RULE #1: GROOMSMEN ARE STRICTLY OFF LIMITS
Marley Stevenson never imagined her stint as a rented Maid of Honor would practically become a career. Then again, nothing in her life has gone according to plan. At least the money’s good—and she needs it to pay off student loans and help out her mom. But the job has rules, which have never been an issue . . . until one encounter with a gorgeous best man—and his swoon-worthy Southern accent—sends Marley reeling.
Determined to get through the weekend with her professional reputation intact, Marley grits her teeth and sends out her best “unavailable” vibes, but Luke Jessup doesn’t give up that easy. A former Marine and a current SWAT team officer, his focus is legendary—and it’s on Marley. Jeopardizing her job is bad enough, and starting a relationship based on half-truths is worse—yet Marley is beginning to wonder if certain risks are worth taking, especially in the name of true love . . .
“Flirty, fun, and fabulous!”
—Bestselling author Candis Terry
“Fun, lighthearted, and full of emotion. You can't help but smile while reading Cody Gary.”
—K.M. Jackson, author of Insert Groom Here
“Codi Gary is the queen of romance. She'll make you fall head over heels.”
—T.J. Kline, author of the Healing Harts series
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Marley Stevenson was trapped.
If she made a left towards the frozen food section, she was going to have to listen to Mrs. Needermyer go on about her single grandson from Berkeley, who was looking for a traditional wife. Whatever the hell that meant.
If she made a right, however, she would be cornered by Darren Weaver, who had the insane idea that Marley was interested in him. Even though she'd been telling him since he tried to kiss her in second grade that it was never going to happen.
He kept trying though, even after she'd punched him in the nose at an eighth grade dance for copping a feel. They'd both been suspended, but her mom had been proud of her. Her mom had gotten an angry call from Darren's mom about a doctor's bill, but she'd gladly told her to suck it.
Marley loved her mom, but situations like this made her wish she could escape Sweetheart, California already. Living in a small town could be brutal.
Of course, there was always option number three: back out of the store slowly, leaving her meager basket contents behind, but then she'd be stuck buying a sandwich at Subway again, their only fast food restaurant. How she let her refrigerator insides deplete so thoroughly, she had no clue. Maybe because she'd been so busy now that wedding season had officially started, she'd been eating mostly leftovers from caterers.
Those had run out on Tuesday though, and because she'd been in meeting after meeting the last two days, she'd been unable to make it to the store — until now. But thanks to the limited amenities in the small foothill town, she was having trouble avoiding people and places that set her already frazzled nerves on edge. She had to deal with difficult brides at work; she just wanted to breeze in and out of the grocery store without being pestered by annoyingly persistent —
Damn it. She'd contemplated her escape for too long.
"How are you, dear? How's your mother?" Mrs. Needermyer asked.
Marley pasted on her best smile. "She's good. Busy. You should stop by the café and say hi."
Mrs. Needermyer patted her ample waist, her faded blue eyes twinkling behind her thick glasses. "Would if I could, dear, but I've started a new diet. Can't be going in there, tempted by all of your mama's sweet treats."
Marley smiled politely. Mrs. Needermyer was on a new diet every other week, but nothing seemed to stick.
"I know. I have a hard time not sneaking a few from the pan myself," Marley said.
Mrs. Needermyer raked her gaze over Marley's thin frame — and her look clearly said she had a hard time believing that, but it was true. The difference between Mrs. N and Marley was that Marley was forty years younger, ran five miles a day, and did yoga before bed five nights a week to chill out.
Plus, with Marley's high stress job, she usually only ate once or twice a day. During wedding season she lived on coffee, almonds, and Starbursts. Not exactly the most balanced diet, but the coffee kept her from killing people, the almonds gave her protein to stand up, and the Starbursts ... well, they were just freaking awesome.
"Yes, well, you're lucky to be blessed with such good genes, but they won't last forever. After thirty, things will start to slow down and travel south, if you know what I mean."
Please, someone get me the heck out of this conversation.
"Hey there, Mrs. Needermyer."
Marley nearly groaned aloud, and glared at her savior. Darren just grinned at her mockingly.
"I am well, Darren. I am so glad to see you. My car is making the most horrendous sound —"
"If you will both excuse me, I need to get my shopping done and hurry home. Have a good day."
