Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61922-629-6
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Angelita Gill may be a new face on Samhain Publishing, but she is not a new author as she has self-published a bunch of stories before. Therefore, I guess I don’t have to be gentle. This one throws many running sentences at the reader right out of the gate. Therefore, if you are not too keen on long sentences full of commas but you want to read Wrapped Up in a Beau anyway, take a deep breath and be prepared to read a little slower than usual. Here’s a small snippet:
As he leaned back in his squeaky but comfortable desk chair, linking his hands behind his head, he swiveled around. Looking out his floor-to-ceiling window, he regarded the snowflakes swirling within the wind, landing on the city of Swan’s Crossing, New York. He had to admit once the snow collected enough to blanket the historic buildings, the elm trees and antique streetlights, the town transformed into a winter fantasy even a cynic like him appreciated.
The marathon also extends to conversations. As a result, people here don’t talk as much as they seem to be auditioning for a role in Shonda Rhimes’s new TV series.
She didn’t. “I have to host the Christmas party of the year. Hide my cringe when Mom tells her friends how she wouldn’t mind if I just adopted children and didn’t get married at all, just because I’ve been single for two years. I have to make sure Dad doesn’t embarrass himself by talking about Civil War conspiracies. Annnnd I’m there to listen to Grandfather tell me how I’m part of a useless generation, while I’m secretly paying the housekeeper extra so she doesn’t quit because he drives her crazy.”
Mason sighed, unmoved by her complaints. “You choose to plan that party with Mom, and she only makes those remarks to appear cool and modern. Harmlessly flirt with one of the Peyton boys, kiss him under the mistletoe, and Mom will feed on that for months. As long as Dad doesn’t start loading his shotgun and shooting dishes, let him be the proud Southern gentleman in his own house. People think it’s funny.” He took a sip of coffee, the hot liquid searing down his throat. The way he liked it. He couldn’t wait until he was sipping on something much stronger. “As for Grandfather, yelling-slash-picking on you is his unique way of showing he cares.”
Told you we’ll have fun.
Anyway, Mason Renclair, our hero, would rather spend his Christmas vacation in Bali, earning the wrath of PETA by eating foie gras over there. As you can read above, his sister asks him to come back to their hometown of Swan’s Crossing, however, as she will need his support while she host the Christmas party and has to corral their parents. He reluctantly goes along, and what do you know, also staying at the family guesthouse is Greta Marcum, his sister’s friend whom he is attracted to at first sight. She wants a family and a home to belong to, while he wants his freedom. Can these two come to some kind of middle ground to make a relationship work?
Wrapped Up in a Beau may not be breaking any new grounds in terms of plot and characters, but it is a sweet and pleasant story. There is some decent chemistry here, and the conflict is lightweight but not too trivial – just right to add some substance to an otherwise cute and fluffy mating dance. Both characters are likable, without any annoying quirks or eye-rolling obstinacy when it comes to their hang-ups and issues. All in all, it’s a pretty fine read.
That is, as long as you have no problems with all those long, long, running sentences and the way the characters tend to monologue rather than to just talk. Then again, if you enjoy those shows of Shonda Rhimes, or Gilmore Girls if we want to go way back, maybe all this won’t be an issue. At any rate, this one is pleasant, but the author’s narrative style may be polarizing, so approach with some degree of caution.