Title: Love Happens Anyway
Author: R.J. Scott Narrator: Sean Crisden
Publisher: Love Lane Books Limited
Release Date: 15-11-18
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas, what could possibly go wrong?
Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.
Luke is 20,000 dollars short for the renovations on Halligans, his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.
But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.
It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.
This is a heart-warming contemporary Christmas tale set in New York that centres around the fake boyfriend/boyfriend for hire trope. You know from the start they will fall for each other, but it’s the journey the guys take to get there that’s the main focus of the story.
Derek needs a date for the holiday season to add substance to the imaginary boyfriend he’s created to ward off interference from his loving yet very controlling parents. At first, Derek comes across as insecure, isolated and somewhat arrogant. He has family and work issues to deal with and his confidence has floundered in the romance department. As a result he feels shut off and alone.
Luke is a nice guy. He needs money for the renovation of the bar his family runs and so agrees to be a companion for hire on four dates over the three weeks before Christmas.
The story is told in first person with alternating POV so we get the background and insight into both the main characters from the start. We witness a nicer side to Derek as the story progresses and as he falls for Luke on the various family and social gatherings. It’s cute, romantic and a little steamy at times. It’s also poignant considering the location and history of Luke’s bar.
Even though it was a relatively short story, the relationship develops and Derek’s confidence and self-esteem grows. He is a better person for being with Luke and that’s uplifting for the reader/listener.
In case you’re wondering, the cover picture aptly ties in with the sub-plot at the advertising agency where Derek works.
Sean narrates all of RJ Scott’s stories and he portrays voices to match the personalities each time. He creates the right emotions for the various scenes and always makes listening enjoyable. Luke’s first chapter was speedily narrated and I struggled to keep up. It subsequently slowed down after that and for the rest of the story there wasn’t an issue.
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