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Shannon Wentworth’s biological clock is ticking, and she isn’t going to let her single status keep her from having a baby. When her wedding-photography business takes her to Mexico, she has every intention of finding a willing baby daddy to help her out. Until the bride goes AWOL, leaving Shannon to coddle the arrogant fiancé who has accused her of sabotaging his wedding.

Victor Brooks never could have imagined that he’d be on a honeymoon for one. Only here he is, taking a hard look at his life after the younger women he thought he loved walked out. The woman who volunteers to help him reflect is the last person he expects to be attracted to. Between the tequila, the sun, and one earth-shattering kiss, Victor finds Shannon a distraction too sexy to ignore.

They strike a deal: wait three months, cool off, and see if their tropical beach attraction is worth taking up when they go back home. Unfortunately, that’s just enough time for the past to come calling. All their best-laid plans are at risk. So is the last thing Shannon expected to matter the most: her heart.


BOOK REVIEW: Faking Forever

Catherine Bybee

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

“Give me three months and then give me a chance. Wait for me. Let me be the next man to kiss these lips.”

Some of my favourite reads have been of the unplanned kind, where the book somehow ‘found’ me, rather than the other way around, but it doesn’t happen all too often that a single book sends me down the rabbit hole in such a way that before I know it, I’ve not only read the whole series, but purchased the author’s entire back catalogue, too. From the moment I read the blurb, I knew this story would be my catnip—be it because of a heroine whose biological clock is ticking away, or a hero who’s left at the altar, or the mounting sexual tension that inevitably comes with a love/hate scenario—but little did I know I would love it so so much. This story had everything I always hope to find in a great romance—depth, emotion, banter, tremendous chemistry between the characters, perfect pacing, and even a few moments where I had to hold back the tears—but it is Catherine Bybee’s sublime writing that turns a great story with a fairly simple premise into an extraordinary one. And as I’ve discovered since then, she does it oh-so effortlessly time and time again.

“I don’t want to miss out on the experience of being a mom, with all the good and the bad that comes with it, just because I don’t have a man in my life.”

When Shannon Wentworth agreed to enter into a temporary marriage arrangement with a perfect stranger, she never expected to walk away with a broken heart, but falling in love with her husband had never been part of the deal, and no amount of wishing otherwise could turn a fake marriage into a real one. Three years after her divorce, Shannon is still mourning the loss of a marriage that was destined to end from the start, but even more so the missed opportunity to become a mother. Thirty-five years old and financially secure, all Shannon wants is a baby, and with no ‘Mr. Right’ in sight, she is willing to have one on her own. So when her photography business takes her to sunny Mexico for a location wedding, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to find a perfectly willing ‘baby daddy’ and have a night to remember. But one runaway bride later, and instead of looking for potential hookups, Shannon finds herself facing the wrath of the jilted fiancé who blames her for his bride’s change of heart.

“My condolences to your girlfriend.”
Victor frowned. “Why do you say that?”
“You’re here on vacation, right?”
“Yes.”
“You’re wearing a suit, didn’t pack clothes for the environment, brought your work with you, and ditched your girl on the flight over.” She shook her head. “I don’t care who your girlfriend is, she deserves better.”

It’s no secret that Victor Brooks is a notorious workaholic, but no one knows that more than the young woman he is about to marry. So when she calls off the wedding at the very last minute and leaves him humiliated in front of family and friends, Victor finds himself alone on his honeymoon, facing the embarrassing aftermath of yet another failed relationship, while also taking a hard look at his priorities in life. The last person he expects to run into again, however, is the sassy photographer he accused of sabotaging his wedding, and no matter how hard they try to keep disliking each other, their mutual attraction only grows stronger and stronger. But not even the undeniable chemistry between them can sway Shannon to throw caution to the wind and become romantically involved with a man who was about to marry another woman not even a week before.

“You were engaged six days ago.”
“That’s true.”
“I thought you were a complete asshole.”
Okay, what had she said to pull that cocky smirk from his lips?
“What?” she asked him.
“Thought? Past tense.”

After agreeing to reconsider her decision in three months’ time, they part ways having only shared a single kiss, but fate has other plans, and before long, they find themselves exploring something neither of them ever expected to find in life—a love connection that is both tender and passionate.

Catherine Bybee’s knack for creating vivid, endearing characters truly shines in this uplifting, warmly satisfying romance that reminds us that the best things in life happen when we least expect them. This was one of the most well-rounded and compulsively readable books I’ve ever come across—splendidly written cover to cover—and the large, loving cast of secondary characters immediately sent me looking for every one of their stories. And what a glorious #BybeeBinge that was!

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“The problem with loving someone is that even if you walk away, the love is still there.”
“Don’t walk away.”

Excerpt

Victor was dreaming.

Or at least he was before his eyes popped open and the stunning woman next to him now sat in his lap. Or more to the point, was scrambling off his lap.

“What in the …?”

“I’m so sorry.”

Victor reached for the button to lower his leg rest and somehow caught his seatmate a second time … or maybe the way the plane tilted had her losing her balance again.

He couldn’t stop his hands from moving to help her off of him any more than he could stop his pulse from jumping in his chest.

She grabbed ahold of the seats in front of her.

Someone close by started laughing.

The woman scrambled and fell into her seat. When she turned his way, the crimson color on her cheeks gave away her embarrassment.

