Review: “Unexpectedly His” by Maggie Kelley


Storm Warning

“Unexpectedly His” is as sweet and decadent as a giant birthday cake. You have to love a book that starts out with an analytical numbers nerd, seeking to find her inner seductress, poised to jump out of a cake at the birthday party for her long-time crush, who happens to be the brother of her boss. This heroine is AWESOME!!! She embraces her horn-rimmed glasses and cardigans even as she butterflies-up she still keeps them, they just evolve along with her. The hero’s development trajectory makes him. He makes a fabulous first impression – then you see he’s a “player”, but then he becomes endearingly delectable.

Marianne McBride finds herself sitting inside of a giant birthday cake wearing a silver-spangled dress, ruby red stilettos, and a turquoise mask, covering for a double booked “official” cake girl. Only because her boss, and friend Jane, is pushing the cake out into her bar Jane’s boyfriend owns, is Marianne doing this, that reason and well two others: she’s challenging herself to become more seductive (because of something her cheating, rat fink ex-boyfriend said) and the birthday boy is Jane’s brother, Nick Wright – the object of her 5 month long crush. Her efforts are successful and her inner Marilyn Monroe emerges just in time to deliver a perfectly breathy version of “Happy Birthday” which seemingly mesmerizes the birthday bad boy. After bestowing a sweet kiss on Nick’s lips Marianne flees the bar like Cinderella, leaving behind only her mask.

Marianne is in a panic this is not how she usually spends her evening, she’s usually watching a classic movie, wearing Keds rather than heels, and capris and a cardigan in lieu of a cleavage enhancing spangly dress. She couldn’t believe she kissed her boss’s brother. Nick Wright wouldn’t kiss her. In fact, he doesn’t even know her name – he refers to her as “New Girl” even though she had be working at Smart Cupid for months and he’s seen her in the office every week. The birthday kiss wasn’t part of the deal and she knows it’s never going to happen again.

Nick Wright lives by certain rules: no back-to-back dates, no sleepovers, and no Sundays during football season. He’s a serial dater with no interest in relationships whatsoever. He saw the marriage his parents had and experienced what life was when his father left their mother and his siblings and that’s not the life for him. He knows he’s a charmer with a easy smile, quick wink and he’s as comfortable flirting as he is negotiating a deal for the financial law firm where he works. Regrettably, he’s in hot water with the powers that be due to the ex-wife of their biggest client. “The Ex” wanted Nick to be her “Rebound Guy”, but even though he didn’t take her up on her offer “The Client” is on the warpath and some of the partners want to “give the customer what he wants”. Nick is on the fast track to being a partner and he needs to do something quick to show that he’s an upstanding guy, and since the big money client doesn’t exactly trust an unmarried man like Nick. So he assures his boss that he’s settling down, and his birthday party was also his farewell to his playboy ways … he getting engaged. Now he has to find a temporary fiancée for about 6 weeks until the dust settles, the partnership decision is made. Nick naturally consults his sister, Jane, a professional matchmaker, to help him out. Jane suggests Marianne, she’s a friend, she’s as the epitome of the nice girl, and she needs a date for a family event as well. Nick agrees because she is perfect … she is definitely not his type and she’s professional – she knows that this arrangement is completely business. So on is sister’s advice Nick goes to negotiate a deal with Marianne at her Sports Club. When he sees her after her Zumba class he gets a look at her without her business skirts and cardigans which hide an incredibly fit body and the deal sounds a lot better to him. Nonetheless the bargain is a 6 week engagement, she moves into his condo, but no dating, or sex with, other people, and no sex between them either.

As “Unexpectedly His” progresses the relationship has some perks as Marianne totally charms Nick’s bosses at the Partners’ party, but the arrangement also has some pitfalls … Marianne has some events in her past that she’s kept secret that could harm Nick’s career. In this incarnation of the “faux fiancée” formula the couple come together refreshingly quickly and the conflicts mainly come from outside sources, both malicious and unintentionally hindering. Marianne’s character is refreshingly unique in that even though she’s attempting to discover he “Seductress” side, she sticks with her unconventional taste in eyeglasses. Be that as it may, that particular accessory makes some of the Romantic moments incredibly humorous and beautifully endearing.

Nick develops into a fantastic hero with a quintessential banging on her door in the pouring rain scene which is every woman’s fantasy. I loved “Unexpectedly His” from top to bottom. I can’t wait to read more! I only wish I had gotten my paws on the first installation of this series.

I give “Unexpectedly His” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning!


This novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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