Marley practically ran for the bread aisle, ignoring Mrs. N's huff of indignation behind her. She would probably forget about the confines of her diet just to stop in and tell Marley's mom how rude her daughter was, but at this point, Marley didn't care. She just wanted to get this done, and go home to Butterscotch, her rabbit. She'd saved the orange and white bunny six months ago from Mr. Peltzer, who'd thought rabbit farming would be a lucrative operation. In no time, there were bunnies everywhere, and the town council members decided to close down Mr. Peltzer's rabbit breeding, as they couldn't have the place overrun with rabbits come wedding season.
Marley had been one of the volunteers to help gather them up, and had fallen hard for the tiny bundle of fluff, who had just hopped on over to her and head butted her hand. He was the best man to ever come into her life — that was for damn sure.
Marley tossed a package of milk and honey bread into her basket and rounded the corner, running smack into a hard male chest. When she stumbled back, a muscular arm caught her around her waist, and as she dangled there, leaning back like some historical heroine on the cover of a romance novel, she looked up into a pair of dark, twinkling eyes and a wide, white smile.
"Whoa, there. You okay?"
Marley couldn't seem to find the words, staring up into a face made of granite: sharp cheekbones, a square jaw, and wide forehead. His ears were the only part of him that didn't seem to fit the perfectly proportioned handsomeness; they were a bit large and stuck out a bit, but they didn't detract at all from every other sexy aspect of him. He was built like a mountain, and reminded her of John Cena, especially the way his whole face seemed to get into his amusement.
"Blink once for yes and twice for no," he said.
Shit, he was laughing at her for being all swoony over a pretty face.
"I'm fine," Marley bit out finally, trying to get back up onto her feet. Once there, he released her slowly, those big hands burning through her clothes as they fell away.
She could feel her cheeks heat in embarrassment; she hated to be the butt of anyone's joke, especially some guy who looked like he should be assisting Arnold Schwarzenegger in an Expendable movie. Plus, looking like an idiot in front of an incredibly hot guy is never fun.
"Sorry 'bout almost taking you out there. I was trying to find the cereal aisle and got a little turned around."
Marley had never been one for thinking accents were particularly sexy, but his southern drawl mixed with his smoky deep voice was terribly appealing.
"Is this your first time in Sweetheart?" she asked.
"Yes, ma'am. Don't suppose you could help me out by pointing me in the right direction?"
Marley knew he was playing her. The store wasn't that big and the cereal aisle was just over his shoulder, but she really didn't mind. It had been a while since she'd had a man, who didn't make her want to file a sexual harassment complaint, flirt with her
"Sure, it's just this way. I'm Marley." She held out her hand to him, shifting her basket to her other arm.
"Luke. Good to meet you."
Man, she loved the way he talked. "Where are you from?"
"Mississippi originally, but I've been living in Los Angeles the last eight years."
"No kidding?" She stopped in front of the cereal section, waving her free arm. "Here you go. We don't exactly have a plethora of choices, but we have most of the good stuff."
"What's your favorite?" he asked.
"Hmm, you mean my actual favorite or what I tell people so they don't think I'm immature?"
He grabbed a box of Lucky Charms, shaking it in front of her. "This is mine. Which one do you actually like?"
Marley reached out and pointed to the box of Trix.
When he grabbed it and put the box in his basket, Marley raised an eyebrow. "If Lucky Charms are your favorite, then why are you buying mine?"
"Maybe I'm hoping that you'll agree to have breakfast with me tomorrow morning?"
Marley stiffened. Did he actually think he could flash her a smile and she'd go home with him for a sleepover?
"Thanks, but I'm a strong self-sufficient woman" — she threw a box of Trix into her carton with a sniff — "and I can buy my own damn cereal."
To her surprise, he pulled the box out of her cart and put it back on the shelf. "And while I respect that, I'm an old-fashioned guy. When I ask a girl out, I like to pay."
"It sounded more like a proposition than a date," she said.
He actually looked affronted, but he could just be a good actor. "Then I apologize again. I was trying to be clever, and I guess I missed the mark."
"Hmm ... Well, the next time you try to ask a girl out, maybe you should choose a less suggestive meal. Like lunch."
"I'll remember that."
