Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery
Published by Harlequin ISBN 978-1335041494
Mass market paperback, $8.99, 464 pages
Author Susan Mallery takes readers to the town of Happily Inc, a destination wedding town in Southern California created in the 1950s by a banker who had seven daughters. By the time the 2000s rolled along, thousands of happy couples, from royalty to Hollywood celebrities and average Americans, have flocked there for the wedding of their dreams.
The town's commerce revolves around weddings, and in her fifth book in the series, Meant To Be Yours, wedding planner Renee Grothen is so busy planning the nearly 75 weddings a year for the company she works for, Weddings Out Of The Box, that she has no time for a personal life.
Renee has not been lucky in love- her first love broke up with her, and then she had a relationship with (unbeknownst to her) a married man. So when famous thriller author and former military police officer Jasper Dembreski takes her home from game night at the local bar, they agree that their hookup is strictly about sex. (You don't have to wait long for a hot explicit sex scene in this story.)
Jasper decides that he wants to introduce a female love interest for his series detective, so he goes to Renee and asks her if he can shadow her for research. He has decided that the female character will be a wedding planner, and a serial killer will be stalking weddings in his next book.
Renee thinks this is a bad idea, but the owner of the company likes the suggestion, as do a happy couple planning their wedding who are fans of Jasper's books. So Jasper will be learning about wedding planning from Renee, but she has strict rules that he will not interfere or insinuate himself into the process. She takes her responsibility to make couples weddings special, and will not tolerate anything that disrupts that.
I so enjoyed my first trip to Happily Inc and Meant To Be Yours! Even though it is the fifth book in the series, I didn't feel lost not knowing any of the secondary characters. I was able to jump right in and follow the story. (That being said, I liked this book so much that I will read the rest of the series in order.)
Having gone through my son's wedding last year, I was drawn to the wedding planner aspect of the story; I liked learning about all the details that go into the process. And the theme weddings- Scottish, Star Trek, and even an apple-themed wedding- were so intriguing.
Reading about Jasper's writing process was interesting too, and the scene where he took Renee to the library because that is where he spent a great deal of time in school was so sweet.
I highly recommend Meant To Be Yours for anyone who likes a good contemporary romance, it's a great way to wile away a rainy Sunday. You'll feel like you met a new group of friends, and you'll want to visit them again in other Happily Inc books.
Visit Susan Mallery's website here for more info on Happily Inc- there's lots of fun stuff there, including a map of the town and character introductions.
Thanks to Harlequin for inviting me to be a part of their Romance & Women's Fiction blog tour, and providing me with an egalley for an honest review.