Cupid Jones Gets Married

Marrying For a Mom

Fill-In Fiancée
by DeAnna Talcott
(Silh. Romance #1694, $3.99, G) ISBN 0-373-19694-6
Nothing new, everything predictable and yet, a good romantic feel is how I would describe Fill-In Fiancée. This story is another in the “Marrying the Bosses’ Daughter” series and is much better than the first one I read.

Brett Hamilton is an English lord who has moved to Boston to get away from the demands of the aristocracy and his title. His older brother has had nothing but girl children and his parents are starting to put pressure on him to marry a childhood acquaintance, who just happens to have “Lady” in front of her name. Brett is quite happy at Wintersoft and his job of VP of Overseas Operations. He also wants to choose his own bride and marry for love.

He devises a scheme to fool his parents, which he hopes will get them off his back. As he is talking, he tells his brother he has a live-in girlfriend, who is almost a fiancée. The name he uses is the woman standing in his office, paralegal Sunny Robins. The more he thinks, the more he likes the idea and he makes Sunny a proposal she can’t refuse.

Sunny, born Sunshine, is a self-made practical woman. Raised by a delightful set of parents who are holdovers from the love-in days of the sixties, Sunny has set out to be normal, practical, serious and organized. The parents, Doug and Sylvia, are true flower children who believe in natural everything, love and being free to be who they are. They adore Sunny, yet can’t really understand her need for a more mainstream lifestyle. Currently they have plans to get a farm in Vermont and harvest maple syrup and raise goats. Only problem is – they have no money. So they are staying in Sunny’s little apartment until they can get on their feet.

Brett’s offer includes free room and board without complications. Sunny will need to act devoted to Brett, but he is not hard on the eyes and she has always admired him. Without thinking too hard, Sunny and Brett agree on the scheme. Sunny gets a few weeks of respite and Brett gets his parents off his back.

What follows is exactly what you think. Sunny and Brett hit it off and fall in love, just like any marriage of convenience story. What makes this work is the humor thrown in, the genuine caring they develop and the uniqueness of their opposite natures. There are scenes that stand out: Sunny’s mom using her expensive pans to make candles, then offering to make zucchini pancakes. Brett’s “stuffed shirt” mom realizing her daughter-in-law may actually be named “Sonny” like a boy.

Brett is a great hero and he contrasts nicely with Sunny. As laid back and fun-loving as he is, he adores her need to be serious. She, on the other hand, learns how much fun just going out might be. He teaches her to be proud of her parents, not ashamed. She teaches him that his are really not all that bad either.

There are references thrown in about the plot by the boss’s daughter Emily to marry off all the bachelor executives so that she is not forced into marriage with any of them, but it is not the main emphasis of the story. It is really almost an aside; therefore, this story stands alone.

I truly enjoyed watching Sunny and Brett fall in love. Circumstances threw them together, but the strong writing and responsiveness of their characters kept my interest and theirs. Fill-in Fiancée may be nothing new, and familiar in much of the plot, but it is enjoyable and engaging throughout.

--Shirley Lyons

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