REVIEW: Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee
Much more than he bargained for…
“You want me to find you a wife?”
“No. I want you to be my wife.”
Garrett Song is this close to taking the reins of his family’s LA fashion empire…until the Song matriarch insists he marry her handpicked bride first. To block her matchmaking, he recruits Natalie Sobol to pose as his wife. She needs a fake spouse as badly as he does. But when passion burns down their chaste agreement, the flames could destroy them all…
Dear Ms. Lee,
It’s been a while since I read a new Harlequin novel (it’s been mainly reissues of Betty Neels books) and I’d never read one of the newer Desire line. When I saw this gorgeous cover, I decided it was time for me to check it out. Yes, I’m shallow. Natalie is only half Korean with all her knowledge of culture coming from “K-drama” (which makes Garrett wince) so it makes it plausible for him to explain things without it coming over like “as you know, Bob.”
I was hooked from the start. Natalie is a take charge kind of woman who isn’t going to let even the grandson of the company founders get away with not signing his paperwork. Natalie is the VP of Human Resources and let me say I love that she has this job since one of my close family members is in HR, too. Garrett enjoys flirting with her a little but in the end, he does sign the damn papers.
But of course Garrett has no plans to marry due to issues in his past. Then, he gets called home to see his grandmother who applies the guilt with a practiced hand. Garrett is stunned that she’s arranged his marriage to the daughter of a jae-bul Korean family (think power and influence). Faced with outflanking his grandmother in a hurry, Garrett pulls the old “but I’m already engaged” trick. Leaving a not happy matriarch of the family, he runs into Natalie at a nightclub looking hawt, herself. Here I was delighted that there is no showdown, no arrogant reaction from Garrett thinking that she’s trying to seduce him into whatever she wants which is help getting an interview for a job that could allow her to swing the adoption of her orphaned niece. Yes, lots of hawtness and some mental lusting but Natalie holds onto her brains long enough to lay out her demands in order to go along with the fake marriage which Garrett actually respects; since he lost his own mom at a young age, the fact that Natalie is agreeing to this in order to win custody of her orphaned niece touches a sensitive spot in him.
With each person having something to gain from the old “fake marriage for a year” plot, they enter into the arraignment. The usual slow increase in feelings of how hawt the other person is but “no, we can’t because this is only for a set amount of time” occur. I continued to be happy because Garrett is all about helping Natalie make a good impression for the social worker, his family adores her niece and even though smoldering glances and near kisses are there everyone manages to control themselves. Until of course they decide, “why not?” and then the sheets get scorched. Yet the plan remains in place – this is only for a short time. Everyone acts nicely, there’s no revenge plot, Natalie and Garrett are getting to know each other and, of course, feelings are developing. Plus some of Garrett’s and Natalie’s internal monologues are funny.
The final grade gets knocked down a little because with the page count running out, a final “where did that come from” conflict gets shoved into the story. What?? Why? I didn’t think it was needed but there it is. Sigh. The make up scene when both finally confess their true feelings is sweet and heartfelt. I really enjoyed the Korean culture that was excellently included and hope for (much!) more in the next story about Garrett’s younger sister who, I feel, is going to surprise the family when she’s let loose. Until then, this one gets a B.