Marrying the Wedding Crasher
by Melinda Curtis
Series: Harmony Valley #11
Published by Harlequin Heartwarming
Publication Date March 1, 2018
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: California Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
This bachelor's pretend girlfriend just made a shocking discovery--
Although they dated for only a month, Harley O'Hannigan just agreed to be Vince Messina's plus-one at a Harmony Valley wedding. Big mistake, given her deepening feelings for the tall, dark, unavailable bachelor. And what about Vince's long-buried family history? Then there's the growing secret that could transform this pretend relationship into the real thing...
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Marrying the Wedding Crasher was everything I’ve come to expect in a book by author Melinda Curtis. With a subtle sense of humor, her books are lighthearted and fun despite the drama.
Vince is the protector of his family and always has been. Despite being the middle child, he took on the responsibility of covering for his dad’s inadequacies as a child. He also harbored a secret from his brothers that had the power to cause them to hate him, and so he avoided them. Until he had to return to Harmony Valley for his brother’s wedding.
Harley had secrets of her own that had her working as a tile-installer instead of using her architectural degree. Though she didn’t want to be Vince’s wedding date, circumstances forced her to make the decision to go with him to California for a week to do just that.
Though there was a level of predictability to the story (in a fun way), there were some twists and turns that kept it interesting. I didn’t expect the wedding crasher to be who it was! Moreover, there were some quirky small-town characters to add additional color to the story.
Though this is part of a multi-book series, it stands alone. This is the first book in the series I read, and I am guessing that Vince’s brother Joe and his fiancée, Brit, were in a previous book. I suspect that his older brother, Gabe, will appear in his own story in the future.
Harley opened the creaky door to her hot truck cab and climbed in. She missed her Lexus. She missed auto-start and powerful air-conditioning.
She turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. Not so much as a tick of the starter.
She missed reliability.
“Not today,” she muttered.
The truck was finicky. It didn’t like to run when the Houston temperature dropped to the thirties or in thunderstorms, but the day had been hot, the skies clear.
“Come on, baby,” she chided the old vehicle. Don’t leave me stranded with Mr. Carrots and that grin.
Vince, aka Mr. Carrots, locked up his tools and leaned on his truck, staring at hers.
Still nothing. Her backside was growing damp with sweat.
Vince walked toward her with the swagger of a man who knew what his purpose was in life. And, right now, that purpose was to rescue a damsel in distress. “Pop the hood.”
She did, hopping out and joining him at the grille. Not that she knew anything about engines. Her mechanical ability stopped at turning power tools off and on.
Vince tsked and gave Harley a look that disapproved and teased at the same time.
“Hey, don’t judge,” she said. “It runs.”
“It’s not running now.” He drew a blue rag from his back pocket. It was the kind of scrap mechanics used to wipe their hands and touch hot engines. “You might want to spray your engine off every once in a while.” He used the rag to check battery connections, hose connections and to prod the engine compartment as if he knew what he was doing.
“I barely clean my apartment. Why would I clean my engine?”
“So a mechanic can see if you’ve got leaks anywhere, for one thing,” Vince said straight-faced.
“Why don’t you try it again?”
She hurried back behind the wheel. The truck started right up. “Traitor,” she accused under her breath.
Vince shut the hood and came around to her window, wiping his hands.
“Thanks.” Harley gave him her polite smile, the one she reserved for helpful salesclerks and the receptionist who squeezed her in at the doctor’s office. “I owe you.”
“Yeeeaah.” He wound out the word and ran his fingers through that thatch of midnight hair. “About that. I need a favor.” Those kind black eyes lifted to her face.
Don’t believe in fairy tales… Don’t believe in fairy tales…
Despite their history, despite knowing better, silly fantasies about princely rescues and Mr. Right fluttered about her chest like happy butterflies on a warm spring day.
She should go. Instead she lingered and asked, “So what’s the favor?”
The devilish grin returned, making the butterflies ecstatic. “I need a date to my brother’s wedding.”
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