This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on October 2, 2018
A fashion designer and a textile industry exec suddenly find themselves in need of an engagement while trying to land big deals for their careers and juggling all the complexities of family and that natty little problem called real love. This was a soft hitter and a gently-paced story where engaging characters, detailed settings, family, and slow-burn love were a nice bit of southern delight.
Couldn’t Ask for More turned out to be book two in the Southern Gentlemen series about a group of guys who all matriculated at the same university fraternity and kept up their friendships and community work together. Because of this set up of a series of loosely connected standalones in a series, I was able to jump right in no sweat.
Alexis is finally seeing her dream of her clothing designs go into production and be worn by hard working women who want taste and elegance, but function, too. Only, there was a boo boo said in front of an influential person and now she needs a fiance’ stat. Meanwhile, Bryan’s dad has put him on notice that he needs to land another big account in a few weeks or his smarmy car salesman cousin will have his marketing and sales job. He needs a fashion designer with a clothing design ready to go to mill and she needs a fiance’ what could possibly go wrong? Or maybe a fake engagement is just what this pair needs to make it all go right?
This one was a slow mover up front. I confess that I struggled to stay with it at times as a result. But, that said, there are lovely layers and complexities. I loved that the romance was not told in isolation. There is family, friends, careers, community involvement, and the romance.
Both Lex and Bryan were great characters and had a heart for their work and for others.
A southern city setting and clothing design and manufacturing was a fun choice for background elements.
Family was a big element for both though they came from two different homes. His dad enforced duty, doing one’s best, quality work and success while hers backed up her dreams. Now, family was a bigger part in Lex’s side because there is the side line of her sister in an abusive situation that they all wanted to help with and her overprotective older brother struggling to see her with one of his best friend’s and more so seeing another friend in a relationship and falling in love. I would think Maxwell is getting his story next or soon.
The romance was mixed with all the rest of their life activities, but I enjoyed how it developed from co-conspirators, to friends, and slipped into a true relationship without them noticing right away. It was just a sweet and easy yet sensual thing.
Naturally, there was the token misunderstanding where Alexis got the wrong end of a stick, but it was swept up swiftly. This niggled at me- not because I don’t want a story to be devoid of conflict because then I’m bored- but because I didn’t feel the Alexis of the rest of the book would have refused to let him explain and then it was all blown over within the week with a never mind all that and let’s move on. Since I wanted them back together and being happy, I guess I’ll shrug and let it go.
All in all, I enjoyed my first jaunt with a new to me author and want to go back for the first book with Xavier’s second chance romance story and then hopefully on with Maxwell the no-commitments guy. Those who appreciate a layered slow-build yet heartwarming and sensual contemporary romance should definitely keep this one in mind.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #313 CR
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