When Love Arrives (Johnnie Alexander) – Review

4 stars

 

Alexander - When Love Arrives

Publisher’s Description:
Dani Prescott came to the children’s hospital to spy on Brett Somers–so how did she end up on a date with him? Weeks earlier she’d seen an interview in which he blamed her mother for the plane crash that had killed his parents. But the crash had killed her mother as well, so Dani can’t believe the story Brett’s trying to sell to the media.

Vowing to find a way to discredit the privileged–and maddeningly handsome–Brett, Dani has been following him and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use against him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself offering up a fake name and agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something–but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? Will Dani and Brett look beyond their own heartaches to discover a love that could heal their deepest pain?

Fresh, flirty, and fast-paced, When Love Arrives is an engaging story that will have readers falling in love with the characters as they navigate the tricky waters between romance and revenge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 As they walked towards the theater’s elaborate double doors, Brett’s phone buzzed.  He pulled it from his pocket and frowned.  “You mind if I take this?”
“Of course not.”
He nodded thanks, then answered the call.  “Everything okay?”  A pause.  “You’re where?”
Dani discreetly stepped away but surreptitiously glanced at Brett as he ran his hand over his eyes as if irritated.
“Do what you want.  You always do.”  He jabbed at the screen, then joined her, an uneasy smile pasted on his face.
“Anything wrong?”
“That depends.”  He flashed his dimples.
“On what?”
“If you’re free tomorrow night.”
“Excuse me?”
“I have this thing to go to.  A banquet.  My sister just canceled on me, so . . .”-he shrugged helplessly-“I don’t have a date.”
“You were taking your sister?”
“Not to brag, but I’m one of the guests of honor.  I wanted to make it a family thing.  My cousin and his fiancée are coming too, so it’s not really a date-date.”
“I see.”  More than he realized.  Her own ticket to the Up-and-Comers Banquet was tucked inside her purse.  She’d bought it as part of her Brett Somers surveillance plan.  But he didn’t need to know that.
“So how about it?  I know it’s late notice, but you’d be doing me a big favor.”
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll spill wine on your tux?”
He grinned.  “It’s not quite that fancy.  I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt.”
“You are not.”
“Suit and tie.  So what do you say?”
Dani bit her lip and considered.  Another chance to spend time with Brett.  Another chance to humiliate herself by saying the wrong thing or doing something stupid.
But if she didn’t go with him, she couldn’t go at all.  If he saw her, what excuse could she give for being there?  Besides, it’d give her a chance to meet his cousin and the lucky fiancée.  Maybe even find out why Brett was at the hospital.
“Why not?”  Her cheery voice momentarily squashed the strident misgivings warring inside her.  This might be a bad idea, but at least she had a lovely black dress to wear after yesterday’s trek to practically every consignment shop in Columbus.
“Great.”  Brett sounded genuinely relieved.  “You don’t know how much kidding I’d have to endure if I showed up without a date.”
So that was his motive.  The gleeful misgivings roared.  “We wouldn’t want that, would we?”
“You can’t imagine.”
Yeah.  I can.
She shoved the painful voices into the deep place where she locked up all her hurts.  More important matters needed her attention.  Brett wouldn’t be disgraced at tomorrow night’s banquet, but before long she’d figure out the best way to teach him a lesson he’d never forget.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My review
This story had a surprisingly unhurried feel to it, considering how much was going on.  It’s probably best to read the previous book in this series, Where She Belongs, prior to picking this one up, as Brett’s story really begins there.  But even if you don’t, you will find the pieces are filled in as the story progresses (but no info dumps, thank goodness!)

One of the main benefits of having read the previous novel in the series will be in understanding Brett Somers’ character.  At the beginning of the series, he’s not exactly the kind of guy you take home to meet your parents.  Rather, he’s the kind of guy who kisses his secretary, takes her home, gives her her own credit card, and starts the countdown until it’s out with the old, in with the new.  But his past caught up with him in the previous book, and he’s begun to realise how shallow that life is.  He’s a leopard who is changing his spots, one spot at a time, but who is also reaping the harvest he has sown – like being kept from seeing the eight-year-old boy he recently learned is his son.

Dani Prescott is nothing like the women Brett usually goes for.  She’s not blond, she’s not tall and leggy, she doesn’t put her ‘assets’ out there to try and entice him.  That’s why he figures she’s safe for a spontaneous ‘non’-date when he sees her taking photographs outside the children’s hospital.  But somehow he finds himself spending more and more time with her, introducing her to AJ and Shelby, and just . . . being.  It’s refreshing.  She’s refreshing.

Except, of course, the whole reason he met Dani is because she has been following him, hoping to find something she can use to humiliate him after he blamed her mother for the plane crash that killed his parents.

At the beginning of the novel, I found myself more sympathetic towards Brett than I was  Dani; partly because I had read the previous novel in the series and could see the way in which Brett was slowly transforming, but also because I didn’t like the way Dani clung so tenaciously to her need to humiliate Brett.  It seemed a bit juvenile to me, and began to feel a little forced as well.  But the plot soon developed beyond this, not only as Dani’s friendship grew with Brett, AJ, and Shelby, but also as she began to explore the opportunity their foundation and the Underground Railway Museum offered her.  The bigger question then became: How could she now tell them the truth about who she was and why she had hidden it for so long?

The mother of Brett’s son is also a point of view character in this novel, and I loved the way in which this story line, and the plot involving Dani, showed the transformation taking place in Brett.  And while I was initially tense about just how much angst would be created by Dani’s agenda, the drama felt natural rather than overblown, and it actually made for a pretty sweet ending by Brett!

There were a couple of times when the characters’ tendency to be introspective slowed the story down just a little, and I would have liked to get a better sense of where Dani was spiritually, but on the whole this was an enjoyable read.  And considering what happens with Brett’s sister, Amy, in this book, I am eagerly awaiting her story next!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Buy from US:                                 Amazon  //  iBooks

Buy from AU:                                Amazon  //  iBooks  //  Koorong

Release date:  20 September 2016
Pages:  368
Publisher:  Revell
Author’s website:  http://johnnie-alexander.com/

Previous book in series:
where-she-belongs

 

Read my review for Where She Belongs

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
Image | This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Releases, Romance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When Love Arrives (Johnnie Alexander) – Review

  1. Pingback: What Hope Remembers (Johnnie Alexander) – Review | Fiction Aficionado

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