Wife in Name Only by Hayson Manning
Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know she's married in name only. At least until America's premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.
Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isn't the same woman he married. Now she's so much more…
When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed?
About the Author
Hayson Manning dreams of dropping onto a tropical island and dipping her toes into whispering waves. Her reality is emptying the dishwasher, herding two teenagers, (easier than wallpapering cats), loving her happy-ever-after but exasperating shoe-dropping husband and fostering dogs plucked from death row. She loves nothing more than writing fun, flirty contemporary characters brimming with emotion and who are strong, vulnerable, but not perfect. They'll fight for that one special person who will love them for who they are.
Read an Excerpt
Wife In Name Only
By Hayson Manning, Kerri-Leigh Grady, Erin Molta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Hayson Manning
All rights reserved.
Rory stepped onto talc-white sand on a lost dot of an island in the kingdom of Tonga. Salt-and-mango etched air assaulted his senses, and he breathed deep, his muscles involuntarily relaxing.
Time to get his wife back.
Priorities. Business first. After doing the photo shoot and ensuring he had the good press he needed, he'd then convince his wife that they needed to get this separation un-separated. Period. Enough of her being on the other side of the world. No ifs, buts, or maybes. Just her back with him where she belonged.
He swung a backpack over his shoulder and stopped in front of a rustic pole. A picture of a facemask and the word Snorkelling pointed at the beach. An arrow that read Recharging Station directed him toward hammocks swinging lazily in the breeze. He found the one he needed. It read Welcoming Committee and pointed at a bungalow directly ahead. As he took the path, he passed a fleet of yachts, their glossy hulls bobbed in the harbor. He paused and raised his hand in greeting to Smithy, the captain of the yacht that had brought him here.
Silence apart from a choir of competing insects rang loudly in his head. Jesus, this place was quiet. Too quiet. The seductive murmur of his mistress — downtown Los Angeles — called to him from across the Pacific. He could almost feel the throb of the city streets, hear the sigalerts issued for the clogged arteries of the 405 freeway, and inhale the early morning construction dust. He missed the cut and thrust already. The frenetic energy. It was like he was standing on another planet — an alien looking to get home.
A couple walked along the beach, hand in hand. Another couple kayaked out by the reef. Their orange vessel was a smudge against the shimmer of the horizon.
A sound he hadn't heard in more than two years smacked his ears. The off-key sound of Zoe belting out the lyrics to "Dancing Queen" called to him. He walked into the bungalow, leaned against the doorframe, and drank in the sight of his wife. He'd know that body anywhere. Blind and in a dark room full of woman, he'd drink in her scent, touch her skin, run his fingers through her hair, and know she belonged to him. With her back to him, she stared down at a bench. She still couldn't sing for the life of her, and it was still the most amazing sound on the planet. The sight of her after a year punched him deep in the gut. His body froze. Muscles unhitched from bone. His blood turned to slush.
God, the woman was beautiful.
Not just a woman. His woman.
And she was coming back home with him as soon as this business was complete.
She looked ... different ... but not. What the hell was so different about her? She had the same killer long legs but now in frayed denim cut-offs. Gone were the tailored shorts and matching sandals with a tucked in tee she'd worn like a stiff uniform. He drank her in. She was so close he could almost taste her. And man, he wanted to taste her. Her skin was now the color of polished mahogany. A hum vibrated deep throughout his body. Her hair was the same waterfall of honeyed hair that caught the sun. Copper and bronze strands formed a halo around her head. It was hair he hadn't seen out of a tight French knot in years. He itched to run his hand from ankle to thigh and hear her low moan of pleasure. Instead, he let his eyes roam over her, hungrier than a condemned man with a Mega Bucket of KFC. God, he wanted her. He would always want her. He hadn't seen her so relaxed and at ease in a long time. Unease threaded along his spine.
"Zoe," he said softly.
She spun around, and whatever had been in her mouth sprayed across his chest in an arc of red.
"Rory?" she choked out.
Her mouth hung open in a perfect 'O'. He stared down at the drops staining the front of his shirt.
"Oh my God, I just spat on you. I'm so sorry." She reached for a dishcloth and dabbed at his t-shirt, then clamped her hand across her mouth. Her amazing blue eyes sparkled.
A sound he hadn't heard in years filtered to him. "Are you laughing?" It was a magical laugh, free and happy. It shut him down and restarted him in one easy beat.
