Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey (Kowlaski Family #3)
June 6, 2011
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: She snorted and looked out her window. “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.”
Emma lives in her grandmother’s old farm house in New Hampshire. She doesn’t have a lot of family around and now that her grandmother has retired to Florida, she worries about Emma living all by herself so far away. Emma wants her grandmother to be happy, and enjoy retired life and to stop worrying so much. She also really wants to eventually own this old farm house, and she knows that won’t happen with her grandmother constantly on edge. So she makes a small white lie about dating, telling her grandmother she was dating and now engaged to Sean Kowlaski. She picked Sean to be her fake fiancé because he was serving in the military over in Afghanistan and he is a good friend of one of her friends.
But now grandma is coming up for a month long visit. And it just so happens Sean is back home, out of the military. Emma, desperate not to stress her grandmother out, makes a bold move – she knocks on Sean’s door (they’ve never met before) and announces that he is her fake fiancé. Sean calls her “bat-shit crazy” but he can’t get out of his head the look on her face, and since he has nothing better to do for the next month, he agrees. They have three days to get to know each other well enough to convince Emma’s grandmother they’ve been dating for two years and happily in love. There is also the little dilemma of keeping the sham going with Sean’s extended family.
Yours to Keep is so darn adorable! It’s the first I have read in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series, but it reads fine as a stand alone. Everyone in this book is so likable, but no one is too perfect. Although Emma is deceiving her grandmother by pretending to be engaged, she is really doing it for the right reasons. And Sean really doesn’t have a clue what he is going to do with his life now that he is out of the military and he realizes the unselfish thing Emma is doing by trying to comfort her grandmother. What unfolds are two strangers, thrust into the same house, heck the same bedroom (although Emma starts by sleeping on the couch next to the bed) and they become friends. Their sporadic touches, or glances, even conversations are awkward and stilted at first. Emma is a total ball of nerves that they are not going to be able to pull this off. Sean is a little more low key, and well – horny. So eventually, both of them bring their tense emotions together, and a very hot romance develops.
There is a great mixture of sweet and funny moments in this book as well. They really know nothing about the other, so when Emma makes dinner the first night grandma is in town, and there is broccoli in the dish, Sean’s most hated vegetable – something she would know if they were actually engaged for real, he has to get it down somehow.
He could do this. He’d survived boot camp. He’d survived combat and the harsh weather of Afghanistan. He could survive broccoli. Probably.
Later that night, Sean put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that said, I hate broccoli and peas. This becomes a habit, little post it notes on the mirror. Sometimes they are more likes and dislikes, other times he leaves an encouraging note if Emma is having doubts about the charade. But Sean also has a gruff, rougher side to him. He doesn’t always let Emma down easy, and gives her a hard time.
Emma’s grandmother and Sean’s aunt add much to this story, as does the entire Kowalski clan. (which makes me want to go back and read the first two books.) The end is just made of sweetness.
For a cute, very enjoyable story, pick this one up!