Review: Yours To Keep by Shannon Stacey

Yours To Keep coverSean Kowalski gets out of the army and has no idea what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. He heads to his cousins’ hometown, where he can find work until he figures out his future. He’s barely in town a few hours before a crazy woman shows up at his door and announces he’s her fake fiancé.

When I first requested this book for review, I was a bit wary. The fake-fiancé thing can either be painfully cheezy or cute. Fortunately, I thought this setup was cute, and the characters had me chuckling from first to last.

When Emma shows up at his door and announces that he’s her fake fiancé, he says:

“Maybe we should start this conversation in a different place. Like the beginning.”

She took a deep breath, then blew it out. “My grandmother’s raised me since I was four.”

“Maybe not that far back.”

“She retired to Florida a couple years ago with some friends and I took care of the house I grew up in. But all she was doing was worrying about me and when she started talking about moving back so I wouldn’t be alone, I told her I had a boyfriend. Then I told her he’d moved in with me. And, because I would only date a super great guy, after a while he proposed and naturally I accepted.”

Maybe I could relate because I have one of those grandmothers, too. As far as my grandma is aware, London never gets dark, I never go anywhere on my own, and the crime rate here is lower than it is in Antarctica.

I could completely get where Emma was coming from, and Sean could too. After finding out from his cousins that the woman is quirky but not certifiable, he decides to go along with the plan—which involves moving in with her during the month her grandmother comes to visit.

There’s a hysterical scene where they play the Newlywed Game with his cousins – who know they’re faking their engagement – and a couple who will tell her granny if they suspect something’s not quite right. One of the questions is “What’s the first place you had sex”, and Sean decides to keep his answer simple and hope Emma does the same.

Emma grimaced at Sean and then held up her notepad. “On a quilt, under the flowering dogwood.”

The other women made sweet awww noises, but Joe and Kevin were already snickering. That wasn’t keeping it simple. Under a flowering dogwood?

“We need your answer,” Roger said.

Sean held up his paper. “In a bed.”

His cousins’ snickers became full belly laughs, while Dani and Roger just looked a little confused.

“Oh,” Emma said. “You meant sex with each other?”

After that, it disintegrates into a battle to outdo each other that had me laughing out loud. In fact, so many scenes had me laughing that my husband kept shooting me strange looks. But this novel isn’t just funny. It’s full of sweet, tender moments as Sean and Emma realize how lonely they’ve been and how the other fits them so perfectly.

I read Yours To Keep in one evening because I knew I couldn’t fall asleep without seeing these two quirky, cute characters get the happily ever after they deserved.

Rating: 8.5
Heat: 4 out of 5

Published by Carina Press
Release date: 6/6/11

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