She shook her head, lifted an eyebrow, then nodded.
"Sorry, it's just that I haven't seen you in ages and the first thing I do is spit Hunka Burning Love at you."
The snort in her laughter, the light shining in her eyes, and the warmth radiating out of her smile had his heart beating painfully against his ribcage. Before he could get a handle on the mess of thoughts trapped in his head, he frowned and asked, "What's Hunka Burning Love? Is it something to do with the publicity photos?"
She stepped back from him and glanced at a large bowl on the bench. He followed her gaze. Sliced oranges, limes, and mint collided like battleships in the red liquid.
"It's my thing. I invent fruity cocktails for the guests when they arrive. Hunka is still in production. And to answer your question, yes and no, I make the drinks for all the guests, but Hunka will be in the shots."
She clicked a button on a remote, and the notes of the song faded from nearby speakers. He caught the tremble in her fingers and the way she laced her fingers when she was nervous.
"I haven't heard you sing in years."
"I sing all the time now," she said in a quiet but confident voice.
He absorbed the blow, refusing to flinch. The pain radiated around his body, leaving cold sweat inching across.
She was happy here. Happier than he'd seen her in a long time.
Happy away from him.
No fucking way was this happening.
He stood frozen to the spot, his brain playing catch-up to the crap circulating in his head.
Something must have registered on his face. Her face softened for a second before she turned her head away, took a long breath, and turned back with a forced smile.
"Thank you for coming. It means a lot. I know you want to know all about the set-up here and how the photo spread will work. We should get together to iron that out." She laced her fingers together again.
"Right. Priorities. Tell me about the spread and what's required."
As if sensing his probe, she shut down the emotion on her face.
A sledgehammer to the gut had him flinching. Zoe had always showed her emotions. When they were first together, she hadn't had to speak; he'd read her face to know exactly what she was thinking. When she'd stood across from him in a borrowed dress, clutching supermarket-bought flowers and had said 'I do' with tears running down her face, he'd absorbed her. Like an ice-axe to the back of his skull, he knew he now watched her shut down before his eyes. Just as she used to before she left.
"I know we're married in name only, but with the magazine coming and ... well, it means a lot." She blinked up at him, color slowly edging into her face.
"What do you mean married in name only?" he said slowly, trying to digest her words. "I came here to work things out. To take you home where you belong. Enough of this shit, Zo. You need to come back with me."
She stared at him as if he'd arrived in a shiny rocket from another world. "I am home. I love this place." She paused. "This is where they'll bury me," she said quietly.
His gut rolled over and played dead. "No, after the publicity shots, we need to get your shit sorted and work out who will take over running the resort, because you're coming back with me. You're coming home."
She did a cartoon-style double take. "We need to get my shit sorted?" Her cheeks flushed a deep red. "I don't think so, Rory. My shit, as you so eloquently put it, is sorted. This is my home, and I'm staying."
"No. I've had enough of you working out what you needed to work out in your head. I'm done with that."
"Oh, my God, nothing about you has changed." Her eyes swam in some sort of liquid blue emotion.
He hated emotion. Hated the way it made him feel powerless to fix whatever was wrong. Hated the way it pressed into his head, making him feel things he didn't want to feel.
"Why'd you leave, Zo?" The question that had been burning him for a year slipped from his mouth. The anger of her leaving still felt like a pressed bruise. He had no idea why she'd left. Now, looking at her happier than he'd seen her in years, his plan to take her home took a giant turn he hadn't factored.
She'd moved on.
She twisted the hem of her t-shirt. Pain flashed in her eyes, and he flinched.
She took a long breath and studied him as if he were a long-lost treasure that might hold some nice memories.
That look was a mule-kick to the chest.
"Bob Henderson was the last straw for me," Zoe said. "He was like family and the only one who gave us a chance when we arrived in L.A. He treated you like a son, and, without a thought, you took everything that mattered from him."
She stared him straight in the eye.
He rubbed his jaw, perplexed. "It was just business."
"But it wasn't business when Bob ended up in the hospital with a stroke after you took away his company. You couldn't even be bothered to send flowers, let alone go and visit the man who looked upon you as a son. You ripped away everything he held dear, including yourself, just to make a return on an investment." She looked up at him, and his heart did a slow swan-dive toward his feet. "I fell in love with the young, ambitious, driven, but kind Rory. I fell out of love with the cutthroat businessman who'd sell his soul for a merger. The speak-or-shut-up guy." Her quietly spoken words shut down his brain.
