‘You want me to be your fake wife?’
In this How to Win a Monroe story, when my best friend Aiden Monroe proposed, all my foolish youthful dreams came true. But the guarded bachelor only wants a temporary fiancée to appease his family. Still, after my recent break-up, spending Christmas with Aiden sounds ideal. We didn’t expect our families’ enthusiasm for our engagement… Nor that we’d be hurtling towards a real Christmas wedding!
|Title:||My Unexpected Christmas Wedding|
|Series:||How To Win a Monroe (Book 2)|
|Category / Genre(s):||Harlequin / Mills & Boon|
|Trope(s):||Forced / Close Proximity|
Best Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:||First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)|
|Location:||Milan, Italy and the Canadian Rockies|
|Release Date:||9th November, 2023|
The perfect festive romance
I make no secret of the fact that I am literarily smitten with Rachael Stewart! Her stories always have just the right blend of likeable, relatable characters, deliciously sexy chemistry (and then some) and stories that make you want to keep on reading. The only thing better would be to add in the snowy, festive goodness of a Christmas setting!
This is the second How to Win a Monroe story following on from Off-Limits Fling with the Heiress. Our hero in this story, Aiden, is the brother of the heroine from the first story, Avery. Avery and her now boyfriend, Gabe, do appear in this story (which is wonderful if you’ve read their romance) but both stories stand completely alone.
Aiden and Elena are best friends even if their lives, of late, have kept them apart. Elena – Laney – is a hugely successful opera singer while Aiden is the billionaire owner of a wealth management company. They seem like the perfect pairing but they’ve only ever been the best of friends and nothing more. Well, except for the fact that Laney’s always been head over heels in love with Aiden and he has absolutely zero clue.
I loved Laney from the very first encounter where Aiden – or Adie as only she calls him – asks her to marry him. Seeing her get everything she’s ever wanted handed to her on a plate – but without the emotions she truly craves – and understanding her dilemma was key to understanding her. I cheered for her, commiserated with her and wanted so badly for her to get her own happily ever after. But don’t believe this girl would take the scraps of anybody’s affections. She knew her worth and that made her all the more of someone to admire.
Aiden was a complicated man with so much emotional baggage – so you can understand why he might have sworn off relationships and emotional entanglements. But with that said, almost from the first, the clueless man is trying to convince himself that he doesn’t find his best friend attractive, that he doesn’t want to kiss her, that this wedding idea is working out pretty nicely for him. His grief for his dad and his fears for his mum were palpable and while emotional (yes, I teared up) they added to the story and our characters rather than overwhelm them or the story.
I love a bit of push and pull in a couple – and the dance as Aiden tries to convince himself he’s not head over heels with Laney while Laney herself tries not to let Aiden see how much she loves him – well, it’s pretty darn awesome. Lots of sneaky, smoky chemistry and delicious, shivery feelings. All exactly what I’ve come to expect from Rachael Stewart.
We start off in the heart of Milan but soon our story moves to the Canadian Rockies and the family lodge. The snow, the lodge, the decorating for Christmas – it all just gives you that sparkly, fuzzy, festive glow. Some books struggle to bring the magic of the season but this story really captures that happy, warm feeling.
The way everything wraps up in this story – as well as seeing how Avery and Gabe from the first book are getting along – is a lovely hug of a book. It’s a perfect festive romance and the perfect book read while snuggled up by the fire with a glass of mulled wine and mince pie. 5 festive stars!
*I received this book in exchange for my honest review.*
Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heartwarmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.
She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.
A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.