Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.
Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
First thing: THE COVER. This is the second book in a row I’ve read where either the hero or the heroine wears glasses – and the cover models aren’t wearing them. In this case, it’s the hero. Also, he shouldn’t have that fugly beard. This guy is a sweet hero, and a little bit of a nerd, and I’m not getting any of that from the lumberjack on the cover.
Moving swiftly on…
Entangled Publishing’s various category romance lines are showing consistent quality, and more modern thinking than, well – Harlequin should watch out. I’m liking that these books coming from another publisher are very contemporary-feeling, even those – like this one – that are on the “sweet” end of the scale.
I HATE the “pretend relationship” trope, so was surprised to enjoy this one so much.
One of my absolute favourite things about this book is that it’s set in a city: Boston. It was a pleasant surprise because I assumed from looking at the cover it was going to be another small town thing set in a vague Midwestern/Southern region of the United States.
This is another thing Entangled’s category line does right.
My other favourite thing was the characters themselves. These were modern, well-rounded, NICE people who lived believable lives and had a strong bond. This is a friends-to-lovers story, which makes the speed of the relationship believable, and also shows us some proper interactions. No brooding and melodrama here.
The Christmas aspect was a strong feature of the story, but I don’t think it went too far.
I had some issues. A bit too much feeling terrible on the heroine’s part, and a bit too much of the hero asking her if she was okay. I struggle when characters get too talkative about feelings and emotions; I’m a far too sarcastic person for that stuff.
There was some setting up of (I’m assuming) future books, which makes a few scenes a bit random for THIS book.
However, I really did enjoy this one very much. I liked having two nice, decent people as the lead characters. I liked that they were rounded characters with friends, interests, hobbies, and differing strengths and weaknesses.
It was a nice read this close to Christmas.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.