Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Third Time's the Bride - Merline Lovelace (HSE #2487 - July 2016)

Series: Three Coins in the Fountain (Book 2)

Third time lucky?

Take a vacation to Italy and land a husband? Well, at least fiancé number three. Dawn McGill's fear of marriage has halted two weddings, but millionaire Brian Ellis and his adorable little boy might change all that. After all, a marriage based on convenience is less frightening than one based on love.

Brian will do anything for his young son, and what Tommy wants even more than a puppy is a mom. Dawn is great with his boy and she's even beginning to fill a void in his own heart. Yet he can't shake the feeling that his bride-to-be is getting cold feet. What will it take to get Dawn all the way down the aisle this time?

I loved this book just as much as I did the first one in the series. We met Dawn, Brian and Tommy in the first book "I Do" ... Take Two!. Dawn was in Italy with her two best friends, Kate and Callie, on a long awaited trip. Kate unexpectedly reunited and reconciled with her husband Travis, leaving Callie and Dawn to continue by themselves (though with the help of some new friends). Brian was there on business that involved Travis and others. He had also brought his young son along, but ran into problems when his nanny fell and broke her leg. Dawn and Callie stepped in to help, and by the time the trip was over, Dawn had bonded strongly with Tommy. She'd also developed quite an attraction to Brian. He's attracted also, but she's nothing like his late wife, and he's not so sure he approves of her. But he's desperate for help, and asks Dawn if she'd fill in as Tommy's nanny until he can hire a new one.

The sparks fly between them right from the beginning. Dawn is cautious about any kind of relationship, as she's been engaged twice and both have ended in disasters. She adores young Tommy and though Brian seems a bit uptight when she first meets him, it's obvious that he loves his son. As she settles into her nanny job, she and Brian connect over Tommy's care and discover they have more in common than they thought. At the beginning, Brian isn't so sure that Dawn is a good influence on Tommy, but he can't deny that she's good with him. It's his own reaction that has him spooked and he's determined to find a replacement as fast as he can. I enjoyed his interview attempts, and his realization of what he really wants. Still emotionally cautious because of the death of his wife, he considers offering Dawn marriage as a way to keep her in their lives. His proposal was pretty funny in its awkwardness, as he managed to mess it up several times. Fortunately, Dawn has a sense of humor about it, and they agree on marriage. No word of love has been spoken, but their attraction has been given a green light.

With Dawn bailing on her first two weddings, Brian is understandably a bit nervous. Dawn also has the occasional twinge of nerves. Through it all their feelings continue to grow. I loved the openness of the discussion between Brian and Dawn about his first wife. Dawn's sensitive and accepting attitude toward her was really sweet and went a long way toward Brian realizing that he loves Dawn. I loved the differences in Dawn's feelings toward this wedding and confidence that it is right. As it comes down to the wire, thanks to issues with her parents, Dawn gets really stressed. The wedding day arrives and suddenly the bride is missing. I loved Brian's confidence in their love and how it stood strong. There were some really fun spots as Brian and the others tried to find out what happened to her. I loved Brian and Dawn's reunion and how he handled her fears. The ending was great, especially the scene at the fountain.

I loved Brian's son Tommy. He was quite a handful at times, but really a good kid. There were some pretty funny things that came out of his mouth. I especially loved his comments about marriage.

I liked seeing more of Kate and Travis and how their reconciliation is progressing. I also enjoyed how the support that the three women give each other continues. Kate and Callie are there for Dawn as she works through her feelings for Brian. Kate and Dawn are also there for Callie as they discover just what has had their friend on edge for the past several weeks. Their new friend Joe, also from the first book, plays a part in that. I'm looking forward to Callie's book, as I expect that Joe has plans for her. I also loved seeing Carlo again. His playboy ways are still there and it was fun to see him try to use them on Dawn and Callie. I also enjoyed seeing him use them on Dawn's mother.

I liked the Washington DC area setting for this book. As it is home for me, I recognized a lot of the places mentioned. This made the whole story feel even more realistic for me, as I pictured the characters in those familiar places.

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