If the previous mule-kick wasn't bad enough, a four-ton elephant had just landed on his chest and started doing push-ups.
"Why didn't you contact me, Zo?"
"At the beginning," she said, "I didn't see the point. Then I fell into running the resort, and, with the whole pretend-marriage thing going on, I thought if I filed divorce paperwork someone would find out, and I'd be screwed."
She looked slightly guilty.
He stared down at the plain band on her finger. He'd worked double shifts on the construction site to get her a solid ring. A ring that would last her for an eternity with him. Sweat trickled down his back.
"We'd both moved on." She looked at him sadly. "Rory, we communicated by texting. We hadn't spoken in a long time. There were nights when you stayed at the office instead of coming home. We were both waiting for each other to call it off."
"You sent me a text telling me our marriage was over." He thought the pain was long-gone, but it still cut.
"You left me little choice."
He frowned. "How'd you figure that?"
"We had dinner plans, and I wanted to tell you then, but you cancelled. Three times. Three times, you sent a text telling me something had come up and asking to reschedule. And I did. Three times."
Color flared into her face, like it was a bad memory that she wanted to get rid of. Fast.
"The fourth time you sent a text to everyone in your office, and my name was tacked on at the end, an afterthought to your work plans. You advised me you'd be out of the office for three days." She looked at him a little sadly. "So, yeah, I thought sending you a text was exactly where our marriage was. That night I ate the meal I'd cooked us, packed my bag, and left." She cocked her head to one side. "Were you only gone for three days?"
He breathed deep and long, but it wasn't a soul-cleansing breath. It was a breath filled with barbed wire. "Seven days. I was gone seven days."
It stung like a flicked rubber band to his insides. But they were not done. Seriously not done. Her soft fingers curled around his wrist, sending a plume of warmth across his body.
"Rory, I'm never leaving here. Ever. I've found the place I was meant to be." She paused, determination rolling off her in palpable waves. "You have to let us go. I have."
The finality in her eyes shut him down. He forgot to breathe as he stood there reading the 'we're done' look. 'Totally done' look. Yeah, he'd do the press for himself, make it the best spread ever, and then he would be gone. Back to L.A to get divorce papers drawn.
An ancient man shuffled through the door, slightly out of breath. his cane whacked the wooden floor.
"Miss Zoe. Weather report from Nuku'alofa. Big storm heading toward Niuafo'ou. Category two. Name Esther. My wife's name." The old man wheezed.
Fear flitted across her eyes, and her hand came to rest on her throat. "Okay, Simi. I'll make sure we're ready in case it turns. I don't want to alarm the guests."
When the old man smiled, his face creased like aged parchment. "It won't turn. Hermit crabs stay on beach, not hide up tree. Too afraid of my Esther."
Her shoulders visibly relaxed.
"There's a category two storm brewing?" Rory forced his feet to stay anchored to the floor. Forced his breath to stay even. Forced back the flinch in his muscles.
"Still afraid of storms?" she said softly.
He curled his hands. "Yeah."
She gripped his arm. "Your secret's still safe with me. And don't worry. If it's really bad, Smithy will find you. Believe me, he's a good man. Besides, if Simi says the hermit crabs are staying on the beach, then that's good enough for me. Still, I'll make sure everything's in order."
"They work as the island barometer."
He opened his mouth to question but closed it again. It didn't matter; he didn't want to know. As long as there was no storm heading his way, he was cool. Besides, he'd take his state-of-the-art sat-nav over hermit crab technology any day.
Simi glanced between her and Rory.
Zoe smiled at the old man with genuine affection.
"Rory." Twinkling brown eyes appraised him. "Good you came."
Rory thrust out a hand and gently took the older man's hand. How did the guy know who he was?
"I go and start work." He squeezed Rory's hand before he shuffled past him and out the door.
What's with all the squeezing–like I'm a favorite nephew or a ... friend?
Rory glanced out the window at the picture-perfect day. The sun hit the translucent water, bathing it in crystalline sparkles.
A hammock hung between two palms where a couple read books and sipped out of coconut shells.
"Right. Until I leave." He pointed out the window. "I'll take the hammock.
