The Accidental Bride by Christina Skye

BRIDE
The Accidental Bride by Christina Skye
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (376 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Love can find you in the most unlikely of places…

When her friends order her to take a vacation, celebrity chef Jilly O’Hara is skeptical. She may be overwhelmed by her sudden success, but a trip to the mountains is not her idea of fun. Especially when a snowstorm forces her to fill in for an absentee bride in a lavish television wedding taking place at the resort. But then the ruggedly handsome make-believe groom arrives…. Walker Hale has kept to himself since his return from active duty-but the next thing he knows, he’s reluctantly playing along with the wedding charade.

Even this jaded loner isn’t immune to Jilly’s quirky charm…or her beauty. But Jilly has to return home to Summer Island, leaving Walker to decide if the feelings between them were something more than pretend.

Of course the make believe idea becomes a fact, this is a romance book! It’s the journey that makes reading The Accidental Bride such a special treat because of the contribution of Winslow, the service dog. That puppy isn’t a prop but a bona fide heroic character that was endearing and entertaining throughout the entire novel. He’s one of the main reasons why this is more than just a good read, it’s a wonderful read.

Jilly is a stubborn character and actually acts like a heroine. She comes to the rescue. I liked her opinion about snack food, her initial opinion about knitting because I share it, and I liked that she was a person who, despite a painful and sometimes lonely upbringing, was able to stay focused on her dreams and worked hard to make them a reality. I liked the conflict the author presented – how to find a new dream when the old one is taken away by something out of your control. I enjoyed watching her take the baby steps, then the leaps and bounds as she accepted the possibilities of a new future.

The fact that the future might include Walker, the hero, was delicious torment. He’s a hero in the truest meaning of the word but he’s been injured. Add in dysfunctional family drama and his own conflict coupled with Jilly’s makes for interesting reading. The fireworks are there but so are the tender, beautiful and romantic scenes as the hero’s own actions lay the groundwork for falling in love. Of course, his bond with Winslow is impressive and I appreciated how Ms. Skye paid attention to even the little details when it came to Walker’s and Winslow’s relationship.

The dialogue between Jilly and Walker was entertaining, it flowed well and I enjoyed it. I liked the most of the secondary characters because they provided a nice flavor to the community in the book. I wasn’t crazy about Walker’s sister or the suddenness with which she appeared – too perfect a set up – but it did the job in getting the hero where he needed to be. I’m also unsure about the effect of the hero’s dad. As far as I’m concerned, the author did not do her hero any favors by putting him in the crosshairs of his father – the man is a tyrant. I hope some future story has that man mellowing or someone puts him in his place. Walker is a man to be respected, not manipulated. The author did her job well because I totally, completely, liked Walker.

There is humor, heart and a sweetness to the way this story was written that made me feel good. I liked the sensual build up and the concentration on their blossoming relationship. When they finally culminate their simmering passions it’s with words of restraint, beauty and respect to the romance. Thumbs up in my book.

The Accidental Bride has everything I’ve come to love from the talented Ms. Skye. Of course that means food references too. She has her heroines creating, eating or enjoying the most amazing foods in her novels and this one is no exception. I like it when the author includes books for reference or sites to visit. It makes her stories more real because in that way, a reader can experience some of the same yummy excitement as the characters. Personally, I’d rather just eat it verses make it, but you get the idea. I really enjoyed myself reading this latest romance from Ms. Skye and it’s a definite recommend.

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