Series: Happily Inc. #2
Published by HQN Books on September 26, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
Also by this author: Three Little Words, A Fool's Gold Christmas, Christmas on 4th Street, When We Met, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love, The Ladies' Man
Mathias Mitchell's easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his "no promises, no pain" lifestyle. Yet he can't stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.
Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she's not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she'll always come first in his heart?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
If you’ve read the later Fool’s Gold books and/or You Say It First, the first Happily, Inc. book, you already know a little about Mathias Mitchell and his brothers… and if you don’t, you’ll get the necessary backstory in this book. My heart really went out to Mathias, who has been wounded twice by his artist father’s cruelty, in the two things that matter most to him: his art, and his relationship with his not-actually-twin brother Ronan. Coupled with the dysfunctional Mitchell family dynamics, this has left Mathias determined never to get seriously involved or fall in love. He’s a player, enjoying a series of one- or two-night stands with bridesmaids in town for destination weddings.
But behind the careless playboy exterior is a lonely, wounded, but fundamentally good man who is inexplicably attracted by his friendly neighbor Carole–and her giraffe, Milly. Carol runs the animal preserve across the road from Mathias’s house. She’s warm, softhearted, loyal, and absolutely dedicated to her animals. She’s also attracted to Mathias, but she does her best to keep their relationship to “just friends”… because why would a gorgeous, talented guy like Mathias ever be interested in ordinary, boring her? Especially for the long term, because as she knows — as the whole town knows — Mathias doesn’t do long term.
A lovable but accident-prone beagle, a campaign to buy companions for Milly, and a family wedding — Mathias’s brother Del and his fiance Maya (Thrill Me) add both complications and fun, and a just-barely-secondary romance featuring Carol’s sister and a duke rounds out this pleasing, warmhearted romance. There’s humor and real emotion and that touch of whimsy that characterizes some of Mallery’s romances.
My heart really went out to Mathias, who has had too much rejection in his life. Carol’s insecurities about her own attractiveness are completely relatable; her common sense and empathy make her a very appealing heroine. I also enjoyed the secondary romance, though I thought each relationship deserved its own book. And I love Millie and the way Carol’s friends and family rally to buy the lonely giraffe a herd.
While I don’t yet have quite the same affection for the town of Happily, Inc. that I do for Fool’s Gold, the ties between the two (in the form of the Mitchell brothers) are giving me time to settle in and get to know and like Mallery’s newest setting. I’m already looking forward to the next installment, and hoping it finally brings some badly-needed resolution to the last, most tortured brother, Ronan.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon 2017