Heroine: Lily Ford runs her own public relations business. When a new deal demands exclusivity, she dumps the competition in a hot minute. Who knew the exclusivity also meant sacrificing her personal life? Being at a tycoon’s beck and call may sound sexy, but it means early mornings, late nights, and plenty of firefighting to keep the press at bay… and it also involves marriage? Not something easily palpable to a woman who’s resistant to love (at least her mother’s version of it).
Hero: Gage Forrester made his millions in property development. He’s a tough man to work for and demands every employee go above and beyond the call of duty… including his PR contractor. When an unexpected family fiasco erupts, Gage is determined to suppress the gossip and press by generating positive PR. His solution? Marriage. He proposes to Lily in the name of business, but Gage is determined to also make the marriage real.
Review: Gage is an interesting hero – he’s already been a father to his younger sister and did it well. He’s not ready to put his hat in the ring again for kids. It doesn’t appeal to him. Neither does marriage, well okay, maybe marriage to the right woman. Both Gage and Lily are aware of each other and their effect. They have great dialogue and great chemistry. What’s nice about this book is that Lily is not helpless. She’s a go-getter and at the top of her game, just like Gage. They’re equals. The paper marriage was a farce from the beginning though and not at all necessary other than to force the leads into matrimony.
Hero: Owen Phipps is going to get revenge on the con-artist who stole his sister’s money and broke her heart. To get close, Owen requires a fake wife for three weeks. It might sound farfetched, but how is Owen supposed to get close when the slimeball is hiding at a couples resort walking around as the owner? Owen is going to figure out what angle was being played and expose it. The only thing he didn’t count on was falling for his fake wife.
Heroine: Lindy Knight isn’t quite sure about the man who shows up on her doorstep after she applies for a job. Lindy maces Owen within five minutes of meeting him, using her perfume, so she’s surprised to find herself hired to play the wife of this gorgeous man. When the couple activities at the resort turn intimate, Lindy has to remind herself that she’s playing a role, and not his actual wife.
Review: Who doesn’t love “fake marriage” romances (aka the marriage of convenience trope)? It’s very common in historical romances and less common in contemporary romances, because society conventions make it harder to setup properly. The setup for Wife for Hire is certainly believable and adds just the right mix of serving-up-justice and sexiness. The conflict between the hero and heroine is the issue of a committed relationship, so while both are feeling the sexual tension, Lindy asks Owen not to make a move unless he is certain he wants her for more than three weeks. But can Lindy do the same?
The Heroine: Serena learned the hard way that men couldn’t be trusted. She ran off to marry a young man from her father’s employ only to be jilted. Too proud to return home she took up life as a prostitute and learned that all men were pigs… all except 200 Pounds, the title she gave to another young man who left without her services and gave her money enough to start fresh. In her new life Serena vowed she would never be dependent upon a man again. When her path crosses 200 Pounds she’s determined to repay the debt, little knowing all he wanted from her was the real her not the persona she built as the Siren.
The Hero: Solomon is a man of honor and that makes him odd. Odder still is his preference for tinkering with chemicals to create dyes for cloth with one uncle when he could lead a life of privilege under his other uncle. He recognizes Serena as the prostitute he gave 200 pounds too as soon as they are alone in the dark, but not before. When a man from her past threatens her freedom with a fake marriage, Solomon is determined to help again even though he sought her first for help locating a family heirloom.
Review: Packed with intrigue, A Lily Among Thorns, brings together a beta hero with a backbone (he knows what he wants and won’t accept less) and a heroine who acts in spite of fear with a determination to be admired. The story is very character driven and sprinkled with spicy moments. I particularly liked when Solomon broke the lock dividing their two rooms and how Serena reacts (and thinks about it later too.) Only had one caveat, Solomon starts as a virgin hero and I missed any reference to him losing it before meeting Serena a second time, where he clearly knows what he’s doing.
Heroine: Leah (Noble) MacQuarrie doesn’t belong in medieval Scotland though she’s determined to do so. She’s actually from the future, but has lived in Scotland now for 12 years. Coming to Scotland was the best thing for her because it got her away from the Nuadian Fae who tortured her and planned to use her as a breeder for powerful half human/half fae babies. Life with the MacQuarries has been good, but then with the return of estranged Richard (Dick) everything goes downhill. He imprisons his father in a quick bloodless coup and Leah is the only one able to get out of the keep to find help… from the fae MacKiernan clan.
Hero: Andrew MacAlister has lived in pain ever since a horrible fae attack. His leg is badly messed up and requires a lot of physical work to keep it loose. A trip to find a cure is put on hold when he pulls Leah out of the water and hears her story to reach Dun Ard, he agrees to take her without telling her it’s his home. English soldiers escort them all the way there and a fabricated marriage is the only thing keeping Leah from being captured and returned to her uncle, Richard.
Review: You don’t necessarily have to read the other books in the series to pick this book up and enjoy it, but I think you’ll be able to follow characters/relationships/cameos better and make connections otherwise lost to you. I managed to pick up a lot after reading a bit even though I haven’t read any of the books prior to Healing the Highlander. It’s clear there are intricate relationships and histories (several characters in the past are from the future) and extensive world building that were built up through the previous books.
Favorite Scene: The ending sequence where Drew realizes just how Leah’s fae power works. Angsty and fabulous.
Ben Walsh is being forced to marry. He wants more than anything the off-the-grid ranch his parents lived in while they were alive, but unfortunately the ranch is owned by his grandfather. The old man won’t let go of it until Ben’s tied the knot and the clock is ticking. Gina Reyez is his last chance at the marriage of convenience he wants.
Gina Reyez would never marry a man for money… that’d be too much like her mother. That said $35K a day is hard to sneeze at (rough estimate from a $10 million alimony payout) plus a house and all that comes with it when they divorce. If she looks at it like a business proposition she could do it – and since Ben is “gay” there wouldn’t be any inappropriate behavior going on – on his part or hers!
The thing that I didn’t get and really bugged me was that Ben wanted to keep the convenience part of their marriage under wraps (after all his grandfather wouldn’t hand out the deed to the ranch if he knew that Ben one-upped him) and yet it was the worst kept secret. Everybody knew it… Ben first tries to get Annabelle (heroine of Too Hot to Handle) and Karma (his like a cousin family friend) to marry him, but they turn him down. Karma tells her mom (Ben’s grandfather’s housekeeper). It gets to the real cousins between that and Ben spilling the beans. Gina tells Rosalie (heroine of Romeo, Romeo and Annabelle’s sister) and eventually spills it to her sister and husband. Old Grandpa Joe knew it was a fake marriage even before the halfway point of the novel. What’s with that?
Even though there are a lot of cameos from Kaye’s other romances, you don’t need to have read them to follow all the relationships. She does a great job keeping everything clear for new readers.
Favorite scene? When Gina tricks Ben into admitting he’s straight. Hello yummy sex! Oh and I liked all the time they spent at the ranch too. Hubba hubba.
Once again I have to wonder – where’s my Domestic God? Some of the things Ben cooks sound super delicious!