Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Published: February 1, 2012 by HQN Books
Received: Purchased via AbeBooks
Emma Shaw needs a husband, and fast! Not because she's interested in romance—after all, she's too busy with her landscaping company—but because Grandma Shaw is coming to town, and she will have nonstop questions about Emma's (stagnant) love life.
Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he's recruited by Emma to be her fake fiance. Sean doesn't like the deception, but he can't help his attraction to the feisty brunette. A little pretend kissing won't hurt anyone—especially when there's no chance he'll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he's not planning to call home. But when fake, innocent kisses lead to very real, explosive sparks, Emma and Sean discover that their big ruse might just lead to happily-ever-after… [goodreads]
Oh how I adored this story! I practically read it in one sitting (over the course of one day, to be exact) because it was just that good. This was my first Shannon Stacey novel to read, and after devouring this delicious story, I will definitely be reading more by her!
Sean just got back from serving 12 years in the Army. He's got an empty slate in front of him and no idea how he wants to proceed next. Just as he's about to relish in the thought of taking an afternoon nap, simply because he can, a knock comes at his door. The woman behind the door happens to be Emma, a friend of Sean's (very large) family who needs a favor. And it's not just any favor, it's quite possibly the craziest thing Sean has ever heard. She wants him, a complete stranger, to play the part of her fiance for a month while her grandmother is in town. At first, Sean is skeptical, but something about Emma causes him to say yes. He sees that she needs help in keeping the farm house she loves, and if pretending to be Emma's fiance for the sake of her grandmother's sanity, then that's what he'll do.
Pretending to be a couple put a spin on the novel that added to its likeability. As the reader you knew these two characters were nothing but strangers to one another, but as the story unfolded, so did the sheets that these two had to sleep in - to play the part for Grandma. Their chemistry sparked from the beginning and you just knew something real would soon come of this crazy situation. I loved how Sean's family was in on the secret, and played along for their sake. Of course they had fun making their own jokes about it and giving these two a hard time.
Because of Emma's crazy story, these two were forced into a relationship that may have been built on lies, but it soon evolved into something with substance. Sean found himself wanting to snuggle with Emma on the couch in the evenings, and not only because her Grandma was sitting just across the room, but because it just felt right. What started out as a favor, soon became something more. Though neither were looking for love, it definitely found them. The lighthearted fun aspect of the story was perfectly balanced by the deep, passionate side that was slowly burning between Sean and Emma. For fans of adult contemporary romance, this book will surely win you over!