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Title: ALMOST A BRIDE
Author: Jo Watson
Series: Destination Love, #2
On Sale: January 31, 2017
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $4.99 USD
Add to Goodreads
Annie knows life isn’t always fair. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you get mistaken for a crazed intruder when you come home early and find your boyfriend wearing nipple clamps with a coworker on the night you thought he was going to propose to you.
The important thing is to move on, and for Annie that means treating herself to a tropical vacation. But when she runs into her ex and his new woman staying at the same resort, reason is washed out to sea. Caught off guard, Annie pretends she’s with Chris, a cute screenwriter she meets on the beach. With his own writing blocked, Chris is happy to help Annie craft a story to save face. Soon Annie isn’t just getting over her ex, she’s getting under Chris. As her fictional feelings grow increasingly real, Annie has to decide if she’s ready to risk her heart on a new relationship.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
About six months ago, I was asked if I would like to participate in the blog tour for Jo Watson’s romance novel Burning Moon (Destination Love, #1). Saying yes was one of the best book decisions I’ve ever made because it introduced me to Jo Watson’s brilliant writing and witty humor. I loved every moment of reading Burning Moon, and when the option to be part of the blog tour for Almost a Bride (Destination Love, #2) came about, I said yes without hesitation.
Almost a Bride follows Annie as she tries to mend the heart her cheating ex-boyfriend broke. When her ex-boyfriend, Trevv, and his new girlfriend show up at the same resort Annie’s vacationing at, she’s forced to take desperate measures to show she’s happily moved on. Annie introduces them to her new fake-boyfriend, a man she’s just met. Luckily for Annie, Chris is looking for some writing inspiration and is willing to join the charade. The longer Annie and Chris play boyfriend and girlfriend, the closer the more their relationship starts to feel less fake and more real.
Once again, Jo Watson has crafted a hilariously heartwarming romance. I love how she’s able to take a character from heartbreak and bring them full circle through self-discovery. Her characters may be hurt, but they’re not down for the count. They always find their true selves and the things in life they’re made for. It’s so refreshing!
I fell in love with Annie Anne the minute I began reading her story. She was so awesome, and I identified with her brokenhearted madness. (I kind of feel like the author modeled her after me in my early 20’s, but I probably shouldn’t be admitting that!) I mean, who hasn’t played up their lives in front of an ex? Annie pulled off what we all wish we could have at some point in our lives.
Chris was the perfect guy for Annie to meet. He was sexy in a cute, goofy way. I loved the instant connection and joking nature Annie and Chris had. It made their quick decent into love feel possible. They were so perfect together, and the chemistry between them was palpable. Every minute of their romance was adorable.
I probably shouldn’t love the villains in this story, but were just too dang perfect. Trevv and Tess were something else. Seriously, I laughed so hard at their antics.
If you love contemporary romances and haven’t yet met Jo Watson’s novels, you’re missing out. She’s quickly become one of my favorite contemporary romance writers. I highly recommend both Burning Moon and Almost a Bride.
I knew something was wrong the second I walked up to my front door.
Call it intuition. Call it a sixth sense. But I just knew.
I blame the shoes. The shoes were undoubtedly the cause of all the
problems that day. It was the shoes’ fault that I came home early, and
the shoes’ fault I was fired.
I suppose I can’t blame the shoes for making me late, though—
that was the alarm clock’s fault for rudely deciding not to do its job.
And when I finally realized, through the thick haze of sleepiness,
that it hadn’t gone off, it was too late. I was already late for work.
And when I say work, I mean my brand-new job—job of my
dreams—as a fashion assistant at Glamorous Girl mag.
I’d just made a total career change, leaving behind a successful job
as a stylist in advertising to pursue a job in the magazine industry. It
was early days, so I was still desperately trying to impress by being
perfect, polite, and oh so obliging. Whether it was the request for
the latte to be served at 97.7 degrees with no sugar, soy milk froth,
and a sprinkling of organic cocoa powder flown in directly from
the foothills of the Andes. Or whether it was for the jasmine-and-lavender-
scented candles to be burned in the office for exactly ten
minutes before my boss arrived—that was me.