Marley, all traces of the lightheaded excitement gone, nodded. "Well, enjoy your stay in Sweetheart, but I have more shopping to do. By the way, what brings you here?"
"Yours?" Oh, why in the heck did I say that?
That grin was back, 100 percent male and looking self-satisfied.
"No, a friend's. I would never hit on another woman if I was getting married."
She could tell her cheeks were still burning, but she tried to play it through. "Good to know. Well, it was nice to meet you. I'm sorry about the —"
"Hang on now. How about that lunch?" he asked.
Marley hesitated, considering. She didn't get involved with tourists, usually, but it would be nice to go on an actual date.
"How long are you in town?"
"This week, then every weekend until the second weekend in August."
Weekends were usually booked solid for her. "How about Monday? I should be able to meet you around one."
"That sounds good, but can I get your number at least?"
His teasing made her laugh at her own eagerness.
After the number exchange, Luke took his phone back, his fingers brushing over hers lightly. That simple touch made her skin light up with tiny tingles, like the bubbles at the top of a glass of champagne.
"I'll see you Monday. It was good bumping into you, Marley."
He walked back down the aisle, and the minute he was out of sight, she picked up the box of Trix again with a smile. She suddenly had a craving.
Luke Jessup had grown up in a small town a lot like Sweetheart with one major exception ...
There was wedding shit everywhere here. Every store had something to do with the big day. His best friend, Brent Harwood had warned him that Sweetheart's main attraction was the wedding destination for the Hollywood elite, and the place was like Santa's Workshop for brides.
Brent's fiancée e, Sonora Star, didn't seem to be that thrilled though, if her high pitched complaining was any indication.
"I just can't believe that Belinda flaked! How am I supposed to find another MOH at the last minute?"
"MOH?" Luke didn't know why in the hell he'd asked, considering how her icy blue eyes lanced through him in disgust. That seemed to be the only emotion Sonora could muster for him, and the feeling was completely mutual. Luke couldn't understand how a guy like Brent, who was smart, driven, and above all, a great guy, would take things so far with a has been pop princess with a shady past.
Luke knew enough from the tabloid fodder and from Brent that Sonora had been struggling the last leg of her career. After several singles that flopped, she'd spiraled down to the point where TMZ was calling her the next "Britney 2007." She'd gotten into a Twitter war with Miley Cyrus, and posted a series of Snapchat videos where she was crying, tears and mascara rolling down her face as she'd rambled about how the music industry ruins young artists.
It wasn't until after she'd taken a nose dive while performing at the MTV Video Music Awards and calling Kanye West a no talent hack that her agent had stepped in and gotten her into rehab. When she'd gotten out, she'd been photographed at an SPCA fundraiser, building sack lunches for the homeless and doing several meet and greets for Make a Wish. Even with the good PR, her career hadn't recovered.
A year after she'd gotten clean though, she met Brent at a Feed America charity dinner and the next thing Luke knew, the two of them were engaged. Luke still couldn't figure out how in the hell that had happened.
Fine, so even Luke could admit she was hot. With long, strawberry blonde hair, big blue-green eyes, full pouty lips and a banging body to boot, Sonora could get any guy's motor running.
Until she opened her mouth and made most men want to run screaming in the other direction.
Sonora spun around, giving him an exaggerated eye roll. "Maid of honor! It is a huge responsibility!"
The three of them were heading into breakfast at the Sweetheart Café, and passed by an elderly couple holding hands like a couple of teenagers. Luke and Brent mumbled a "good morning," but Sonora just sniffed like they smelled. It was funny how someone who had pretty much tanked their life and career could still act all high and mighty.
"What about your sister?" Brent asked as he held the door.
"Are you kidding me? Kendall will only sabotage everything! You know she hates me."
"Geez, I wonder why?" Luke mumbled.
Sonora was too busy whining to hear him, but by the warning look Brent shot him, he had.
Luke had tried to be nice, to be understanding and to look deep inside Sonora for whatever drew Brent to her, but all he'd found was a vapid social climber with no talent and even less compassion. The polar opposite of Brent, who along with his two brothers, ran their family's hotel empire. Brent was constantly volunteering or donating to one charity or another.
Sonora, oblivious to them, was still lamenting her lack of bridesmaid. "I guess I'll just have to go through my phone again and see if I can find someone who can fit into Belinda's dress."
