The marriage might be fake, but the chemistry is off the charts in this thoroughly satisfying small town romance, second in Devney Perry’s (writing as Willa Nash) Calamity Montana series. There’s much about the inevitable undoing of a marriage of convenience arrangement that makes me so ridiculously giddy—the slow burn, the sexual tension, the angst—but Perry is the kind of author who not only knows how to weave a story that’s got the perfect balance of escapism and complexity, but who also continues to deliver characters that are unique, interesting, and easy to love. And Hux and Everly stole my heart from the get-go.
“I don’t need a big dream. I’d rather accomplish a small one. I want a happy life. A simple home. I want to be around people who aren’t afraid to belly laugh and tell me they love me.”
Twenty-nine-year-old Everly Christian has always followed her heart in life, but after a series of events manages to permanently taint the only passion she’s ever had, she finds herself stuck in limbo—watching the world pass her by while hiding in her small studio apartment in the middle of a town that barely knows her. One evening, however, Everly meets a handsome but brooding stranger who, while seeming intent on keeping the world at bay, is not immune to her charms, and before long, what was only meant to be a rare, late-night outing to a local bar turns into the best sex of Everly’s life. But the following morning, Everly wakes to an empty bed and the unmistakable quiet of a missing lover.
This wasn’t just sex, this was fun. The best time I’d had with a man in my bed.
The last thing that Reese “Hux” Huxley needs in his life is another complication, especially of the romantic kind. With an ex-wife set on making him as miserable as possible, and a teenage daughter he barely knows, Hux needs to keep his life drama free if he is to ever stand a chance of getting more time with his only child. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get Everly off his mind, or himself out of her bed. And Everly is more than happy to keep welcoming him there.
He made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. He made me feel special. Craved. I was his addiction and he was mine.
So when she finds out that marriage might be the fastest way of improving Hux’s image around town and bolstering his custody claim, Everly’s impulsive nature leads her to offer her hand in marriage to a man who’s vowed never to marry again. And that is how two almost strangers find themselves exchanging marital vows, moving in together, and fooling the whole town into thinking they’re in love.
“You need to show the town of Calamity that you’re not just a brooding artist with a magnificent scowl and marginal social skills.”
As their lives begin to intertwine and Everly starts fitting into Hux’s life more and more, gradually but inevitably, their sham marriage begins to feel a lot less temporary and a lot more real in both their hearts. But while Hux is a man who’s never known a woman like Everly—a woman who helps others and expects nothing in return—and his suspicion of her motives is to be expected, Everly does herself no favours by letting others see only the version of herself she wants them to see. And letting Hux truly see her would mean admitting the real reason she married him in the first place.
“I have never done anything but help you. I have never been anything but honest. And no matter what I do, you don’t trust me.”
In this deeply felt, gripping romance that sweeps us up in its angst-ridden embrace from the very first page, Devney Perry reminds us that without vulnerability there is no love, without trust there is no lasting connection, and there is nothing that makes us more vulnerable than trusting another with one’s heart and soul. I adored this story.
I wanted it to be real. With every passing day, I wanted to belong to someone special and have that special someone belong to me. I wanted that special someone to be Hux.