Elle’s blind date with the beautiful, snobby sister of her new business partner is a disaster, but she considers that emblematic of her life in general. It’s for the best, really. Darcy strikes her as a particular kind of stick-up-the-butt snob who would hate everything about Elle and her chaotic life. But every time her mother asks if Elle is seeing anyone, it’s one more reminder that Elle is a failure in her family’s eyes.

Darcy is fresh off a painful breakup and done with her brother’s pressure to “get out there” and open her heart up again. All she wants to do is stay in and stay the course of her quiet, orderly, successful life. Her brother’s latest setup for her (with an astrologist, of all people) was the final straw. But she never could say no to her baby brother’s puppy-dog face. When he tries to push her into speed dating, she lies and tells him the date with Elle was a raging success, just to get him off her back.

Elle and Darcy’s fake relationship makes both their families happy, even if it comes with an agreed-on expiration date. Falling for each other was never part of the plan, but the chaotic pull of Elle’s gravity turns out to be too much for Darcy to resist. As Elle learns to believe in her value and Darcy learns to open her heart, they both find themselves reaching for the stars.

This is a great, tightly-written contemporary romance. I’ve seen it billed as a Pride and Prejudice meets Bridget Jones’s Diary, but I’m not sure I agree completely with that comparison. The elements of P&P are more about the characters than the plot. We have the aloof, snobby love interest with a cinnamon roll bestie-brother; and the free-spirited woman with catty sisters, passive father, and judgy mother. Bridget Jones is more of a stretch. Sure, Elle thinks she’s a mess, but she’s actually pretty together with a successful career about to launch. Her brain weasels come straight from her parents. She doesn’t need anyone to hand her success, either. She knows what she wants to do from the start, she pursues it, and she’s damn good at it. That competence makes Elle much more likeable and relatable than Jones.

Overall, I found it charming, sexy, funny, wholesome, and well-written. The romantic and sexual tension are nicely crafted, and there are moments of lovely imagery and connection. I highly recommend it to any fans of contemporary romance. Check out the author and their work at www.alexandriabellefleur.com, and look for the book at your local library!

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