Dear Ms. Maxwell
I liked the first one in this series, Seducing Cinderella, but this was entirely too predictable for me. The tag line says it all. “Seven days. And seven rules to break…” Vanessa McGregor travels to Hawaii to make sure that her best friend, Lucie, has the wedding of her dreams. Lucie can’t attend the pre planning events for the wedding because she has been struck down by food poisoning. Lucie’s laid back surfer/MMA fighter brother, Jackson “Jax” Maris, is supposed to meet her at the airport but is an hour late. Time just got away from him.
He doesn’t apologize but just tries to flirt his way out of it. Like Vanessa, I’d be furious at his cavalier treatment. Traveling is terrible and flying a half a day and then to be stranded at the airport? It’s the height of rudeness. But Jackson believes that his charm is sufficient to overcome his tardiness. Vanessa, thankfully, leaves him behind BUT Jackson makes up a big lie on a whim that she has to pose as Lucie and he as Reid, the groom, in order for her to gain access to the resort where the wedding will take place.
This is a convoluted set up. Lucie is supposed to have a wedding at an exclusive resort but Vanessa, as best friend and maid of honor, won’t be able to access the resort unless she has three forms of ID and can be personally vouched for? How is the wedding actually supposed to take place? (Speaking of weak setups, Vanessa is supposed to be this amazing district attorney – I presume assistant – but at her age of mid to late 20s, she’s probably not tried enough cases to warrant the lame Red Viper in the courtroom and if she does have this nickname, it’s never said with respect.)
Nonetheless, if you can swallow the setup and the big lie, the story moves the reader to the resort where Vanessa will have to share a bungalow with a perfect stranger, Jackson. Of course, we and Jackson know that this is all a lie and I suppose it is to be viewed as a delicious and fun one, because who doesn’t want to be trapped in a bungalow with a hot MMA fighter, right? Lots of people, including Vanessa. Unfortunately Vanessa can’t withstand Jackson’s powerful male pheremones and she is soon dropping her panties and handing over control in the bedroom to Jackson.
The story begins by listing Vanessa’s seven rules but given that three of the seven are blown away in the first scene and the two others drop just as quickly, the list is only illusory. There isn’t any real drama because we already know that Vanessa’s rules can be tossed out the window as quickly as a discarded cigarette.
7. Never take your responsibilities lightly.
6. Never indulge in the poison of lies.
5. Never let a fling last more than three days.
4. Never date a man who chooses fists over words.
3. Never date a man who lacks a stable future.
2. Never relinquish control.
1. Never fall in love.
I think that is the problem inherent with rules and lists. We know each one will fall so where’s the surprise? The two fall in love in the span of seven days and given Vanessa’s previous hangups and Jackson’s continual lying, none of it worked for me. The love scenes between the two were steamy but I didn’t really buy into the romance. There’s a thin line between fun alpha hero and asshole alpha hero and Jackson fell on the bad side for me. C-