"You can't." The words shot out of her mouth with the intensity of a speeding bullet.
His eyebrows rose. He leaned against the counter while taking in her sudden ashen appearance. "Why's that?"
"Well, the thing is ..." Her hand went to her throat. She stared down at a stack of brochures, the top of which was covered in a healthy dose of Hunka. His eyes followed hers.
Hang on a minute.
He grabbed the brochure.
There, in a glossy picture of love, were his and Zoe's faces staring back at him.
What the ...
He opened the pages to find pictures of them walking hand in hand along a moonlit beach. Of them kissing against the backdrop of a tropical jungle. He glanced out the window at the same backdrop of jungle.
"This is us."
"Yeah." Scarlet crept across her cheeks.
"But I've never been here."
Even her ears got in on the act and looked like they'd been scorched.
"What the hell is this, Zoe?"
"I hope you don't mind, but I photoshopped you in. The magazine took one look at us, and thought you were the Ice Man melted, so different from the Wall Street Ice Man everyone knows is you. There's no way you'd smile like that now, so I, ... ah ... photoshopped you in.
Coldness spread through his core "You ... photoshopped me in?"
She had the grace to look guilty. "Well, yeah. I have to be married — it's a honeymoon resort. I can't sell love ever after if, for all intents and purposes, I'm divorced. It wouldn't exactly bring in the customers. So one night not long after I got here, and possibly after one too many glasses of wine, I started working on the brochure. I was going through my computer, and instead of worrying about copyright and stuff, I used pictures of our wedding day and photos of us back in the days when we were, you know, in love, and incorporated them into the brochure." She said it in one long burst. "So I, um, I photoshopped you in."
Excerpted from Wife In Name Only by Hayson Manning, Kerri-Leigh Grady, Erin Molta. Copyright © 2013 Hayson Manning. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
This is a great debut novel by Hayson. I am picky with giving 4 or 5 stars... actually I don't think I have ever given a book 5 stars. This story between estranged husband and wife, Zoe and Rory Hughes, has it's moments of being sweet and romantic, then it also had moments I was literally biting my nails. I cried, I laughed, and I felt Zoe's battle along with her. Something that most authors fail to reach. And watching the struggle between two people who still love each other but will not admit it for stubborn reasons gives the reader an almost real life relate able experience. I would recommend this for everyone to read.
To be frank, I’m quite stingy with my 5 stars but Wife in Name Only deserved every single one. I had this silly thought that I’d start a few chapters and then go and finish my errands and housework. Well, that didn’t happen! I got engrossed in this book that I couldn’t put it down. The very complex personalities of the protagonists kept me wondering what would happen next and just when I thought I had it figured out, I found the differences in what actually happened intriguing. Rory has that sexy all business brooding male act down pat and Zoey is so mellow and goes with the flow though she has very real issues of her own. You’d think they wouldn’t compliment eachother, but Hayson connected the dots for me, beautifully. I laughed, I teared up, I got frustrated, and I cheered at different points throughout the book. The fact that a book can generate real emotion is a testament in itself. The writing flows seamlessly. The depth of the story is solidly built. The characters have identifiable and distinct qualities and personalities, really bringing the story together. I was greatly pleased by this book and highly recommend it to anyone that wants to feel their heart flutter. I cannot wait for her next book!! If you haven’t picked this up yet, you are missing out!
Zoe is the owner of a honeymoon resort where she sells the idea of the perfect marriage and happy ever after year round to happy couples. Rory is a high power CEO that has waited for his wife to work out what she needed and come back home to him. Together they are going to work together so that Zoe can sell the perfect marriage idea to a magazine doing and article on her resort. While Rory could use the good publicity for his rep. They might not live as a married couple anymore, but they do keep the respect for their marriage and stay faithful to each other. You go on a ride with the couple over the course of a few days as they work together and work through feelings they still have for each other. Needless to say that being stranded because of a bad storm is just what they each need to find themselves and try to find each other. The love scenes are hot; sometimes gut wrenching and very personal. I really enjoyed this book, from the setting of a romantic getaway to the characters and how they interacted together. I recommend this book for anybody looking for a new spin on love and a look at the struggles they have. There is plenty of twist in this book and well worth the read overall. Reviewed by Kenzie for Cocktails and Books
Enjoyed this book.
Predictable, but then what romance isn't?! At least the storyline kept my interest alive enough to finish the book. Would I read another one by this author. Probably.
