My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles
I’m a fan of Ms. Simone’s work and this was a nice entry to her collection. The story takes the popular “ugly duckling” and “best friend’s little sister” tropes and does lovely things with them.
Khloe – I don’t get the impression she was truly ever an “ugly duckling”. I think her head was just buried under a lot of old feelings, including being all but throw out by the first man she ever had sex with. So, understandably she’s not overly thrilled when her very rich best friend buys the very same man for her at a bachelor’s auction, just as she’s hoping to find a way to make her (believed) intended husband notice her finally.
For years, Niall has believed he did the wrong thing by accepting Khloe’s offer in the aftermath of her brother’s death and sleeping with her. When fate (and Khloe’s best friend) meddles, he is finally forced to deal with both his lingering attraction and his guilt over the fate of his friend.
I liked the way these two and their internal hang-ups meshed together over the course of the story. The secondary characters definitely filled out the story and I’d love to see a story with Miss Richy-Rich best friend getting a chance to get her man.
For me, my favorite moment actually came in the form of Khloe’s brother and how he plays a part in the two of them getting together. He might be dead for the entire book, but his presence is felt both in the guilty/loss feelings of those he left behind, but in the love he held for both of them before his passing.
If you haven’t checked out Ms. Simone’s work before, this would be a great place to start.