Reviewed by Kini
Burb: I only wanted to protect you…
Luke Garrison is a hometown hero, a member of the National Guard ready to deploy again. Strong, sweet, and sexy, he doesn’t have a girlfriend and doesn’t want one. When the wildly beautiful Harper stumbles into his life, though, he realizes that she’s the perfect decoy. A fake girlfriend to keep his family off his back until he’s out on another mission.
So what if a single bite of her lip sends his mind to wicked places? He can control himself. Can’t he?
Harper was on her way to starting a new life… again. But something about Luke makes her want to settle down in this small town and make Luke’s house a home. When his arms wrap around her like steel, she finally knows what it’s like to feel safe. Protected.
One night of sleeping in the same bed turns into something much, much more… and soon Luke can’t keep his mind off Harper’s wide gray eyes, or his hands off of her luscious curves. He never thought he’d feel this way about a woman again. But he knows that he can’t tell her the truth about his dark past, and she can’t reveal to him what she’s running from.
Anyway, this isn’t a real relationship. It’s only for a month. Only pretend. Until it isn’t…
If I haven’t said it enough, let me mention it again, I LOVE fake relationship books. It truly is one of my favorite tropes. There is always some level of ridiculousness to it, but I love it just the same. This book was not a let down, and it left me with lots of thoughts about the story, but mostly about the heroine.
First, I want to address the NA (new adult) tag, the heroine, Harper, 24 or 26, but the hero, Luke, is 30ish. This book was angsty, but in a very authentic way. Minimal on the back and forth that seems to be so prevalent in NA.
Anyway, back to Harper and Luke. Harper lands in the town of Benevolence, MD after she finds her boyfriend cheating on her. Luke is the incredibly handsome, yet closed off and emotionally shut down hero. Their meet cute is unusual as Harper gets involved in someone else domestic dispute and gets knocked out. She awakens to Luke. He invites her for a drink and so their story begins.
Luke is in the National Guard and about to deploy in a month. Luke’s family is overly involved in trying to get him to date. Harper is between jobs doesn’t have her own home, so when Luke’s sister suggests that Harper be Luke’s fake girlfriend for a month, it is a win-win for both.
I liked this story, a lot. It’s long and there are lots of things happening. Luke is kind of a jerk to Harper. He tries to make decisions for her, I really dislike this. Harper has overcome a lot of adversity to get where she is. She’s what Luke calls a walking disaster, see above note where he’s kind of a jerk. Honestly, I am not sure he deserved Harper.
Harper was great. Smart, funny, kind, loving, the list goes on and on. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Harper is a bit of a Mary Sue. She makes friends with everyone in town. She saves animals. She survived a fire. A rough childhood. She is an amazing employee. She makes even the grumpiest town folk fall in love with her. She kind of deserved all the perfection in her life. Yet, even the Mary Sueness of her did not change the way I felt about this book.
One thing that I think really helped me enjoy this book was the female relationships. There are several secondary characters and even a few secondary love stories, but none took over the main story. Because Luke is away for several months, Harper is forced to build other relationships. Harper is the champion of everyone, and she’s actually damn good at it. She gives this little speech to a female friend who is questioning her worth.
“Whoa! Let’s back that truck up real fast,” Harper grabbed her mug and sat down next to Gloria. You can’t put your worth in someone else’s hands like that. Whether those hands are stroking you or hurting you. It doesn’t matter. Your value comes from inside. Whether you mean something to him or not has nothing to do with how inherently valuable you are.”
Seriously, we all need a friend like Harper.
There was suspense in the plot that felt a little out of place. But my love for Harper allows me to overlook it. Luke did some jerky things, but wasn’t the absolute worst. He did some moderate level groveling. Harper and her perfection and the other relationships really made this book for me.
Author Site l Goodreads
Amazon (It’s available through Kindle Unlimited)