Good book. Fast easy read.
A sexy, fun read in a truly awesome island setting.
I loved this book!!! Zoe and Rory had chemistry!!!! They loved each other but wanted different things in life...But in the end they learned to compromise!!!!! I would recommend this book for everyone to read...
*Copy provided by the author/ publisher in exchange for an honest review" "Wife in Name Only" is sweet, easy, day-on-the-beach reading romance. The story was, to me at least, captivating - the tension between the main characters was omnipresent and sometimes you just think "Oh just fall back in love already you fools". The scenery described is beautiful and makes you long for a care-free life in paradise. It may not be the best read ever, but a very nice way of passing the time :).
When Zoe Hughes left her husband, the last thing she wanted was to have to talk to him again. But as luck would have it, she needs him if she wants to continue to expand her island paradise. When Rory agrees to come, he plans to bring his wife back home to L.A, not really understanding why she left in the first place. As Zoe and Rory spend time together, they both find that they are still extremely attracted to each other. But is either willing to sacrifice what they’ve worked so hard for in order to give their marriage another shot? Two fiery characters, a tropical paradise setting, a little drama, and a lot of chemistry make for an AWESOME book! I loved this book and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next! Grab a chair by the water and enjoy! Ms. Manning has delivered a sizzling summer read with Wife in Name Only. Rating :4 Heat Rating: Hot Reviewed by: AprilP,(Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More)
I really enjoyed this story, especially the last third of it. Wife in Name Only by Hayson Manning is a suspenseful romance with sizzling heat. I found the first half a little slow and repetitive, but the rest kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. This is the story of Zoe and Rory. Zoe owns and manages a successful honeymoon resort on the island of Tonga. Rory is a very wealthy business tycoon and is always seeking the next "big" deal. He lives in Los Angeles. They are married but have been separated for a year. The world thinks that Zoe and Rory are happily married, which is a huge draw for business at the resort. Zoe has agreed to have her resort and happy marriage featured in a prominent travel magazine. Reluctantly, she calls her husband and asks him to help her out. He agrees, knowing this positive publicity will undoubtedly help his unpopular reputation in the corporate world. Due to an impending hurricane, Rory's short visit is extended. The storyline continues with Zoe and Rory spending time together on the island. They begin to love each other all over again. Unfortunately, Zoe may be in some danger and Rory can't help but protect her. The author's descriptions of the landscapes, characters and actions are brilliant. This is a good book. I received this book from the published in exchange for an honest review.
Who wouldn’t love to spend their honeymoon in Tonga at a tropical resort? So what if the ruse about your husband is never around it spinning out of control. What happens when the best publicity you can get for your business means you have to have your husband, the IceMan show up and be all lovey dovey. Zoe Hughes has a big problem and it seems that bringing her hubby in name only to her world is the only answer. When Rory agrees to show up for the publicity stunt, he’s determined to bring his wife home, to his home in the States. Through Hayson Manning’s debut novel we follow the twists and turns as Zoe and Rory figure out what is really important to each of them. Will the IceMan thaw out in the tropical paradise? Will Zoe return to the U. S. and resume the anxiety riddled life of Rory Hughes’ wife? It’s an interesting journey that is perfect for a light and airy read.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair review. Having said that, I'm not someone who feels obligated to give a good rating just because I got a free book. I truly loved this novel of a second chance at love...and it made me cry! If I have to pull out the tissues, you've made me connect with your characters and that's worth 5 stars to me. Add to this the beautiful tropical setting, some really tender and extremely steamy moments between Zoe and Rory and you've got a winner. Look forward to reading many more stories from Hayson Manning.
Take one tropical island, add a couple whose chemistry leaps off the page with sexiness, humor and mistakes that need fixing, and you've got a fantastic debut from Hayson Manning! I loved every moment of this book. The sparks between Rory and Zoe were sizzling, their dialogue witty and sharp, and the forced proximity was deliciously shared in description and activities that made me want to head to a tropical paradise stat! There's also deep emotion and a wonderful blend of sweetness and hotness between Rory and Zoe that had me sighing one moment and laughing the next. Ms. Manning's sense of humor is such fun and she's created two characters that I didn't want to say goodbye to. I can't wait to read her next book!
