Yours to Keep is the third book in the Kowalski Family series and my first taste of Shannon Stacey’s writing. It turned out to be one of the sweetest, most amusing contemporary romances I’ve read in a long time, and I’m definitely going to be picking up the first two books in this series. And in case you're wondering, reading this one out of order didn't diminish the story at all.
Although I think it would be a fairly common theme, I don’t recall having ever read a book with the “fake fiancé” storyline. I was expecting this to be a light, no-strings-attached-on-my-part read and was pleasantly surprised to find it more than that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely an easy, feel good story, and to my surprise I found myself totally invested in Emma and Sean, as well as Emma's Grandma Cat and Cat's long time friend, Russell Walker, who also had a budding romance. The secondary cast of characters played by friends and members of the family on both Sean’s and Emma’s side helped fill out the story and gave it such a feeling of unbreakable, loving ties that I was reminded of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, one which I absolutely adore!
I really enjoyed the scenes in which Sean and Emma justified the arrangement, then fought against the feelings that were clearly developing for both of them. Those moments were both funny and heartbreaking as neither one of them could seem to let go of their stubbornness. And the sticky note messages they left for one another because neither could seem to voice what they were thinking were both funny and heartwarming
I want to go on and on about the story, but I know I'd end up giving away too much, so I'll just close with some of my favorite quotes:
“Oh yes, Sean Kowalski. Your amazing kisses have made all rational thought fly out of my besotted brain. If only you could fill me with your magic penis, I know we’ll fall madly in love and live happily ever after.”
The truck jerked and she glanced over to find him glaring at her. “Don’t ever say that again.”
“What? The madly in love or the happily ever after?”
“My penis isn’t magic.” His tone was grumpy, but then he smiled at the windshield. “It does tricks, though.”
“The only trick your penis needs to know for the next three and a half weeks is down boy.”
“You look me in the eye, young man, and don’t you dare lie to me. Do you love Emma?”
“Yes,” he said through gritted teeth.
She released his face and he rubbed his jaw. “Well, that’s a start. And I’m going to guess you didn’t tell her that before you packed your stuff and moved out.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing. Other than not getting any sympathy.”
“If you’re looking for sympathy—”
“I know. It’s between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” So they’d all heard. Many times. “The brownies are good, though.”
He tilted his head up to look at her. “This whole month was crazy, with all the pretending, but somewhere along the way it stopped being a lie.”
“Did you go getting ideas about me, Sean Kowalski?”
“I did, and it was one hell of an idea, too. I love you, Emma. I think, deep down, that’s what I wanted to write on that blank sticky note I left on the mirror, but I wasn’t ready yet. I’m ready now. I love you and I want you to marry me. For real.”
Honestly, if you’re looking for a fun, romantic, sexy, heartwarming story, give Yours to Keep a try. You won’t be disappointed!
This ARC ebook was provided free of charge by netgalley.com in behalf of Carina Press. This had no influence on my rating or my review.