because bibliophiles require refreshment

Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

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Okay, so this book took me a little bit to orient myself. That’s not a bad thing, just often unexpected romance novels. I’m not used to having to sort out who the heroine is and who the hero is and in this one, it took a little bit. Of course, had I read the back copy I would have known immediately, but this is one of those from my trusty library and I clicked on “borrow” entirely on O’Keefe’s name and that cover. Because right?

The main reason this book was hard to cypher at first was that it is a truly creative premise for a romance novel. There are layers upon layers to these characters and O’Keefe reveals them slowly as they reveal themselves to each other. Readers don’t know a whole lot more than the characters do at any given point and to have that kind of trust from an author was refreshing.

The book opens on a Anna Nicole set- up. Hot young thing posing on the lap of a dying old thing for an engagement card. The woman asks the man if “this will work” and the man assures her it will. We meet a hockey player named Luc whose concussions are actually eating away at his brain, but he’s not telling any one how dangerous it is. We meet a socialite mother who has had everything stripped from her when her husband’s Ponzi scheme was revealed. Then we find out how they all fit together.

The old man is complicated and perhaps abusive and he has tricked his two children – whom he kicked out of his home decades before – to come to his bedside as he dies. The hot young thing from the opening is Tara Jean and there is so so so much more to her than originally assumed. He’s never redeemed, the father. When he dies and after he’s dead, no one denies that he was a complete and utter tool and that few people will actually miss him. His will continues his lifelong manipulation of his family – this is not a nice guy and his behaviors have scarred his children.

This is primarily Luc and Tara’s story, but because it’s the first of a series, we also meet the future casts of characters. I immediately put holds on in my library for the other two books in this trilogy because I am sure they will be as delightful as this one was. Highly recommended for fans of emotional vulnerability that’s well fought for and for stubborn people learning how to trust.

Beverage recommendation is beer and since it’s set in Texas, I’m going to say it has to be Shiner Bock.

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Further Reading:

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I got a copy of this book from my local library’s eBook collection. 

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