Hayden is an ER nurse. She works long hours but is struggling to make ends meet. Sam is a neurosurgeon at the same hospital. She has a reputation as a typical surgeon with no bedside manner. Hayden spends a lot of her time bemoaning Sam – Dr. Thomson – to her best friend and fellow ER nurse, Luce.
When Hayden discovers she’s yet again broke before the end of the month, she finds her responding to an advert looking for someone to enter into a fake marriage for a year. It amuses her to find that the advert has been placed by none other than Sam. She really needs the money, but can she be with Sam for the required year.
The period where they negotiate the “dating”, telling friends and getting married is amusing, stopping it from becoming perfunctory as they navigate each other whilst trying not to offend or cause one of the other to walk away, each for their own reasons.
I loved getting to experience Hayden and Sam really falling for each other as they got to know each other. I enjoyed how Benson used the new realities of their life together, such as them living together, and Frank the cat loving Sam to show each other their real selves, and therefore see past their arrangement.
For me, underneath all of the romance, was a real exploration of what marriage really is. We all have our different reasons for getting married, or not as the case may be, and I really enjoyed this exploration of the reasons why it was necessary for Hayden and Sam to enter into their fake marriage, what it meant to both of them and how it changed into something else. The external reinforcements, whether positive or negative, from those around them also served to support this.
As always you get the opportunity to spend time with a range of queer characters, and I loved both Jon, Sam’s brother and Luce, Hayden’s best friend. The discussion of Luce being non-binary and how it impacts their decisions to enter into relationships and their acceptance by others was dealt with really well.
I don’t want to give away any spoiler, but I’m always amazed at how much Benson manages to pack into a book, without losing power from any of the stories and the two secondary storylines in this book are heartbreaking. The way Hayden and Sam deal with them together really cements their relationship and gives you as the reader the opportunity to see different aspects of their characters.
I would highly recommend you read this one if you haven’t already. All romance fans will love this one. Word of warning, it’s on the long side, but is very hard to put down – I kept sneaking five minutes here and there when I supposed to be working!
I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.