REVIEW: “Meant For You” by Michelle Major

“Meant For You” features a Hero and Heroine who both have massive Daddy Issues.  To some degree it’s valid to some it’s not; that’s what part of their Happily Ever After journey resolves.  The Heroine, Jenny Castelli, is strong, independent, loyal, passionate, but she’s also stubborn, vulnerable, hot-tempered, and rashly makes poor decisions.  The Hero, Owen Dalton, is intelligent, driven, successful, tender-hearted yet insecure, distrustful, and seemingly always falls for the wrong girl.  Michelle Major crafts these complex, engaging, and likable characters and fits them into an intriguing storyline.  She includes secondary characters who have starred in their own stand-alone books.  The Heroine’s son, Cooper, is wise beyond his years; he’s a middle schooler who sounds like a high schooler.  But it works.  This is a Second Chance Romance/Fake Fiancé mash-up with a lively pace.  The sex isn’t highly descriptive or explicit, but it hits the spot.

Jenny Castelli has basically been a loner growing up in Denver, her only close friend was Ty Bishop.  Her mother was his family’s housekeeper and although the relationship was employer/employee it allowed her to attend the best schools.  The kids at school were cruel to her because of her economic status.  Even more so when she got pregnant in high school.  Her boyfriend didn’t step up to do the right thing.  His family was friends with the Bishops, which strained her mother’s relationship with them.  Now for the first time she has girl friends.  She’s afraid they’re going to realize she doesn’t belong.  One’s the wife of her friend Ty Bishop, the others are mutual friends.  She’s on her way to meet them for a girls’ lunch when she’s cornered by her High School “mean girls”.  When they remind her about the 10 year class reunion is coming up.

The women mention that her now happily married high school boyfriend, who knocked her up, will be there.  They also manage to insult her, her career, mother, home, and refer to her son as a “mistake”.  That last comment is the one that causes her to snap.  Jenny makes up a story about having a boyfriend/fiancé who is a wonder father figure to her son.  The women jump to the conclusion that she means Owen Dalton the billionaire tech guru she briefly dated.  Jenny doesn’t have a chance to correct them.  They immediately post to Facebook hinting that Owen’ll be there.  If Jenny doesn’t show up with Owen and a big fat rock on her finger her reputation will be in shreds.  Jenny’s used to the scrutiny and the criticism but she doesn’t want this to effect her son.

When she tells her friends what happened, she wonders what she’s going to do.  Her friends suggest she see Owen and plead her case.  They point out Owen’s a good guy and will probably help her out.  The girls believe she should take a chance on Love and this is the opportunity that will rekindle their romance.  Jenny and Owen didn’t break up on the best of terms.  She made it appear as though she cheated on him during a swanky gala.  Jenny broke his heart and his trust.  Her friends know she staged it and didn’t really cheat on Owen.  Jenny panicked over her feelings about him and self sabotaged the relationship.  She still has feelings for Owen but is certain she’s not good enough for him nor is she lovable.  Jenny’s convinced that either he’s eventually going to leave her or she’s going to break his heart again.

Owen in the two years since they dated, he’s made himself over.  He has a new haircut, a new wardrobe, and it seems he’s working out more.  He’s not the lovable hot geek he once was he’s a hard hot businessman.  Owen isn’t very kind or easy on Jenny, he’s cold and distant.  Eventually though he agrees to help her out with the caveat that she owes a favor.  A favor of anything he wants from her at anytime he asks.  The evening is complex.  It’s not because it’s difficult for them to pretend to be into each other but because it feels too real.  Owen comes to Jenny’s rescue after a tense stand-off with her ex regarding their son.  After that evening Owen soon finds himself at Jenny’s house for random reasons.  His relationship with Cooper easily falls back into that friendship.

Jenny wants to be with Owen.  At the same time she wants to keep her distance for self -reservation and his protection.  He feels the same way.  Owen calls in his favor with Jenny.  He requires they extend their fake fiancé relationship through the week of his brother’s wedding.  This means several weeks, keeping up the charade for the locals so a break-up isn’t on social media.  She’ll accompany him back to his hometown in West Virginia, staying with him for the week.  Owen’s relationship with his father was ugly and by extension his family treated him poorly as well.  In short his childhood was a nightmare.  Although the plan’s for Jenny and Owen to go alone, there’s a glitch and Cooper must come along.  The trip goes a lot differently than Owen expects.  Especially when Jenny tells his father off practically upon walking into his family’s home.

Owen’s father takes to Jenny’s son as if he’s his own grandfather.  This confounds Owen to the point that he’s almost jealous of Cooper.  His parents also love Jenny and are kind to him as well, it freaks him out a little bit.  It’s during this trip that Owen and Jenny’s relationship turns physical and more emotional.  By the end of it Jenny is once again freaked out.  During and after the trip to West Virginia many secrets come to light.  A lot of Daddy Issue situations find resolution.  There is also a blackmailing incident which will cause irreparable damage to Owen and Jenny’s relationship.

Michelle Major packs so many little nuances into “Meant for You”.  There’s a twist regarding the “mean girls” and both Owen and Jenny’s mothers, and Cooper’s laid-back yet cold mercenary streak.  The way the four stand-alone books are smoothly and seamlessly interwoven is also a nice touch.  But Owen and Jenny are tormented by thoughts they aren’t lovable and engage in an emotional push/pull as self-defense.  Therefore they are equally angsty.  The secondary characters are all necessary and their roles are all well played.  One of my few issues is with one of the secondary characters.  I wish she would appear stronger in her relationship with her estranged husband.  It feel as though it wraps up too easily.  This was a book that I didn’t really want to put down.  It makes me want to read the books that features the other couples.  Always a good sign.

I’m giving “Meant for You” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Gale Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed

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