Little Miss Annie Obliging.
Because let’s face it, the word assistant is just a glammed-up euphemism
for slave. But I was ambitious and determined, so when I
realized I wouldn’t be able to attend to the scented candles, or fetch
the latte, I panicked. So much so, that I left the house without the
said troublemaking, life-ruining, world-annihilating shoes.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the shoes. They weren’t
ordinary shoes, oh no, they were none other than the just-off-the-
Paris-catwalk-and-not-for-sale-to-mere-mortals-yet Christian Louboutins.
They also happened to be the centerpieces for that day’s
The same rushed panic that had caused me to forget the shoes in
the first place had also left me with barely enough time to scrape my
hair back into a casual bun and slip on a creased T-shirt and pair of
jeans from my floor.
The latter is a bigger sin than you think. Because where I
work, wearing anything other than the most fashionable apparel
is sacrilege. People practically throw holy water at you and start
wailing in Latin for fear that you’ve been possessed by the demon
of bad fashion. In fact, a real demon possession, complete with a
backward-rolling head and the ability to speak in tongues, would
be preferable to the demon of last season’s handbag and Crocs
So when I finally got to work, underdressed, out of breath, without
the shoes, and over an hour late, I was in serious trouble.
My boss was throwing a hissy fit, due to lack of flowery scents in
her office, and her personal assistant Cedric was in the throes of an
overly dramatic caffeine withdrawal, due to lack of latte.
And it kept getting worse.
Two hours later the panicky fashion director summoned the
Louboutins. Those shoes had been troublemakers from the start. It
had been an absolute trauma getting them in the first place. They’d
been flown into South Africa late the previous night, and I’d been
tasked with collecting them. Everyone was holding their collective
breath for the grand arrival. So when I was forced to confess to their
absence…well, you can only imagine.
When lunch finally arrived, I jumped into my car and sped home.
I had exactly one hour to get in and out before the photo shoot, more
than enough time.
I pulled into my driveway at breakneck speed, ran for the front
door, slipped my house keys into the lock, and turned—
Something made me stop.
Something told me not to go inside.
Something was very wrong.
I looked around nervously. Everything seemed normal. Peter
across the road was blasting his TV as usual, the ratbag Chihuahua
from number 45 was running up and down the garden perimeter
yapping at an unseen force, and Mildred, my neighbor, was outside
watering her hydrangeas.
So why was I hesitating?
I took a deep breath and inched the door open.
Nothing looked out of place.
Everything was exactly the way I’d left it.
Yet everything felt wrong.
I slunk down the hallway toward the kitchen, where I knew I’d
find the shoes perched next to the coffeepot. But once inside, I was
hit by a terribly eerie sensation…someone was in the house. A shiver
licked the length of my spine when my suspicions were confirmed.
Creeeeaaakkk…A noise was coming from my bedroom directly
Shit, shit, shit, there was an intruder in the house!
I launched myself at the cutlery drawer, grabbing the largest knife
I could find while simultaneously dialing the police and still managing
to hold on to the shoes for dear life.
“Police! Help, there’s an intruder in my house. Forty-Seven Mendelssohn
Road, Oaklands. Quick.”
Now what? I’d never been in a situation like this before. What
was the correct protocol? Should I hide, evacuate the house, attack
the intruder, scream loudly? Or perhaps a combination of the above?
I thought for a second before deciding to get the fuck out of there!
But just as I had one foot safely installed outside the front door, I
heard another noise. This time it was different. It was…
It sounded like…
My blood ran cold.
But it couldn’t be. Trevv was at work. Trevv had a very important
day in court, he told me. His client’s final hearing was today. Right
now, in fact. I’d called him from my office about an hour ago and
he’d told me he was in court.
He was in court, dammit!
I started climbing the stairs.
But that was impossible…wasn’t it?
