TYPE: Straight Romance
SERIES: Coxwell family series
REASON FOR READING: I read and enjoyed one of her previous books, Double Trouble. In fact, it was a keeper for me. OK, I admit it, I also loved the dog on the cover.
Jen Maitland never had any use for handsome guys with easy charm until she met Zach. He's the perfect fake date to end her mother's matchmaking scheme before it starts. The only problem is that Zach isn't as predictable as he appears...THOUGHTS/OPINION:
Zach Coxwell hates commitment, but loves a challenge. Like the pretty bar waitress who turned him down flat for a date-only to invite him to her family's Thanksgiving dinner. Zach knows he can make Jen smile, and he's betting that he can unravel her mysteries.
Despite Thanksgiving dinner becoming a familial nightmare for Jen, Zach has the time of his life and finds that Jen may be worth a commitment after all-even if he has to convince her by any means necessary.
Both Jen and Zach have serious issues but AoN manages to avoid sinking the reader into a dark depression by dealing with them in a realistic and yet upbeat way. Although Jen is young she is a breast cancer survivor. Naturally this fact has had a profound effect on her and she finds herself unable to make any long term commitments because she's afraid she has no future.
Jen's family loves her and wants to see her happy. Her matchmaking mother is determined to set her up on a date unless she finds one herself for Thanksgiving dinner. Her plan is to bring someone she knows her mother will hate. Jen meets Zach at the restaurant where she waits tables and figures he fits her requirements perfectly. So she invites Zach to Thanksgiving dinner for a 'fake' date.
Zach has serious commitments issues of his own, so a 'fake' date sounds fine to him. Zach is the black sheep of a wealthy family and was wild and reckless in his youth. He did some pretty bad things (some involving illegal drugs) and when his father committed suicide, he blamed himself.
The relationship between Jen and Zach develops slowly and there are some painful scenes when they both reveal their hangups due to their past. Jen and Zach are likable characters and the other characters were well developed. This story about the healing power of love is one of my favorite themes. The plot moved a bit slowly in places but overall the humor and characters made this book an enjoyable read.