Yours To Keep

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Yours To Keep

The Kowalskis, #3

The last thing Sean Kowalski expected when he returned from Afghanistan to visit his family in New Hampshire was to open the door to a crazy woman wanting him to pose as her fianc‚. Sean's spent the last 12 years in the Army and he's looking forward to a new chapter in his life, one where he gets to decide what he does and where he goes. Sean does know that this visit is just that, a visit, and that he doesn't want to return to Maine to work in his family's ski resort. He's not exactly sure what he's going to do but for right now he wants to relax and enjoy his freedom.

Emma Shaw is in a bind and it's one she did to herself. She runs a landscaping business and lives in the house she was brought up in with her grandparents. Her grandfather has died and her grandmother moved to Florida, which she loves except she's worried about Emma. Trying to ease her grandmother's worries, Emma tells her that she has a boyfriend and that he has moved in with her. She goes on to say that they plan on getting married and his's Sean Kowalski, a man she's never even met! Now, her grandmother is coming to visit for a month and Emma has to get Sean to agree to pretend to be her live-in fianc‚.

Sean finally gets the story from his sister-in-law, Lisa and understands Emma's problem. After a great deal of thought, Sean agrees to this plan, even though he has issues with deceiving Emma's grandmother and has no idea how they are going to pull off that they have been living together. One problem Sean hadn't thought about and should have was sharing a room. Sean hasn't had sex in a long time and he's definitely attracted to Emma.

Can they pull this charade off? Can Sean stay out of Emma's bed? Actually, as he's already sleeping in it, the question should be can he get Emma in it with him.

This is the third book in Shannon Stacey's series of books about the Kowalski family. The previous two books are about Sean's cousins, Joe and Kevin. In those books, Sean's family is never mentioned so for those fans of the series, this introduction of a whole bunch of new characters will be a change. For those who haven't read the series, you will read about the characters in the previous books but it won't distract from this story.

As usual, this story has the entire Kowalski family making more than just a token appearance. They like to do things together and even though Sean is a cousin, he's part of this loud rowdy family. Apparently, Sean's mother died when he was young and his Aunt Mary stepped in as well as she was able from a state away. Sean has the same fear of her wooden spoon as his cousins and it becomes obvious quickly that the cousins are tight knit. In addition to the New Hampshire Kowalski's, members of the Maine clan start making appearances. It seems that they have a lot of the same traits.

Sean is a returning soldier and has spent a lot of time in the Army. There are a few places in this story that this history comes up, like fitting all his stuff into a duffle bag and working hard to get a job done, but for the most part Sean could have returned to visit from having a any type of job. He stepped back into civilian life without any problems which can occur but isn't usually as easy as this book portrayed. It seemed as if he didn't make any friends while in and didn't want to keep any ties.

Emma is a hard working woman that works in a man's field. She loves her grandmother and has close ties to those she cares about. She is also leery about giving up control of almost all aspects of her life, even to who is going to drive her truck!

The humor that is found in the previous books is also found in this one. Emma's grandmother finds out about the deception but she has her eye on the hardware store owner. Does she keep quite on both matters or should she keep both a secret? Sean's brothers and cousins have a pool on how long before he has sex with Emma. They can't help but to ask how he's doing. Sean thinks he'll last the entire month, but what if he can't?

Once again I enjoyed a few hours with my new favorite family, the Kowalski's. This story made me laugh and totally kept my interest. I couldn't wait to see how Emma and Sean were going to figure out their relationship. Does he get some time to do whatever he wants or does he fall in love and stay with Emma? Can Emma deal with a man who likes to do things his way? And how about Emma's grandmother? There is lots going on but doesn't that reflect everyone's life?

Ms Stacey set up the stage for a few more books about the Kowalski's when she introduced all the cousins from Maine. If they are all as interesting as Sean, I can't wait to read more about this fun loving family!

Book Blurb for Yours To Keep

Emma Shaw needs a husband, and fast! Not because she's interested in romance—after all, she's too busy with her landscaping company—but because Grandma Shaw is coming to town, and she will have nonstop questions about Emma's (stagnant) love life.

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he's recruited by Emma to be her fake fiance. Sean doesn't like the deception, but he can't help his attraction to the feisty brunette. A little pretend kissing won't hurt anyone—especially when there's no chance he'll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he's not planning to call home. But when fake, innocent kisses lead to very real, explosive sparks, Emma and Sean discover that their big ruse might just lead to happily-ever-after….

Previously published, newly refreshed.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2011 4.50