping heavy and thick with every purred syllable.
Don’t let him get to you.
Only, he’s gotten to me for years now.
“If by amputate you mean save,” I murmur with practiced flippancy, “then sure. It’s not my fault if technology doesn’t want to work for you.”
Those slate-gray eyes, unlike any pair I’ve ever seen, drop to where I’m still pressing the KEEP OPEN button. When his dark brows rise, taunting me with their perfect arches, I follow his lead and glance down at the illuminated button.
Air puffs up my chest with indignancy as I inhale swiftly. “You didn’t really need that arm, did you?”
Nick snorts derisively. Without sparing me another look, his big hand circles my wrist. His touch is bold, his skin hot. A shiver of something—revulsion, I hope—rolls down my spine, unwinding and unfurling until even my gold-painted toes curl in my heels. And, as though he fears I’m completely incompetent, he angles my still-pointed finger at the button to close the doors.
Pushes down and lingers, as though to taunt, see? This is how a contraption called an elevator works. Welcome to the twenty-first century, Ermione.
Ermione. Even in my head I can hear him slinging around the name I inherited from my maternal grandmother, knowing that it makes my mouth pinch and my hands clench.
My smile has, as it always does around him, completely evaporated.
The elevator pings shut.
Locking me in with Satan’s mortal sidekick, my best friend’s older brother.
Maria Luis is the author of sexy contemporary romances, though she may or may not have a few historical romances hiding in the cobwebs of her computer.
When she's not writing about strong men and the sassy women who sweep them off their feet, Maria is a historian who specializes in medieval England and 19th century New Orleans. What do the two eras have in common, you ask? Not much, except for disease, scandalous activities and crime--Maria's favorite topics.
Maria lives in New Orleans with her better half, where she can generally be found hiking with her two dogs, Zeus and Athena, kayaking in Louisiana's inter-coastal waterways, or curled up on the couch with a good book.
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