Title: Fiancé by Friday by Catherine Bybee
Weekday Brides Series Book Three
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Length: 339 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publicist
The beautiful high-born daughter of an English duke came to America to take over her sister-in-law’s matchmaking business. But just because she’s the boss doesn’t mean she can’t fantasize about making her own perfect match with bodyguard Neil MacBain. Will the enigmatic man who haunts her dreams cost her more than she bargained for?
The retired Marine can’t deny the effect blue-blooded Gwen has on his troubled soul or his battle-hardened body. Bus as a client, Gwen is off-limits—until a threat from Neil’s past returns… and Gwen is caught in the crossfire. Now to keep her safe he will risk it all: his career, his life… and his heart.
Fiancé by Friday is a fast-paced and engaging romance that is also quite suspenseful. Although it is the third installment in Catherine Bybee’s Weekday Brides series, it can be read as a standalone story.
Gwen Harrison may be a British royalty, but she is very down to earth, sensible and likable. She has been attracted to bodyguard Neil MacBain for quite some time, but theirs is strictly a platonic relationship. Tired of waiting for Neil to make a move, Gwen works up the courage to confront him about their attraction and challenges him to make the next move.
Gwen is the model of grace under pressure while she and Neil track down the person who has been stalking her. Life on the run is way out of her comfort zone, but this privileged and level-headed woman is more than up for the challenge. While she does not blindly follow Neil’s orders, Gwen is definitely not a too stupid to live heroine whose ridiculous actions put her in danger. She keeps her wits about her and calmly comes up with a pretty ingenious plan when she finds herself in a dangerous situation.
Neil is the epitome of the strong, silent type. A quintessential loner, he is quite mysterious and close mouthed about his past. Neil is plagued by (misplaced) guilt over his disastrous last mission while on active duty. When a fellow Marine tracks him down following the death of one of their friends, Neil realizes Gwen’s stalker and his past are inexplicably linked. Fearing for Gwen’s safety, Neil seeks help from the person he trusts most and he then attempts to lure the killer out of hiding.
The mystery element of Fiancé by Friday is quite compelling and keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. It is an effective plot device that brings Neil and Gwen together and takes their relationship in a very surprising direction. I was pretty stymied for good deal of the novel about who was behind the stalking, but once the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, I was able to discern who was behind the plot fairly easily.
Fiancé by Friday is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining novel with genuinely likable and realistic characters. The overall plot is well-developed and quite engrossing. The longstanding history Gwen and Neil creates amazing sexual tension and lends credibility to their romance. It is a delightful addition to Catherine Bybee’s wonderfully unique Weekday Brides series and I am eagerly anticipating the next book.
Eliza flagged down a waitress and ordered a martini. “I see not a lot has changed,” she said after the waitress left.
“What do you mean?” Gwen asked.
“We’re sitting in a bar and your giant shadow is lurking in the back of the building.” Eliza tossed a peanut in her mouth.
Eliza looked o the right of the bar. “Yeah. The man who acts like you’re a job but can’t seem to leave you alone. If it was anyone other than Neil I’d be afraid he was a stalker.”
Gwen twisted around in her chair. Sure enough, perched at the edge of a seat on the far side of the bar, sat Neil.
“What’s he doing here?”
His eyes found hers for a brief moment before she looked away.
“I think that’s obvious.”
Her back teeth started to grind. “I don’t’ need a babysitter.”
“I don’t know, Gwen. The last time we sat in a bar I remember a certain someone getting drunk and a couple of other someones getting into a fight.”
She’d never live that down. Gwen and Eliza went to blow off steam in a Texas bar. The cowboys ewre full of “yes, ma’am” and “howdy, darlin’.” They danced and carried on…and yes, she drank a little too much. When one of the cowboys mistakenly took her smile as an invitation for intimacy, Neil erupted form the bar to teach the cowboy the meaning of the word no.
It was the first time Neil had defended her honor, and though she hated to admit it, she got a kick out of how ticked off he became when another man looked at her. “That was last year.”
“What’s changed since then?”
Nothing! It didn’t matter how much she flirted with the man, or how obvious she was about her attraction Neil didn’t bite.
“Everything.” Gwen stood, ready to put Neil I his place. “If you’ll both excuse me for a minute.”
She pushed her way through the crowd as if on a collision course with Neil. He kept his lips in a thin line as she approached and gripped the longneck bottle at his side. Slipping between the woman on the stool next to him and Neil’s massive frame, Gwen slapped a hand on her hip and growled. “What are you doing here?”
He blinked, once and picked up his beer. “Having a drink.”
She wanted to scream. “Having a drink,” she repeated.
He tilted the bottle back, took a swig.
“I know what you’re doing, Neil. And I don’t like it. I don’t want or need a bodyguard.”
If stomping her foot would knock some sense into him, she’d stomp better than a farm girl in a vineyard.
Poking a finger into his chest, she moved closer. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to have a love life with a tow-hundred-thirty-pound bodybuilder standing in my way?”
A muscle in his jaw tightened. “Two hundred and fifty.”
“Ahhh!” She did scream now.
He lifted his beer again, but before he could take a swig, Gwen grabbed it from his fingers and tilted it back herself.
In a move that would make Eliza and Karen proud, she pushed the empty beer bottle back into his hand and slid between his thighs.
His jaw twitched again.
The strong musky scent that was pure Neil invaded her senses. She dropped one hand to his thigh and left it there. “This is how I see it, Neil. You have two choices. Either back off or step up.”
Gwen squeezed his thigh before vacating his personal space and marching back to the girls. A satisfied smile stretched over her face.
PRAISE FOR FIANCE BY FRIDAY
“The hero and heroine come to life with each flip of the page
and will linger long after readers cross the finish line.”
–RT BOOK REVIEWS, TOP PICK, 4 ½ STARS
“Bybee takes an elegant titled lady, a dark emotionally guarded hero, a menacing stalker,
and a cast of distinctive characters mixing it all up into an unusual courtship tale
full of danger an sexual tension.”
“The hottest love on mainstream paper…
Ms. Bybee does not disappoint.”
—TJ MACKAY, IND’TALE MAGAZINE, 5 STARS
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned novels Wife by Wednesday, Married by Monday, and Not Quite Dating. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.
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