The Perfect Bargain by Julia London
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sloane Chatfield wasn't quite abandoned at the alter, but she did already have her wedding dress and reservations booked when her louse of a fiance decided to break up with her. Her friends' plan to set her up with someone new has morphed into social torture, so Sloane tells them she's going to go to Scotland and find her own real-life Jamie Fraser (from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander). When they announce they're going to join her, she figures she can fly in early, pretend to fall in love and have a whirlwind romance, then break up with the fictional boyfriend to get them off her back for a while.
Her brilliant strategy collapses when they decide to show up a couple of weeks early, and Sloane panics. The only suitable candidate in the tiny Scottish town is the local pub owner, who's gorgeous, single, and can't stand her. Fear is a strong motivator, however, and she awkwardly propositions Galen, offering to pay him a considerable amount of money to pretend to be her boyfriend. He's completely insulted and appalled, naturally, and refuses. However, he's also going broke and eventually agrees to play along, negotiating half in jest that she'll pay extra for kisses and sex.
I stayed up WAY past my bedtime because I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished, so I was glad it's a relatively short novel. The funny thing is, although I really liked it and couldn't put it down, upon further reflection, I really didn't like Sloane's friends and couldn't understand what she ever saw in the former fiance. However, I thought that the relationship between Sloane and Galen was pretty well-written, and although each started out inflexible and obnoxious, they grew over the course of the story to the point where I felt like they might have a chance of building a life together.
For readers' advisors: story and character doorways. Some sex scenes and swearing.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review!
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