"Hey there." A woman in her late forties or early fifties approached, wearing an old-fashioned white apron. Her silver-streaked blond hair was up in a loose bun, and her eyes were lightly lined with crow's feet behind the clear lenses of her glasses. "You can seat yourselves and I'll be right there to tell you the specials."
They found an empty booth at the back of the restaurant, and Luke studied the homey décor as they passed. The red walls were covered in black and white pictures of couples: couples kissing, couples hugging, couples holding hands. Even Luke thought it was a pretty cute setup for a restaurant called the Sweetheart Café.
"God, this place is tacky," Sonora said loudly.
Of course Sonora the Brat would think so.
Several people turned, their expressions ranging from mildly irritated to downright hostile.
"Babe, knock it off." Brent's angry command was so out of character, Sonora stumbled in front of him, and Luke wanted to slap him on the back for finally getting his balls back.
Sonora's mouth opened to say something, but she must have had second thoughts because she closed it with a snap. She slid into the booth first, clearly sulking, and then Brent slid in. Luke did not want to sit next to Sonora, but since Brent wasn't moving, he went to the other side and slumped down.
"Here you go." The server set down three ice waters and three menus. "And today we have our SOS omelet, which is made with jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, and spinach, our 'hot' potatoes, and one of our famous biscuits with jalapeño jelly. If spicy isn't your thing, we have the Sweetheart Hot Cakes, which is a stack of five of our buttermilk and vanilla pancakes, served with your choice of five syrups, whipped cream and chocolate chips, or a helping of our fresh preserves in either peach, strawberry, or blueberry."
"That sounds good to me. Could I add some bacon and sausage to that?" Luke asked.
His friendly tone seemed to relax her, and he wondered if she'd heard Sonora talking shit about the café. "Oh, a big boy like you needs his protein, so I think you should go with this." She pointed to an item in a box on the menu.
Luke read the description aloud. "The Tank, huh? This hefty platter is packed with every food group, and will keep you pumped for battle or spending the day wooing your honey." Luke chuckled. "Well, I don't have a honey, but that sounds good to me."
"And how about some coffee, handsome?"
Luke glanced at her name tag with a grin. "Well, Rose, I think I'll take you up on that. Black is fine."
She winked at him, her green eyes twinkly. "You got it."
When she turned towards Sonora and Brent, her demeanor was more formal, but still friendly enough, even when Sonora started asking for a caloric breakdown of several items and a bottle of spring water.
Rose's expression changed, and she spoke as if Sonora were a child who didn't want to eat her dinner. "You want spring water, darling, you go to Idaho. Our water is filtered, but if you really want a bottle, there's the gas station across the street."
Sonora's face turned bright red and she looked like she was about to stand up and make a scene.
Excerpted from "Don't Call Me Sweetheart"
Copyright © 2017 Codi Gary.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
but for whatever reason, i truely enjoyed this book.
Cody Gary ,sweeps you into a story filled Author Cody Gary,sweeps you into a wedding planners nightmare with a bride you love to hate and a best man you would love to meet if you were single. A superbly written story that will keep you entertained to the very end. L.M.A.
Enjoyed this book, can't wait to read the next one!
Sometimes when you start reading a book you already know what is going to happen, I mean it's a romance so a happy ending is expected, but when I started reading this one it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. Luke is best man for his best friend's wedding, Marley is hired to organize the wedding and act as the MOH since the Bridezilla can't seem to get anyone who will put up with her nonsense. I loved Marley, she is a sweetheart, but how anyone could put up with everything she did is beyond me, but she gets Luke in the end so that's the important thing :) Hope you enjoy Don't Call Me Sweetheart as much as I did.
