Title: Meant to Be Yours by Susan Mallery
Happily Inc. Series Book Five
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…
Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.
After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.
Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?
Meant to Be Yours by Susan Mallery is a gratifying romance that is quite heartening. Although this newest release is the fifth installment in the Happily Inc. series, it can easily be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend the other books in this marvelous series.
Renee Grothen loves her job as a wedding planner but she has no desire to marry. With a couple of devastating heartbreaks behind her, she would much rather indulge in a no strings fling. And the man who immediately comes to mind? Mystery author Jasper Dembenski. He is well-known for avoiding relationships so Renee seizes the opportunity to indulge in a scorching hot fling with him. But when Jasper needs assistance with writing a female character into his latest work in progress, he begins spending time with Renee at the wedding planning business. Their arrangement is suddenly complicated by a surprising friendship and before long their feelings for one another begin to deepen. But with both Renee and Jasper still dealing with wounds from their respective pasts, is there any chance for a future together?
Renee is wonderful woman who has no trouble speaking her mind or standing up for herself. She is a calming influence with their clients and she is unflappable when problems arise. Renee has been attracted to Jasper for a while so she is quick to seize the change to enter into a no strings fling with him. She is also amenable to helping him with research for his novel and their relationship quickly evolves into friendship. Just as Renee is on the verge of startling career opportunity, she fears her past could ruin the life she has made for herself in Happily Inc.
When Jasper first settled in Happily Inc., he was still struggling with PTSD from his military service. He lives outside of town and he initially kept to himself. Over the years, Jasper has made several friendships with the townspeople and he has become more active in the community. But the one thing that has not changed is Jasper’s insistence he is not marriage material, so he is quite agreeable to a friends with benefit arrangement with Renee. Needless to say, Jasper is rather shocked once he realizes how much he enjoys Renee’s company outside the bedroom.
Renee and Jasper’s relationship is not without a few hiccups and bumps. Jasper does not always respect Renee’s viewpoint and he makes some ill-advised decisions. Renee is quick to call him on his behavior and he is just as swift to realize he is in the wrong and make amends. Jasper is the first to realize his feelings for Renee run much deeper than friendship but will she be receptive to taking their relationship to the next level?
Meant to Be Yours is a winsome romance with endearing characters and a unique storyline. Renee and Jasper are well-rounded characters with relatable strengths and all too human shortcomings. The secondary cast of characters is quirky yet appealing. Jasper and Renee’s relationship is a wonderful blend of sizzling hot love scenes and sweet, ordinary time in each other’s company. With the future of their relationship hanging in the balance, Susan Mallery brings this enchanting novel to a heartfelt conclusion. Old and new fans are going to love this newest addition to the warmly inviting Happily Inc. series.