The noises grew louder and louder the farther up the stairs I
went. I’m not really sure at what point I knew what the noises were
or knew what I was going to see when I opened the door. But I just
It’s one thing walking in on your boyfriend having sex with another
woman, but it’s another thing entirely walking in on him the
second the other woman is coming. She was facing the door but was
bouncing up and down so vigorously that her face was a blur. And
then suddenly her body stiffened, she threw her head back, opened
her mouth, and let out a high-pitched wail. As if that wasn’t self explanatory
enough, she decided to toss in a few words for good
“Yes, Trevvy, yes. Oh my God, oh my God, oh Trevvy. Harder!
Ah, ah, ah.” Pant, pant, pant “I’m coming!” *Long high-pitched
Now…there were several things wrong with this picture, aside
from the obvious. Firstly, who the hell screams like that in bed? No
one does! Sex is not so good that you have to break the sound barrier
with your squealing dolphin sounds. Secondly, what the hell was
she wearing? She was clad in some kind of leathery studded number
that looked like it had been worn by one of the Village People. And
to make matters worse, Trevv was blindfolded with the tie that I had
bought him two Christmases ago and…OH MY GOD…were those,
were those…nipple clamps?
I felt sick to my stomach.
And thirdly, who was this mystery woman without an ounce of cellulite,
without the slightest smidge of fat, and with boobs that seemed
to defy all known natural laws of gravity and motion? Which
woman can be that damn perfect…
…and then her features came into focus and the answer dawned
My boyfriend’s “coworker.” The woman I’d invited into
my home on several occasions for dinner. The woman that I always
phoned when I couldn’t get hold of Trevv, because I knew they
were probably together working on a case, tired and exhausted and
burning the midnight oil when they’d rather be at home with their
significant others. She had a fiancé after all.
Poor overworked Trevv and Tess.
God, I was naive.
But the show didn’t end there. Tess’s eyes were still closed when
Trevv started making some delightful grunting-moaning-squeaking
sounds. He’d never made sounds like that with me before. His sweaty
hands reached up and grabbed at her hungrily.
Loud, long moan.
I was frozen. It’s hard to know what to do when you watch your
partner of two years with his penis somewhere you wouldn’t even
like to imagine, let alone witness in full blinding daylight.
Once all their postcoital panting had tapered off, Tess opened her
eyes and saw me standing in the doorway. The look on her face was
indescribable. Shock and horror and fear all at the same time. And
then she opened her mouth and screamed.
Trevv then turned his head toward the door and whipped off his
blindfold. Our eyes locked and then he did something truly bizarre.
Unexpected. He grabbed Tess by the hand and dragged her to the
other side of the bed.
“Anne, please…you don’t want to do this.” Trevv threw his hands
in the air defensively. He looked terrified. She was bleating hysterically
by this stage.
What was going on? Wasn’t I the jilted one? Wasn’t I the one
that was supposed to be upset? I started walking toward them, which
seemed to only make matters worse.
“Anne, please. Please.” He seemed to be begging now. “Think
about what you’re doing. I know this is bad, but this isn’t the way to
handle it. Please don’t do this.”
Things happened pretty quickly after that. Suddenly, the room
was filled with armed police officers. I was about to tell them they
could all go home, when Trevv cut me off.
“She has a knife. She’s going to kill us!” he shouted, pointing at me.
What knife? I glanced at my hands, and that’s when I realized I
was still holding the large knife, and it was pointed in their direction.
I quickly turned to explain. “I wasn’t going to—”
“Ma’am…” One of the police officers cut me off and started creeping
toward me as if I was a feral pit bull that hadn’t eaten in a week.
“Put down your weapon.”
“I swear, this isn’t what you think, I was just trying to—”
BAM! Face on floor, handcuffs around wrists.
Three really painful things happened at that point: One, the knife
slipped and cut the entire length of my palm. Two, some of my
newly acquired, gorgeous nails snapped off. And three, the crystal-encrusted,
six-inch heel of the priceless Louboutin snapped off,
rolled across the floor lifelessly, and disappeared under the bed.
THE DESTINATION LOVE SERIES:
BURNING MOON, #1
ALMOST A BRIDE, #2
FINDING YOU, #3
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jo Watson is an award-winning writer of romantic comedies. Burning Moon won a Watty Award in 2014. Jo is an Adidas addict and a Depeche Mode devotee.
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