“That was awkward,” he said, trying to make light of what happened.

She lifted her chin a little higher and tucked a strand of long, dark hair behind her ear.

“You could have waited to stretch out until after I returned. It isn’t like I could have gone far.”

“So it’s my fault.”

“Well, you certainly didn’t consider how I might get back into my seat.”

How rich was that? She fell in his lap and blamed him. Story of my life. “My apologies, Miss…”

“Annoyed.” She turned to look out the window.

Victor bit back a laugh. Chuckling at her might not be the best way to spend the duration of the flight. “I’m sorry, Miss Annoyed. I didn’t realize that you’d gotten up.”

She huffed out a breath and waved at the flight attendant. “I’ll have that glass of wine now, please.”

The attendant snickered. “I’ll keep your glass full.”

Victor glanced around at the other passengers, many of which were trying not to watch him and his annoyed companion.

He stopped the attendant from running off. “Excuse me.”

The attendant turned, her lips pinched.

Okay … apparently he was doing a good job of frustrating more than one female today. “Gin and tonic?” he asked.

She hesitated.

“Please,” Miss Annoyed said for him.

“Sorry. Please.”

The flight attendant flashed a smile. “Of course.”

He checked his watch. “I slept for an hour?” He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fallen asleep on an airplane.

“Excuse me?” Miss Annoyed was still unhappy with him.

He pointed to his watch. “Did I really sleep for an hour?”

She turned to give him the full face of her disapproval. “You did.”

Miss Annoyed was model beautiful. High cheekbones, full lips … the depth of her eyes seemed to take everything in around her. She was what Victor would label conceited, privileged, and out of his league.

The flight attendant arrived with their drinks, and he took the opportunity to glance at her left hand.

No wedding ring.

He wasn’t surprised. She didn’t seem to have a warm bone to spare.

Not that he was interested.

He thanked the woman handing him his drink and attempted to calm his fidgeting fingers. Flying wasn’t one of his strong suits. Years of hearing his father talk about the airplane parts he’d machined in his career, and insinuate his lack of trust in a chunk of steel defying gravity, made it hard to relax. It didn’t matter that Victor flew all over the world, several times a year. It still bothered him and made him more chatty than he cared to admit.

Only his seatmate didn’t seem all that interested in conversation.

Not that her scowl kept him from trying. “What takes you to Cancun?”

She regarded him out of the corner of her eye. For a minute, he didn’t think she’d answer. She opened her mouth to respond, and hesitated.

“You don’t look like you’re on vacation.” She wore slacks and a button up shirt. Something he would expect his assistant to show up to work in.

She looked down at herself, then back at him.

“Neither do you,” she told him.

Victor loosened the tie her comment reminded him he was wearing. Truth was, he’d dressed that morning on autopilot. If it wasn’t for the packed bag at the door leading into his garage, he might have jumped in his car and driven to work. His life had somehow taken on a routine, and anything outside the norm was quickly overlooked.

“I live in a suit,” he told her.

She attempted a smile. “That might be uncomfortable on a beach.”

He thought about the clothes he’d packed. “Hotels always have gift stores, which I’m sure I’ll need to use.”

“And if not, I’m told there are nude beaches on the Yucatán.”

Victor blinked several times, somewhat surprised those words had come out of Miss Annoyed’s mouth. “Maybe when I was twenty. I’d be a little concerned about certain parts getting too much sun.”

He was pretty sure she smiled. But the moment passed and she turned back to the view out the window.

A full minute flew by.

Yeah, she wasn’t going to talk. He set his drink aside and reached for his briefcase under the seat in front of him to remove his laptop. He might as well get a few things done, since conversation obviously wasn’t going to happen without a struggle.

He quickly found his head deep in an article that spelled out why he should be buying more junkyards full of destroyed cars while the prices were low. He removed a notepad and wrote a few highlights of what to check on when he returned to his office.

When the flight attendant arrived with Miss Annoyed’s lunch, he passed on food and asked for another drink. He was two sips in when his seatmate spoke.

“I don’t think you have to worry.”

He tore his eyes from his computer. “Worry about what?”

She looked down. “The sun burning certain parts of your body. Your laptop will serve as great sunscreen.”

He followed her gaze. “I don’t think my girlfriend would appreciate me taking this on the beach.”

Her eyes opened wider. “You’re meeting a girlfriend in Cancun?”

Why did she sound surprised? “I am.”

“You didn’t fly with her?”

He shook his head. “That was the plan, but I had a last-minute meeting.” With his acquisitions manager. Not that it could be helped.

“My condolences to your girlfriend.”

Victor frowned. “Why do you say that?”

She looked at him as if he were a few short of a full deck. “You’re here on vacation, right?”

“Yes.” For all intents and purposes.

“You’re wearing a suit, didn’t pack clothes for the environment, brought your work with you, and ditched your girl on the flight over.” She shook her head. “I don’t care who your girlfriend is, she deserves better.”

Victor opened his mouth to respond, closed it, and opened it again. “Come again?”

“Women don’t like coming in second, third, or fourth. If you were my boyfriend, I’d find the first cabana boy I could and ditch you at the door.” She reached for the earphones the airline provided and turned on the small screen in front of her, effectively telling him that their conversation was over.

What the hell?

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