By: Nicole Flockton
Phoebe Fitzgerald is about to marry a wonderful man—that is until her ex turns up and declares his undying love for her. Confused about her feelings, she calls off her wedding to Marco Petronelli.
Marco knows his offer to wed Phoebe isn’t a love match, but he cares for her and believes the compatibility they share will be enough to sustain their marriage. He is forced to admit his emotions go far deeper when Phoebe calls off the wedding, and now he will do almost anything to make her realize they are meant for each other.
Can he convince Phoebe that their relationship is worth saving? Or will secrets from both their pasts be too much to overcome?
Phoebe Fitzgerald turned and looked at herself in the mirror of the bridal store fitting room, and butterflies multiplied by the dozen in her belly. Her dress fit perfectly. She looked like a queen. It was everything she had thought it would be and more.
“Oh, Phoebe,” her best friend Sophie gushed when the curtain was thrust open by the alterations lady.
Before Phoebe could say anything, her phone beeped, signaling a text message had arrived. She should’ve turned it to vibrate before she’d entered the changing room. The butterflies stopped fluttering and a football-sized feeling of dread replaced them. Somehow she knew who was texting her. The same person who’d been calling and texting her constantly for the last two days: John Allen. After their first conversation two weeks ago, she’d stopped answering his calls and texts. But he hadn’t given up.
Two weeks ago everything had been clear in her mind. She was going to get married to a man who had come to mean a lot to her. It wasn’t a fairy tale love match, but at the time of Marco’s proposal she’d been caught up in the haze of some of the most amazing lovemaking she’d ever experienced—so when he had blurted out they should get married, she’d readily agreed. She’d thought he’d been joking, but the next night, when he’d gotten down on bended knee and presented her with a ring, she had said yes again. She cared deeply for Marco. She knew she could count on him when she needed him. She knew he would never disappoint her or let her down.
After loving and losing and being disappointed by the people in her life more than once, she had no desire to travel down that bumpy road again. A nice, no complications relationship had seemed the perfect solution.
Now a ghost from her past had returned and it was like a fog had crept into her mind. She had no visibility of what was right or wrong. She was so confused.
Why did Marco have to cancel their lunch date two weeks ago? Things would’ve been so much easier if he hadn’t had to stay at that meeting.
Standing in her wedding dress, looking like a queen, she let her mind wander back to the day when her world turned upside down.
“You look like you’ve lost fifty dollars and found five instead.”
Phoebe whipped her head around and couldn’t believe it when she clapped eyes on her former lover—John Allen.
“John, what are you doing here?”
“I’m back in town; my stint overseas is over.” He sent her a look that she could only describe as suggestive. With his hair falling over his forehead, he had an air of carefree fun about him. “I’m hoping we can catch up.”
It had been months since she’d last seen John, since he’d announced very casually over dinner that he was planning on joining an overseas medical organization, and he was leaving the next day. She’d been heartbroken. She’d thought they’d had something special. But, once again, it seemed the people she loved never loved her as much as she loved them. It was like she wasn’t worthy of their full affection.
“I don’t think so.”
When he reached out and touched her hand, her skin tingled. “Phoebs, I’m sorry about the way I left but while I was away I realized what a fool I’d been. I’d left the best girl I’ve ever known behind. I constantly thought about all the fun times we had. How whenever we were together we seemed untouchable. I think I’m in love with you, Phoebe.
She couldn’t deny the way her heart fluttered at his declaration. It was what she’d hoped would happen after he’d left, but it never had. Now she had Marco in her life. She could count on Marco not to let her down. Marco was solid, dependable, trustworthy. He would never leave her alone like so many others had done before. They may not laugh as much as her and John had done, and they may not have ever said those three little words to each other, but they did have a good relationship. Marco was her chance to finally have someone permanent in her life. Someone who put her first.
“I think it’s a little late for that, John.” Phoebe held up her left hand and waved her fingers. “I’m engaged now.”
“Nothing’s final until you say ‘I do’. Engagements aren’t set in stone.”
“Well, regardless of what you think, it means something to me.”
“Does it? I see the way you’re breathing, Phoebs. I see the way your eyes are shining. You still care.” He took hold of her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it.
She knew she should pull her hand away, but she couldn’t. Her skin didn’t burn like it did when Marco touched her, but her body was reacting. Her body remembered John and all they’d shared—all the love she’d thought she once felt for him.
Phoebe felt many things for Marco, but “love” had never entered the equation. After being burned so many times in the past by people she loved, she was determined to focus on more practical things now. Easy, uncomplicated companionship. An intense physical connection. A future.
But as she looked at John, sitting there across from her declaring his love, a moment’s doubt filled her mind. All those things she had with Marco were important, but when it came down to it, marriage should be based on love, shouldn’t it? What if she was making a mistake?
I received an ARC from Reading Bliss for an honest review.
This is the final book in Ms. Flockton’s linked series Masquerade; however, it can be read as a standalone.
Phoebe Fitzgerald wants love. She wants to know she is a priority. She has a ‘good’ relationship with her fiancée; Max, or so she thinks. With the return of her ex; John, Phoebe begins to doubt her upcoming nuptials. Because of this new doubt, she makes a life changing decision. Phoebe then packs her bags to get away for awhile to think. Little does she know, she won’t be left alone to think for too long.
When I started this book, I had high hopes. Those hopes quickly faded. As the pages turned, the need oomph grew greater and greater. Both Max and Phoebe had ‘secrets’ they were hiding from one another, however, neither secret was that big of a deal. Why they were ‘afraid’ to share them, I’m still not quite sure. I found both main characters to be whiny, insecure, and indecisive. Thus resulting in a difficult to relate to heroine and hero. (At least for me)
The story flowed nicely, although, it took entirely too long for both Max and Phoebe to come to grips with their feelings and make a decision. There are few grammatical errors which is always a pleasure not to have to contend with.
I was neither wowed nor completely let down by this book and therefore; I’m giving it a 3 out of 5 stars.
On her very first school report her teacher said ‘Nicole likes to tell her own stories’.
It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter and after having fun on the community board of eharlequin.com that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.
The stories she writes are contemporary romances with either a medical setting or in the boardrooms of high powered business. Nicole enjoys taking two characters and creating unique situations for them.
Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and her two fabulous kids.
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