I believe in honest reviews. This book was slow from the start but picked up quickly. That being said, I didnt identify with the main character at all. I feel their story was forced and their wasnt really any emotional chemistry between the main characters.
We start out with Zoe and Rory (who, by the way, is a guy. I kept thinking of Rory from Gilmore Girls and, well, she’s a girl). They were married, then things got bad—Rory became a workaholic—and Zoe left Rory. Fast forward a year and Zoe is now the proud owner of a honeymoon resort, but she needs publicity to make it popular. Unfortunately for her, that means that she has to suck it up and ask her husband to help make that happen. Rory wants his wife back, but he loves his lifestyle. He doesn’t see anything wrong with it. He was born and raised poor, and he feels like he has to prove himself worthy of the business that he has built. Zoe left him because she felt that Rory had become a cold, ruthless businessman—and she wanted the man she had married: the nice, honest construction worker. So Rory heads to the island that Zoe has been living in, and here’s where the story really begins. Rory and Zoe can’t deny the attraction between them—and Rory doesn’t want to—but Zoe tries. Boy, does she try. She doesn’t want to get sucked back into love with Rory, only to result in more heartbreak. I really admired Zoe. It takes guts to leave a man you love. She was really strong and I understood why she loved the island lifestyle. Before I talk more about that, let me clarify something. In this island, there is almost no technology. There is a satellite phone that works some of the time, and a really, really slow computer that shuts down occasionally. So you can see how it would be hard for Rory—businessman extraordinaire—to go to this island. Now back to Zoe. She loves not having to always rely on technology, and she loves the people who live on the island as if they were her family. I get that. It sounds like heaven, being able to be on a relaxing island. And then there’s Rory. He’s been trying to prove to himself and the rest of the world that he isn’t that poor construction worker that had to work double shifts just to buy his wife a wedding band. He likes his lifestyle and it works for him. Something that bothered me was that from the beginning to almost the end, Zoe and Rory were always emphasizing that they were too different. And from what I could see, they really were too different. They both wanted different things. The loved their respective lifestyles. But they wanted each other as well—which is a problem. I truthfully could not seem to find a way for them to be together. Rory loved living in Southern California. Zoe loved living in Tonga, a really remote island. They liked different lifestyles. Rory needed technology for his business to work. Zoe couldn’t live in an asphyxiating environment like it was with Rory. I kept thinking: How is the author going to do it? How will she realistically get them their happily ever after? This simple fact—that they did not go together—was what really made it hard for me to read. I loved the attraction between them, I loved the obstacles, but who wants characters that don’t go together? Luckily, the author did a pretty good job. She realistically was able to have circumstances reset their priorities and have them have their happily ever after. And that’s what matters. I recommend this book for people who love the “true love conquers all” mentality, and protagonists that overcome challenges that get thrown at them.
This book is about an estranged married couple who are reunited after a year of complete separation.The wife (Zoe Hughes) has a honeymoon resort (purchased after she fled L.A. and her marriage) on an island in the archipelago (a chain, group or cluster of islands) of Tonga and has everyone (honeymooners etc) convinced that her and her husband are still very much together and in love. A large travel magazine contacts her, they want to do an article on her resort and her successful, loving marriage. "Oh crap Sacks!"Zoe calls her husband (Rory Hughes (Being a Doctor Who fan I loved the name Rory being used)) and awkwardly requests his presence at the resort. Rory, somewhat begrudgingly acquiesces. And so begins the tale...We get both perspectives throughout the book on the rise and fall of their marriage, where they are in their lives right now, who they are, and how they feel. We notice right away that they are still very, &very much attracted to each other. Their physical (read as: Sexual) chemistry is off the charts. If only they can get their heads in order. It's a love story with a twist here and a turn there and (thankfully) a HEA.In general, I liked this book very much. I have a preference for the easy reads that do not have too much heartache and angst. Don't get me wrong, I like the angsty ones too, but I choose depending on how my day/week is going. As I am not that geographically minded I did have to look up a few things along the way about Tonga, but while this can be a little tedious, it is also a chance to learn something new. Overall, A Great read!
