Terrific book. Colter has been having a tough year. He's still reeling from his divorce, his father's health is rapidly declining, and since he was named Texas's Sexiest Bachelor, the women won't leave him alone. He can't even drink a beer at his friend's bar without constantly being propositioned. As the book opens, he's unsuccessfully trying to drink in peace. Just as he's chased one woman away, another appears at his elbow.
Adeline has returned to her hometown to write a follow-up story on Colter. Years ago, she was his little brother's babysitter and had a massive crush on Colter. She hopes to use that connection to get the story that will guarantee the promotion she wants at work. She's also happy to get out of New York for a while, away from the memories of her broken engagement.
The first meeting between Colter and Adeline had me laughing out loud. Colter's frustration is evident as he deals with the woman coming on to him, only to be accosted by yet another woman. But this one is different. Her reaction to Colter's nonavailability statement was hilarious, and his response to who she was set the tone for their relationship. I loved their conversation about her determination to get the interview with him and Colter's flash of inspiration on how to help them both. It didn't take much to convince Adeline to pose as his fake girlfriend in exchange for the interview, but neither expected the surge of attraction as they sealed the deal with a kiss.
I loved watching their relationship develop. Thanks to the Olympic-level gossip chain in the small town, Colter and Adeline find themselves spending more time together than expected. Their friendship grows as they find they have a lot in common, and their attraction grows along with it. I liked the scenes where they opened up about their pasts, fears, and plans for the future. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is to remember that the relationship isn't real and that Adeline will be headed back to New York.
Just as Colter and Adeline begin to realize the truth of their feelings and consider possibilities, tragedy strikes. Colter's fears and guilt come rushing back to the surface, and he pushes Adeline away. I wanted to shake Colter for his jerky behavior and felt that he deserved the misery he felt. Both have some serious thinking to do about what they want and some past issues to confront before they can move ahead. I loved the ending and the result of those actions. It was great to see that both Colter and Adeline were willing to make changes, and I loved how they worked out the perfect solution.
I loved Adeline's twist in her follow-up article on Texas's Sexiest Bachelor. I didn't see that coming and laughed out loud at the results. The final chapter is a terrific lead-in to the next book, and I can't wait to read it.