Braxton Todd is everyone's first choice but no one's coup. He's a cad, a roué, and below the smooth exterior of the ultimate achiever rests a man who's never given love a chance. He is a character you are prepared to hate but cannot because his vulnerability is all too real, too ragged and raw. Very few get close enough to see beyond the mirror finish (his office manager is one and she is a devilish delight of a matchmaker).
Fabian Rhys has skills that fell under the bus of an economy gone flat. Cool, calm, and über professional, he might just have axed his way out of the interview with Braxton, but thanks to that minx of an assistant he is hired. And what he does is prove his worth from the minute he steps into the office.
Braxton has been coerced into being auctioned for a cause: the prize nominally dinner, the expectations something else entirely. And for three nights the man goes through purgatory (it's worse than that, way worse). In this WeHo `Verse, the author trots out a few characters we've met before (in 'I love you, I hate you' - and they haven't improved any in the intervening period). They all task him, and not just for a night, using Todd's business connection to continue the pursuit. Braxton is way more polite that anyone has a right to be, but it wears on him to deal with Neanderthals and the crushing demands of the A- and B-listers he serves.
The chemistry between Fabian and Braxton is palpable. They dance around their attraction, each man with compelling reasons not to get involved. And it all boils down to a matter of trust, of taking a chance, of trying a connection that second, then a third time. Each character brings something unique to the table: strengths and weaknesses, insecurities, histories. It makes them `real', it makes them highly `sympathetic'.
Marry Me is about emotional growth and recognizing when it's right and when it's time to step up and own feelings. The scenes of affection, while graphic, were not ponderous. Instead they pulsated with emotion, giving this reviewer page after page of sigh worthy moments.
I had a few quibbles: mostly centering around point of view which tended to wander, at times making it difficult to know what was a phone conversation, what was Braxton's POV or Fabian's (a tap of the ruler on the editor's palm for not seeing that).
I will confess, I started this at 11pm, intending to read a couple pages. At 4:30am I clicked the Kindle shut with reluctance, wondering what comes next in this world of larger-than-life characters.
I'm loving this `Verse. Because of the POV issues: 4 stars.