Monday, December 8, 2014

The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels

The Basics:
The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels
Entangled Lovestruck
contemporary Romance
Published December 8th, 2014
Source: Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Amazon Kobo

Why I picked up this book:

I liked the blurb and contrast between Lucy and Dex. Also the cover made me smile.


To have and to hoax...

Wild child lingerie store owner Lucy Hamilton is a happily confirmed bachelorette. As far as she's concerned, men are something best enjoyed in small doses, never to be allowed too close. Then Lucy's mother tells her Aunt Bev that Lucy has eloped and is married--a tiny lie only meant to appease the dying woman...until Aunt Bev miraculously recovers. Now Lucy needs to find a "husband" for an upcoming family wedding, and fast.

Fortunately, Lucy's ridiculously hot, ridiculously straitlaced new accountant Dex Levian is willing to be her stand-in spouse for the weekend. And that's when the trouble really begins. For starters, Dex's "involvement" with a client―no matter how irresistible―might ruin a merger he hopes will make his career. Worse still, the chemistry between Dex and Lucy is more than convincing―it's sizzling. But for Lucy, falling for her fake new husband is the most dangerous thing she can do...

My thoughts:

As I was reading The Surrogate Husband, I realized a very disappointing thing: I don't like the 'meddling family' trope. A lot don't like it. And especially in contemporary fiction, mainly because I have no patience for it. 

Why, you might ask? For one, it makes me feel uncomfortable because it often forces the main characters into positions that make *them* uncomfortable. I also feel like meddling family members tend to come off as smug or superior - they know better and when the romance that they were trying to finagle comes to pass, it becomes obvious that they knew best. I always want some kind of comeuppance for these meddling characters, so that they learn that it isn't cool to meddle.

I also find it frustrating when people believe that it's so important to hook up their loved one that they're willing to manipulate them into situations - what if the meddling went horribly wrong? And is seeing your loved one settled down with someone else really *so* important? How about making sure they're happy in general, rather than suggesting their security/happiness/etc. relies on being a part of a couple? Okay, maybe I've just got my grumpy pants on, because I *am* reading romance novels, so the happily ever after is obviously pretty important. I guess I like to think it's important to the book because of genre, and not because, you know, it's the be-all/end-all.  

Anyways, this was an unfortunate realization to have *about my personal preferences* while I was reading The Surrogate Husband because it does feature some meddling family. Lucy's mom lies to her Aunt Bev about Lucy having a husband to ease the elderly woman's mind when it looks like she's at death's door. Then Aunt Bev recovers, and wants to meet this new husband. Rather than confess, Lucy's mom pressures Lucy to find a fake husband. Not that Lucy takes *that* much convincing, really. Everyone's worried about Aunt Bev's health and perpetuating the lie seems like the better option.  

I liked Lucy - she's got some sass and her heart is in the right place even if she makes poor decisions (about deceiving Bev). I loved her business, and that she was such a sucker for the little boy attending the family wedding.

I loved Dex even though the former marine-current accountant combination seemed unlikely to me (possibly because my physical fitness is pretty poor and accounting seems... uh... dry?), but I went with it while I was reading. I really liked that we got so much from his perspective and I appreciated that he was really driven by the desire to protect his loved ones - his parents and Lucy.   

These two are fooling themselves as much as Bev for much of the book. The odds of pulling off the deception with things going sideways for either of them seemed pretty high from the start. 

Their chemistry is off the charts, and I think this is what kept me going. I loved reading all the scenes with Lucy and Dex together. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the book didn't really draw me in - mostly because of the discomfort I felt around the pressure Lucy was under from her family and the way Bev took control of the itinerary.

Bottom line:

The Surrogate Husband was well-written with an interesting romantic pairing at the core of it. Unfortunately there were some choices that made me feel uncomfortable - entirely personal preference - but ultimately these reduced my overall enjoyment. I'd suggest grabbing it from Amazon (where it was 99 cents at the time of this review) if you're curious and/or find the meddling family/jumping hoops thing more entertaining than uncomfortable!

3 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, sweet old ladies, adorable young boys, sexy and smart men.

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