When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on a blind date his mother arranged for him. I walked into the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night. After the unexpected second date, she didn’t know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.
It’s not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged. I shouldn’t have agreed to the blind date. My mother insisted, and I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out. I will admit, I definitely shouldn’t have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived. The man turned out to be swoon-worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction. Then I found out he was a liar. I’ve never been in over my head to this degree. Then again, I’ve never been in love.
Mixed Up Love was a fun, quick read, but didn’t quite hit the mark for me. While I did enjoy the ride, when I reached the destination it was just left wanting. After reading some of Natasha Madison’s other work, this one just fell short of the expectations I have for her writing. I did have fun and find myself chuckling throughout this book. Both Laney and Hunter were hardheaded and reluctant to admit when they were mistaken about things, which led to some interesting standoffs and misunderstandings. I felt like they had great chemistry and they both had enough of a voice to stand up for what they wanted out of it, but I felt like Ms. Madison may have needed to spend a little more time building the emotional connection between them, as I could feel that bond starting to develop but it wasn’t quite fleshed out In the novel. The premise of Mixed Up Love was adorable, and I loved the banter. The secondary characters added a lot of entertainment to the story. I almost found myself wanting to know some of their stories as much as I wanted to get Laney and Hunter’s. I enjoyed all the little details Hunter kept recalling, and it added some swoon-worthy moments and hinted at the depth of his feelings for her. Overall, this was a cute read and great for wasting away an afternoon. My primary wish for this book was that it had more substance. A good portion of the book felt more like an exercise in describing the wealth of the characters, from dropping brand names like the author was getting royalties, to the detailed extravagance of the homes, businesses, and vehicles, I was a little put off by it. Also, while I am all for everyone in the book finding their HEA, I found myself rolling my eyes at the relationships of convenience in this book. Had this book been longer, I think all the issues I had with it would have been solved, as the story had great bones but failed in the delivery. I pull up to the front door, and the valet meets me at my door once I stop. “Good evening, sir,” he says once I open my door. “Yeah, I won’t be here long,” I tell him as I get out, not bothering to take off my sunglasses when I hand him the keys. “No worries, sir. It will be here when you are ready,” he says, handing me the ticket for later. I put it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. I walk inside to the hostess table, where a woman who looks like she is eighteen stands smiling. “How may I help you?” she asks sweetly. I stop and look around to see if I might recognize the woman I’m here to meet, even though I’ve never met her. I spot a couple of women at the bar, but I instinctively know they aren’t her. I also check for exits. It’s not my fault; it’s just instilled in me. Looking to the left, I don’t see anyone sitting alone, but then I look to the right, and I see her. I don’t know why I know it’s her, but I just do. With curly long blond hair, she downs a martini, then picks up another one and brings it to her mouth. I spot a waiter walking with two more martinis on his tray, and I’m not surprised when I see him approaching her table. “Great,” I say under my breath. “I found her,” I tell the hostess and start walking toward the table. She spots me and watches my every move. Luckily, the glasses I’m wearing stop her from seeing my eyes. The closer I get to her, the more my pulse speeds up. What the fuck? This is weird. I look around maybe to see if something else is piquing my interest or maybe I spotted something to elevate my pulse, but no, it’s her. The fact that a gorgeous woman is sitting by herself and drinking like a fish is enough to get any man’s adrenaline pumping. Isn’t it? “Are you Laney?” I ask, taking off my glasses, and my gray eyes finally meet her blue ones. She opens her mouth, expecting, I think, something to come out, but nothing does. I continue looking around to see if anyone is watching her, and it’s no surprise that I spot two guys at the bar sizing her up. “Here are two more.” The waiter smiles at her, putting two more glasses down on the table and taking the two now empty ones away. She laughs nervously, and I want to reach out and trip him when he walks away. “It isn’t what it looks like.” Her soft voice breaks me out of my plan, and I turn back to her as she smiles at me, causing my heartbeat to skyrocket. The collar of my shirt suddenly feels tight, but it’s not even buttoned. “Really? I find it hard to believe,” I finally say. Looking around again, I spot the same two guys in suits sitting at the bar watching her. This time, one of them spots me and looks back down at his drink. “It looks like you’re sitting here waiting for something bad to happen.” I pull out the chair and sit in front of her. “Um.” She still doesn’t say anything. When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four-inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…