Wife in Name Only is a sexy romance that takes place in a tropical paradise. Hayson Manning does a terrific job of weaving a tale of a marriage that is on the rocks but still has all the fires burning. Hayson’s description of the lush easy-going life on the Tongan island, where the story takes place, makes the reader long for a more relaxed, idyllic life. Zoe, unable to find happiness amid the jungles of L.A., finds her niche on a tropical island, living separately from her husband. Rory, Zoe’s estranged husband, is so immersed in the empire he’s built that he’s lost sight of what matters most in life. Temporarily collaborating on a magazine article that will be beneficial to both, Rory and Zoe discover that the sexual chemistry that sizzles between them is as strong as ever. The sparks fly as they discover feelings that have long been buried. This is a sexy romp, full of humor, sexual tension, blazing sexual chemistry and steamy romance. The characters are well-liked and believable and the story line moves along smoothly. Zoe’s playfulness and Rory’s brooding arrogance mingle to make this story a delightful read. There’s plenty of witty dialogue, hot chemistry and steamy romance. Wife in Name Only will hold your interest from beginning to end and will not disappoint. I received a copy of the book from Entangled Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Janna Shay Author of Fair Play
When I call this story hot, I don't just mean the tropical island setting! The sparks fly between honeymoon resort owner Zoe Hughes and her estranged husband Rory, a high-powered businessman with an Ice Man reputation. When a travel magazine wants to feature the resort, and, more specifically, Zoe and her husband and their happily-ever-after life, she's forced to call Rory and ask him to come to Tonga and pose as her "loving" spouse. He agrees, in part because he needs to rehabilitate his professional reputation and he thinks the magazine coverage will help, and in part because he fully expects to collect his wife and bring her back home to L.A. where she belongs. Rory's shocked to arrive at the resort and realize Zoe is happy there, doesn't miss L.A., and had serious issues with their marriage and her "widow to the business" status during their last few years together. The story is choke-on-your-drink funny, and fan-your-face sexy, and as feel-good as any of the ABBA songs Zoe loves, but nevertheless presents two people with real issues to resolve. Manning doesn't gloss over those. Sizzling chemistry, while always appreciated, isn't offered up as the solution to everything that's wrong with this relationship. She takes her characters--her hero in particular--on a journey to discover home is where the heart is, and hearts need tending. I loved Wife in Name Only and can't wait for the next story by this author! Are you listening, Mrs. Manning?!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I give Wife in Name Only 3.5 Stars! I truly enjoyed this adorable read. I cannot lie and say the thought of trading in the city life of New York for a pina colada in a remote island didn’t cross my mind...quite a bit. I have been reading romance novels lately that focus on the beginning stages of a couple’s journey, how they fall for each other, endure some hardships, then of course, resolve these issues and live happily ever after. This book however, shows what happens after the happily ever after... The story begins with Zoe Hughes making the dreadful call to her very much separated husband Rory who is back in L.A heading his biggest priority, Hughes Enterprises. They have been separated for over a year when Zoe decided to pick up and leave her life and husband in L.A. and move to the tiny island of Tonga in the South Pacific. Rory had become engrossed in running his company and didn’t realize Zoe withdrawing from everything in L.A. She was miserable and wanted more out of life than air kisses, shopping and debates surrounding whose yacht is bigger. Since that time, she has had success managing her own honeymoon resort that is known for its local charm and appeal and now has caught the eye of a popular honeymoon travel magazine. They want to showcase the resort’s exotic location along with Zoe and her husband success in juggling careers in L.A. and Tonga while still being very much in love. Of course, this could be further from the truth and now she has asked Rory to come to the island to “fake” their love for the magazine spread. Rory agrees, being the workaholic that he is, thinks the publicity of the magazine will help with his ‘Ice Man’ persona he has inherited in the business world. Although they haven’t seen each other in over a year and have been emotionally separated for longer, the sexual chemistry and attraction is very evident within the first pages of them reuniting. It was quite endearing seeing Zoe and Rory’s undeniable connection after all this time. I instantly loved Zoe’s carefree approach to life, her kind heart and corky personality. Rory was a bit tougher to warm up to because he seems to care for Zoe one moment then seems divorce and having unattached sex is the best option. That quickly faded however once you see Rory’s lighter and protective caveman side. You understand he chose to work and strive for success only to provide for Zoe but somehow lost what is truly important along the way. I loved the lightness of the book. Although, I will say, this is one of the more optimistic books I’ve read which can also be misconstrued as unrealistic. Also, I would have liked more insight into their earlier years and how they met. The length could of also been longer and the steamy scenes could have been extended. With that being said, I still highly recommend this as a perfect beach read. :)