Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn

Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Benjamin Emerson is determined to honor the dying Mrs. Brody’s last wish, that her granddaughter shall not spend Valentine’s Day alone. But as the special day is closing in, he still doesn’t know how to reach the stiff, correct librarian.

Broken by her psychopathic former fiancée, Leonore Brody moves back into her empty childhood home in Barnesville, numbly taking one day at a time. When Ben asks her to help his daughter, she can’t refuse, knowing how much he meant to her grandmother.

Caught at the Emerson Farm by a snow storm, Leonore finds herself drawn to the charismatic Ben. But the scars from her past are deep – can she ever trust a man again?

After being dumped almost at the alter by her long-term fiancé, Leonore knows that her mood is volatile and that she’s far too easily irritated. She knows that her Granny would hate the snappish, waspish woman Leonore had become, but Leonore just can’t seem to help herself. Even Ben – whom she’d known since childhood – wasn’t safe from her temper and annoyance. When Ben comes to the library to get a book explaining about puberty in females – his almost-teenaged daughter suddenly mystifying him – Leonore a can’t help but try and help the humble, shy man and his delightful no-longer-little girl.

This is a lovely and mostly sweet story about a very hurt woman trying to find herself again and in the process helping a caring and loving young man raise his teenage daughter. I found it to be full of heart-warming emotion and definitely with that “small town” type of feeling. I sympathized with Leonore and her initially crabby mood – she’d been harshly treated by her ex and hadn’t really healed from the painful break up. While I felt for her, I didn’t really particularly *like* her in the first half of the book. Leonore’s actions – her anger and cynicism – were completely understandable, but I didn’t feel as connected to her or like her as much as I would have hoped. Ben, however, I felt smitten with almost instantly. A shy, sweet, humble farmer who simply wants to do hard work, love and raise his family and keep his nose clean – he was absolutely hero material to my mind and I was eager for him to receive his (well deserved – in my opinion) happy ending.

I found this story to be a very interesting, if character-based, plot. Again with a “small-town” kind of feel Ben’s relationship as a single father with his almost-teenaged daughter, and then the growing friendship/relationship with Leonore was definitely central to the storyline. Readers who want an action filled, fast-paced style of story might not find this as satisfying as I did. But I honestly feel sometimes everyone needs to sit back with a slower paced story, with vibrant, relatable and believable characters and read something a little sweeter and in those respects this book completely exceeded my expectations. While I admit a part of me would have been ecstatic had I found Leonore more appealing as a heroine, she was real. She had a temper, she was hurt and needed to complete her healing process. I might not have enjoyed her as a heroine as much as I could have – but I could certainly respect her and understand where she was coming from.

This is definitely a slow-moving romance story. Leonore takes quite a bit of the book emotionally healing from her ex and I wasn’t keen how she compared so much of who Ben was to what her ex had been like. I found for me, personally, that got old pretty quickly, but again it was understandable and realistic. When Ben comes clean on his promise to Leonore’s Granny and Leonore finally starts to look at Ben with romantic interest their relationship really starts to build. While they became intimate fairly promptly after this, I didn’t find the singular sex scene graphic – the bedroom door wasn’t “closed” as such but it absolutely wasn’t drawn out or described in explicit detail. I would think most romance readers who enjoy a bit of spice (but not erotic levels of it) in their romance should find this satisfying without being overly graphic. There are only a few passionate kisses and the one sex scene – so really to my mind the majority of the story revolves around the characters and their growing relationship to each other – not the physical and intimate side of the romance.

Readers looking for a story with a whole bunch of characterization, realism and good, warm-fuzzy type of feelings, this is a great story to kick back and relax with. While absolutely not perfect, it is a great read and one I fully intend to enjoy again in the future.

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