Talk about an opposites attract! Painfully socially awkward, but cultured woman and bad boy work with his hands man have nothing in common, right? You might be surprised. I enjoyed this simple, but heartwarming story of two people caged by their own issues, but seeing beyond the surface to something special in each other. If only they can pluck up the courage to beat their own pasts.
This is book three in the Dreams Come True series. It can work easily as a standalone as its ties are fairly loose to the first two stories. Recurring characters are present, but the plot is all new for this one.
The story begins with mousy, timid, awkward, and lonely Millie Stephens getting snatched out of the past of a speeding car by a handsome stranger. This causes her to re-evaluate her life. What life? She has no life. It is painful to admit that for years her sole focus has been to blend, to hide, to be unnoticed, and she is so successful at it that now her world is her work and her tiny apartment.
But Millie wants to change things. So she draws up one of her familiar lists. This is a list of dreams in one column and life activities in another: have sex, get drunk, be happy, fall in love- scratch that, be content, fall into like. Best she can hope for, right? She doesn’t miss the way Darcy’s contractor and the guy who rescued her thinks she’s a weird and odd when he comes to the house to put in a nursery and update the upstairs bathroom for an expectant Darcy.
Millie isn’t far off at first. Ian Brand does think author Darcy’s assistant is mentally or physically challenged as she goes silent and gap-mouthed and tripping all over herself around him. He has saved her life each time he encounters her. But then he is amused when the brown mousy woman shows she has a brilliant mind after she realizes that he appreciates classical music and books on philosophy. He knows what she thought seeing him looking rough and doing manual labor work. He formed a few early and erroneous impressions of his own.
However, as the two start to spend time together and get past the awkwardness, they see much to appreciate. Millie blooms under Ian’s praise and Ian has wistful thoughts what it would be like to be in a relationship. But Ian has a big opportunity for his historical restoration business in England and he knows that if Millie knew his secret, she wouldn’t want him. And Millie is certain that while Ian enjoys being with her, he would never want anything permanent with a loser like her.
While the story is pretty straight forward with its Ugly Duckling type romance tale, the author builds in meaningful extras like Ian’s attachment to terminally ill Ruby, his hard past, Millie’s careless parents and her own painful past, the group of friends who want to help the pair, and the engaging NYC setting. It’s gently paced and eventually builds up from awkward meet-up to spicy passion and the inevitable conflict. The conflict is no shocker and the reader sees it coming, but it fit the circumstances and allowed the denouement to have a satisfying feel.
I liked how the author wrote Millie’s character. She truly is painfully awkward and not in a cute geeky way. But she is also kind and brilliant. She spouts random facts and it can get messy when she decides to check things off her list. She has these inexplicable things happen that always seem to happen around Ian that are embarrassing for her, but sorta funny for the reader.
But yeah, this poor gal was one well disguised swan. I liked that Ian saw her as beautiful and likeable before she had her final makeover. He truly fell for the woman under the dowdy and sometimes prickly outward appearance.
And that leads to Ian. He grew up rough, but because of one special lady taking an interest in an abused, punk kid from a poor family, he had a chance. And he does well with that chance by working hard and being the son that a childless couple never had and he works to make them proud even if one is gone and the other, Ruby, is dying. Ian has dyslexia, but hides it. He is ashamed and thinks if people knew they would think he was dumb just like his cruel step-dad, the kids, and his teachers. This is why he keeps Millie at a distance. He thinks he doesn’t deserve her. Well they both have that going on which is essentially what causes the conflict in the romance.
In summary, this is a light, heartwarming and sometimes humorous contemporary romance that I think most will find appealing.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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