Hi there and welcome to my stop on the LIAR LIAR, HEARTS ON FIRE blog tour, sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today’s book is a “zany” contemporary romance from Jennifer Zane. It’s a hoot!
Violet Miller is a teacher savoring her summer break until she’s been called in as emergency reinforcements—of the dating kind. She volunteers to help an old flame by pretending to be his girlfriend. In Alaska. At a family reunion. Since the guy is a handsome, lumberjack-sized doctor she’s never quite forgotten, faking a relationship won’t be hard work.
Mike Ostranski is a desperate man on vacation. His mother wants grandchildren and sees a crazy Alaskan woman as a candidate for daughter-in-law. Mike needs Violet by his side to deflect the lady’s advances.
A week in Alaska as boyfriend and girlfriend should be easy for them. They grew up together, even had a brief fling. What could go wrong?
This contemporary romance has it all: crazy stalker women, scheming mothers, polyamorous Frenchmen, erotica authors, desperate bachelors, twins, antiquities thieves, Civil War era-actors, and unrequited loves. For all of the plot complications herein: I blame it all on the sex.
See, Vi’s life would be easier if she and that strapping ginger Mike Ostranski never lost their virginity to each other on graduation night. He ruined her. Just ruined her–they had been good friends until that (highly anticipated) fateful night. But hooking up and then leaving for summer camp, then college, then medical school really left Violet with abandonment issues. Now Mike’s returned to Bozeman, Montana–and is good friends with Violet’s twin sister Veronica–but never seeks out any contact with the gal he left behind.
Until Violet is filling in for Veronica working at Bozeman, Montana’s only adult store, Goldie’s. Mike’s call is a plea for help. Aided by his mother, a stalker-neighbor has been trying to seduce him while he vacations up in Alaska. He wanted Veronica to come to his rescue and claim she was his girlfriend, but, you know, Violet will do.
Outraged, Violet refuses, but Mike’s a charmer. And, Goldie is pressing on her to get some action–or at least some closure, for goodness sake. Soon Vi’s on the red-eye to Anchorage. She’s the newest guest at the Ostranski family reunion. As, Mike’s fiance. Yeah, he had to up the game to keep his stalker at bay. Mike’s uncle, recently retired from the military, is hosting ten guests for a week before hitting the trail as a Confederate soldier in those Civil War re-enactment tours. Oh my! He’s got some quirky lines!
Meanwhile, Violet’s accosted in the shower by stalker-gal, and she handles herself well. She and Mike drift into the comfortable friendship they had in high school, spending hours fishing for salmon and making up for lost time. In fact, Mike’s romantic hand is forced, not only by his stalker, and interfering mother, but by his French cousins who would like nothing better than to make Violet the filling in their man-sandwich. Oh, and who can forget Cherry Bottoms? Yeah, that’s Vi’s alter ego–a presumably bestselling author of erotica–something she has gone to great lengths to keep hidden.
It’s a fast-paced rollicking tale of soul mates who got separated too early in their lives. Mike’s never been serious about anyone since Vi, and the flip-side is true for Vi. Still, it’s not all easy. While they fit physically, and chemically, Mike’s devotion to his career above all things isn’t fair to Violet–especially when Mike’s career path seems to take a turn for New York. And Vi isn’t willing to move.
[Side note: Having a history in teaching medical school, and still working in close contact with physicians, well, some of this tale doesn’t hold realistic water, but few readers probably understand the career paths of podiatrists and for them this will not be troubling. For me, it was.]
In the end we get an HEA–and a coming out for Cherry. Violet’s heart does get smashed in the middle and she’s almost killed by a lunatic antiquities thief, but Mike kinda gets his act together just in time.
Speaking of time, usually I complain about pace being too slow. Not the case here. Sometimes I actually wished for a teeny bit more info. The way some characters were introduced and glossed over left me hanging–as if they were part of another book and I should simply know their backstory–but I didn’t which left me floundering at times. In all, it’s a fun read with some delicious smexytimes. Ever since OUTLANDER I’m a sucker for a strapping ginger, so I adored Mike. Particularly when he got his head on straight. People who like contemporary romance, and quirky plots with interfering family casts, will be hooked by this book.
About the Author
Jennifer Zane has lived all over the country–from Georgia to Maryland, New York to Colorado, including an exciting five years in Montana. Her time in Big Sky country was the basis for this book. When she’s not writing, she savors the insanity of raising two boys, is figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker, and teaches a pretty mean karate class. She currently lives with her family in Colorado. You can find Jennifer on her blog, Facebook or Twitter.
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