DON'T CALL ME SWEETHEART is full of all the sass, humor and small-town charm that I've come to expect from Codi Gary. Marley is a hard-working, confident woman with a huge amount of love in her heart for her small town but big aspirations of saving up for her move to New York. When she literally bumps into Luke, a gorgeous, mountain of a man with a sexy southern accent and heaps of understated charm, she can't help but agree to a date with him. Luke and Marley have a real spark between them but in an unfortunate coincidence, she discovers that he is the Best Man in the wedding for which she's just been hired on as a rented Maid of Honor, and her company has a strict policy. But in spite of the rules and Marley's attempts to keep her distance, these two just can't resist each other. There are so many little details in this story that I think just made it so special. Little touches that really make the story feel real and endear you to the characters. Like Luke's ears. I love that they're described as being just a bit too big for him and even though he's muscular and handsome and funny, it's just such a sweet little characteristic which makes him unique and lovable. I think the concept for the story is really clever – a rental Bridesmaid falling for the Best Man. Marley's situation, with her job, the non-disclosure agreement and having to deal with a particularly venomous Bride, causes an interesting level of emotional conflict and raises some real questions on ethics. The novel also really highlights the role that fear and forgiveness play in love and Luke's wedding toast made me love him all the more. I think the author did a wonderful job of making you fall in love with the town and its charming, romantically named local haunts. She also gave you snippets of moments with secondary characters that just drew you in more and left you hoping for their own story in the future. The novel was full of several twists and surprises that I didn't see coming and characters who had a few tricks up their sleeves. If you're looking for a fun romance that'll keep you on your toes, I highly recommend checking out DON'T CALL ME SWEETHEART. Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
there are a lot of things marley stevenson shouldn't be doing in don't call me sweetheart. number one is letting luke jessup call her sweetheart. he shouldn't be calling her anything at all given that he's the groomsman on the wedding she's just been hired to act as maid-of-honor on. there's an non-disclosure agreement that says that she can't tell him the truth about her job and a code of conduct that says no funny business with the groomsmen. the thing is, she needs this job. the bonus that she'll receive will allow her to move out of sweetheart and onto her dream job at a publishing house in new york. but luke proves himself too tempting. and also too kind. he's there for her every single time she needs him. even when she'd rather he not stick around he comes through for her. and soon it's hard to remember why it's so important she push him away. she keeps trying though. she pushes him away and then forgets and pulls him back in. and poor luke is all turned inside out. he doesn't understand why she blows so hot and cold with him. but he likes her and keeps giving the possibility of what they might have together a chance. she pushes so hard she makes him doubt his sanity. except he's so sure that what they have together is something worth fighting for. but he can't do all the fighting on his own. at some point marley needs to do some fighting too. and maybe that fight means she needs to readjust some of her dreams. but sometimes what we think we want isn't what we actually need. and sometimes new dreams are better than anything our old dreams could have ever hoped to be. these are two lessons marley needs to learn before she can be with luke, but once she figures this out, then all she needs to do is win him back. **don't call me sweetheart will publish on august 15, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review.
Marley's latest job assignment at Something Borrowed is to be the Maid of Honor to a spoiled, high maintenance bride. Right before she is given this assignment, she meets Luke and agrees to go on a date with him. Once she discovers that Luke is the best man for the wedding, she must find a way to push him away, while trying to ignore their undeniable chemistry. Marley is used to dealing with difficult brides, but this eight week assignment pushes her patience to the limits. I enjoyed Don't Call Me Sweetheart and liked both Luke and Marley. I love the town of Sweetheart and look forward to the next book in this series. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary Advance Reader Copy.
