Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott Blog Tour

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what could possibly go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

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I knew Marcus was six-two, just a little taller than me. I knew he had blue eyes, and dark hair with red tones in certain light. He had a brother, but they didn’t see each other much, being that his brother was in the Navy. His parents were retired in Florida, but they’d had Marcus and his brother Adam late in life. Marcus was twenty-nine, same as me with only a few months separating our birthdays, and he was a firefighter. Oh, and he was a good, kind man who was thoughtful all the time and treated me like a prince.

“That’s such a shame. Anyway, how are Marcus’ kittens?” Mom asked. I pulled myself back to what she was saying. It was never good to not pay full attention to anything Mom said, otherwise you’d end up agreeing to all kinds of things she’d throw at you when your defenses are down. I loved her dearly but she was sneaky like that.

Which is how I got myself into this mess with Marcus in the first place.

“They’re fine.”

“Did he find good homes for them?”

“Absolutely, the last of them went to a widowed grandmother in his apartment block.”

“Socks? The dark one?”

I glanced at my notes. “No, you remember Socks went to his uncle; Spider went to the old lady.”

“Oh yes, of course, although why someone would name a kitten Spider I don’t know.”

“There were spiders in the house where Marcus found the kittens.”

“I still don’t understand how there could be spiders in a burned-out house.”

Shit. “Spiders are hardy.”

“You said the house was razed to the ground, dear.”

Now I was losing the will to live. “Well, maybe the spider was outside. Mom, I need to go, Moira is at the door and she needs me to sign off on the new AbbaLister raisins account.”

“Of course dear, just, please tell Marcus he is welcome at any time. We so want to meet him and thought it’d be better at the house.”

“I will, I know he’s keen to meet you.”

“Oh good,” she said, and I knew I’d fucked up and somehow given her an opening. I’d never mentioned once that Marcus wanted to meet them, because that would just give them the impetus to take matters into their own hands. My worst fears were confirmed. “Oh, I’ve had the most wonderful idea.”

Oh God, what?

“Your dad and I are coming into the city on Monday; book us dinner on any night, or lunch, breakfast, anything. I want to meet this young man of yours and if it has to be in a restaurant then so be it.”

“I’m not sure—”

“Derek, he can’t be busy every night next week, and every lunchtime, goodness me, we’ll even take a quick coffee if that is all he can manage.”

Shit. Shit. And double shit.

“I’ll see what I can organize.” I kept my tone regretful, to at least give the impression I would try to organize them meeting Marcus, but that it would be unlikely.

We finished the call, and I replaced the handset in the cradle, fighting the urge to throw it against the wall, sit and cry at my desk, or maybe, less drastically, move to Montana and become a cowboy.

So many lies.

There was no Moira standing at my door. It was still closed and I’d lied to my mom.

There were no kittens, I made those up, and the spider story. The word spider came about because when I’d been talking to my mom about Marcus and the kittens, a tiny spider had crawled over my notes.

I closed the notebook in which I had the names of five kittens with their various characteristics listed.

Mom wanted to meet Marcus, any night, any lunch, anytime.

Which sucked big hairy balls.

Because that was another thing I had made up.

There was no Marcus either.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I’m not one for cute and sweet and I usually avoid holiday romances – but I really loved this. It’s a modern fairytale. At its simplest, it’s the story of an awkward CEO falling for an injured fireman. But like any classic English romance, things aren’t quite so simple.

Luke is wonderful. As readers, we don’t know his secrets until we’re a good ways into the story. We know he isn’t the escort he is pretending to be. We know that he’s sad and often somber, but he’s a very sweet, very enigmatic mystery.

Derek is the new CEO of his family business and he is struggling to replace his father and make this company his own. He is socially awkward, and he struggles in his relationships. I love the way Luke lends him confidence and smooths his social interactions.

I don’t want to give too much away but there is something a little bit magical about this story. I believed in Derek and Luke. I wanted them to be together and I loved the way they made each other better men. It’s the characters that make this story special and I fell hard for them both.

This is perfect Christmas reading – do find yourself a bit of you space that will give you a chance to enjoy this and get in the very best mood for the festivities.

For a shortish novel, we get a very definite picture of just what these men need, and how they could provide everything for each other. The description of Derek's awkwardness in the office, to his first dinner with Luke and his parents just sets the scene for how much this man needs a Christmas miracle. And we know that Luke needs one too, but for totally different reasons. Getting them to match up is all down to the talents of Ms. Scott.

Be prepared for a few tears, some laughs, and lots of love!

As much as I love Scott’s writing, I didn’t sign up to review Love Happens Anyway when the opportunity first arose – I had too much going on with the holidays, parties, and preparing for a 13-hour road trip home. However, when I saw the cover, I caved. That is one stinking cute snowman and it turns out, his identity is kind of important to the story. So thank you, you cheeky snowman, for enticing me to read Derek and Luke’s tale because it was perfect holiday romance reading.

You know the deal, guy is fed up with the set-ups and questions, so he hires someone to act as his romantic interest to get his family and friends off his back about STILL being single. The twist to the trope is that Derek needs a boyfriend, but not just any guy will do as he’s created a guy out of thin air, giving his mother details about “Marcus” so that she’d stop trying to set him up. So, Derek needs a guy who meets certain physical characteristics and can fake being a firefighter. Just four dates, and then they’ll break up and the break up will buy Derek another reprieve from his mother’s meddlesome matchmaking. But Derek didn’t count on Luke – the guy who looks like Marcus come to life and, unbeknownst to Derek, is an actual firefighter. Now, there are certain things you expect from a story with this plot and Scott delivers on those promises spectacularly. Fortunately, the author isn’t satisfied with merely ticking off the expected boxes and throws in a few treats to keep the story fresh and entertaining. Who knew ad execs could be hot? But, as with any good romance, the couple has an obstacle (or two… or three… or…) to overcome before a future is possible and that’s the part of the story I live for – proving to the reader, the author, the universe that the characters deserve to be together.

I enjoyed watching both men grow over the course of the novel, learning more about themselves as they interacted with the other. While Luke had to learn to accept hard truths about his future, I felt that Derek’s growth may have been more significant because he not only had to find his place as the head of the company, but he also had to learn how to interact with his new place in the world and with his parents. I really liked how Luke called Derek on his defensive and argumentative behavior when talking to his mother. While we do find out later in the book why Derek goes on the defensive when faced with his parents (and I was beyond relieved that it wasn’t due to homophobia), he needed that attitude adjustment. As for Derek’s parents, they were just two of the many side characters whose stories and presence increased my enjoyment of the book. For me, Love Happens Anyway was the exact holiday romance I needed at the very moment I read the first word. Not that I’m surprised, Scott’s writing has never failed to entertain me and I’m already looking forward to her next book.

RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott to read and review for this tour.

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