A Previous Engagement by Stephanie Haddad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ... Like many of us who yearn for somewhere over the rainbow, Tess Monroe discovers that happiness and her heart’s desire can be found in her own back yard.
This is a classic ‘boy next door’ story, romance in its purest form and I lapped it up unashamedly.
Although a tale as old as time itself, the author breathes life into her characters, and I practically experienced a New England Spring, and walked in the marbled halls of Prime Investments with Tess as she applied her talent for planning marketing strategies whilst learning how to deal with underlings in her new executive role.
Tess is determined to make a success of her career, especially as her romantic life is non-existent. Her best friends since schooldays Kendra (now a successful restaurant owner, wife and mother) and Christian (engaged, talented and sought after photographer) appear to be doing better in their personal life. So it is a shock when Marcy, Christian’s wife-to-be breaks off their engagement. Even more so when she cites the reason: Christian is too close to his old school friends, particularly Tess.
Feeling guilty at being the catalyst, telling herself the affection between her and Christian is platonic, Tess is on a mission to find Christian the perfect girlfriend. In any case, she tells herself she is a career girl, and has already accepted an even more executive role in Chicago. The fact that she promised to marry Christian ‘if no-one else came along’ when they were kids in the school playground – well that was just a childish game. The reader can see what Tess cannot. In a hundred different ways Christian silently proclaims his love for her.
Tess is very likeable: Always willing to help, albeit with disastrous results sometimes, considerate and willing to mentor her staff, courageous when facing down sexual advances from her boss. Yet I found myself wanting to shout at her – tell her to open her eyes and let go her pride and preconceived ideas and just kiss the man. When she finally does, she discovers Christian has the power to make her pulses race and set her skin on fire. But has Tess waited too long?
I wanted to find out so badly I read this story in one sitting.
The story is told by Tess in first person pov, beautifully framed by prologue and afterward in omnipresent pov. I enjoyed this book – the author has a gift for description, a light sure touch when it comes to humour and the bedroom scenes were handled with just the right mixture of decorum and passion.
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