4.5 Stars! Don't Call Me Sweetheart is a totally absorbing book from new to me author Codi Gary. It grabs you right from the beginning and the journey to wedded bliss is quite out of the ordinary. The two primary characters, Marley Stevenson and Luke Jessup, have seductive chemistry, and their romantic courtship is replete with friendship, desire and love. Ms. Gary is a talented storyteller and her words kept me engaged. This is the first book from the the author's brand new series, Something Borrowed, and it can be read as a standalone. Marley has been employed as a wedding planner/rent a bridesmaid by Something Borrowed for seven years. She has seen her share of bridezillas, and her latest and hopefully last assignment is a real doozy. Getting former pop diva Sonora Star to the altar is quite a challenge, and Marley can't wait to get the nasty and loathsome woman out of her life. Sonora treats everyone with complete disrespect, which includes her soon to be groom. On the bright side, Marley gets to know Luke, SWAT officer and the groom's best man, and he makes her toes curl. Unfortunately, due to the confidentiality agreement between her company and the diva, Marley is not able to let Luke know who she really is. Thus, she has no choice but to keep many secrets about the wedding happenings. If you are looking for a contemporary romance with the perfect balance of emotion and heat, an intriguing plot, and a happily ever after that will leave a smile on your face, read this book. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Marley Stevenson helps brides special day go off without a hitch, sometimes being a stand in bridesmaid, and sometimes helping to plan the big day. Being a stand-in bridesmaid and wedding planner was never the plan, but it's her reality and it pays well so she embraces it the best she can, and holds out hope that her plan to move the big apple will come along someday. When a Hollywood starlet hires her to be a stand-in bridesmaid for her upcoming nuptials she realizes this could be the client that finally earns her enough money to finally say goodbye to the town of Sweetheart, but of course it doesn't come along without a whole host of complications. A certain sexy complication, one that is determined to win her attention and her heart! The moment Marley wanders into Luke Jessup's life he is completely taken with her, he'd love nothing more than to be able to explore every inch of her, she on the other hand wants nothing to do with him. She is sending unavailable vibes his way, but that doesn't seem to deter him any, he is a dedicated man and when he wants something he always gets it! What a charming and heartwarming read, the moment I met the folks of Sweetheart California I never wanted to leave them!! They pulled me into their little world, made me feel right at home, and wheedled their way right into my heart. The chemistry between Marley and Luke was undeniable from the start and their intense attraction to one another kept things consistently hot throughout the entire story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading their story, and also getting small glimpses of the other characters in the series, which I plan to acquaint myself with in the near future. The story line had a nice flow to it, and had just enough angst to keep me on the edge of my seat and continually flipping pages. Very engaging and entertaining read, I highly recommend it! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this title.
Loved, loved, loved this book! Marley and Luke work so well together, I could feel their chemistry and it was fun to see Luke get Marley to loosen up. He knows life can be too short so you have to go after what you want. Marley isn't so sure about that. It would be just her luck to meet a fantastic guy and he's off limits. She works for a wedding planner as a rent-a-bridesmaid and dating anyone in the wedding party is forbidden. Luke unfortunately is the best man. She needs this job too much to take the risk but Luke is refusing to take no for an answer. Will this horrible wedding ever be over?? A fun read and one you don't want to miss. I highly recommend it.
I enjoyed this story. Marley works for a company that provides a maid of honor and/or bridesmaids for rent if you need one. Marley never thought her temporary job as a rented bridesmaid would become her career but it pays well & helps her be able to take care of her mother & help her when she moves to New York for her dream job as a book editor. Her job has never been a problem nor has following the company rules of no fraternizing with groomsmen, until she has an encounter with groomsman Luke. Luke is a SWAT officer & is in California for his best friend's wedding & hits it off with Marley. However, the bride to be, Sonora, who is a total bridezilla demands Marley not have anything to do with Luke. Or her sister who goes there to be the photographer. Throughout the book Marley has to hold her tongue & even though she isn't supposed to spend time with Luke she does anyway. This was a great story & I want to go back to Sweetheart California.
Small town romance with a wedding theme has Marley, a rent-a-MOH, doing her best to adhere to the confidentiality clause of her job description while dealing with Bridezilla Sonora, trying to avoid Luke who might be the man of her dreams, making friends with the sister of the bride and dealing with her conscience. Luke was a hunk and a half that I really liked. He was a nice guy who was there for (and worried about) his friend Brent engaged to Sonora. He was caring and kind and just all around a good guy. I know he was attracted to Marley physically but I did not see her personality and on-off attitude as one to keep his interest. I guess I had trouble understanding Marley and her behavior and seeing her as someone I might like to know. Anyway – sweet story with HEA’s for two couples and the introduction of other characters that may end up with HEA’s in future books. The plot was somewhat predictable but definitely a book that some will enjoy greatly. That said, thank you to NetGalley and Kensington-Lyrical Shine for the ARC – this is my honest review – for me it rates 3 Stars.
Prepare to be charmed. How she does it I'll never know, but by the end of the first chapter, Ms. Gary has managed to steal my heart. Don't Call Me Sweetheart is the latest in a long string of heartwarming stunners. Maybe it's the way she modernizes the fantasy of the childhood dream of Cinderella finding her prince. She humanizes the dream with flawed characters and realistic obstacles in a way that is full on humor but never lacks for heart and always keeps the dream alive. The best of what makes us human shines through ever character she creates and that is what keeps me coming back for more.
What a fun read. Now on to book 2.