Thursday, January 31, 2013

ARC Review: Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee

Not Quite Dating
Author: Catherine Bybee
Publication: Montlake Romance (November 13, 2012)

Description: Waitress and single mom Jessica “Jessie” Mann is practical to a fault. Even if she had time to date, which she doesn’t, she’d be determined to provide her son with a more secure upbringing than the one she had—and that would mean a husband with big bucks. When Jack Morrison—a sexy-as-sin, seemingly broke customer with a cowboy hat and a seductive grin—tries to flirt with her, she shoots him down. She doubts a carefree dreamer like Jack can provide the financial stability she needs. Yet with Christmas just weeks away, and Jessie not wanting to spend it alone, the charming Texan is proving hard to resist.

As the heir to the Morrison luxury hotel empire, Jack is used to being fawned over. But Jack needs someone who will fall in love with him—not his wealth. He’s set his sights on Jessie, though her hardened heart just might get in the way…To be sure, he conceals his true identity and offers to help Jessie find the rich husband she seeks. But Jack’s daring charade may rob him of the holiday wish he wants most of all…

My Thoughts: NOT QUITE DATING was an excellent romance. Jack Morrison is tired of having women throw themselves at him because he is a millionaire and the heir to the Morrison hotel chain. When he meets Jessie Mann in a Denny's after a weekend bachelor party with some of his best friends, he falls in love with her honesty even though she is quick to shoot down a guy she sees as a dreamer and drifter.

Jessie has all she can do to support herself and her son Danny. She doesn't have time for a relationship at all. If she did, she would be looking for a rich guy who could ease some of the load she is carrying. Jack wants to be loved for himself. So he decides to lie to Jessie and let her believe that he is just a temporary waiter who might be moving on. 

Jessie does fall for Jack's kindness both to herself and to her son but she isn't going to let herself love a dreamer who will leave her like her high school boyfriend did when he found out she was pregnant and like another boyfriend did who took a month's rent when he left. She tries to date another guy but realizes it won't work when she spends the date comparing him to Jack (and finding him lacking) and then the date caps off the evening by assuming that she is willing to trade sex for dinner. 

When Jack proposes after their first night together, Jessie refuses. She tells him that she is afraid that she and Danny will hold him back from following his dreams and that he will come to regret their relationships. All he hears is the "no" and storms off leaving both of them heartbroken. It takes his sister and hers working behind the scenes to get them to see each other again.

Things get even worse between the two of them when she finds out that he has been lying to her. Even worse, she thinks he is planning to marry another woman. It takes a lot of fast-talking and Texas charm to convince Jessie that Jack wants her forever. I'm not really sure that saying he loves her "more than roaches love sticky buns" would work as well for me as it did for Jessie but it worked for her. 

I recommend this romance for its well-written characters and strong emotions.

Favorite Quote:
Once they slept together, this pseudo friendship would blow up like smoke and Jack would hold onto her as tight as he could. No more misfit dates with lawyers who took her as easy. No more pretending no to care if another man looked at her with desire. Jack Morrison was a good many things, but he didn't share his women, and none had meant as much as Jessie did.
I got this ARC through the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.

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