In six weeks Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realises she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiance, and his mother—who has joined the fight via conference call.
Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television elf-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she hould be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed.
Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step.
Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicised failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe.
What starts as dancing lessons, slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realises where her heart lies, will it be too late?
This book was a lot of fun to read. I have had the great fortune of discovering a lot of wonderful new authors through my first few months of reviewing, and Suzanne Carroll has taken her place on the list.
All Zoe wanted was to get married to Dan, but his mother was turning the wedding into a production worthy of a Broadway show. She just wanted to buy a house with him, but his mother (yet again) hijacked this and bought them an apartment – in her complex! Thank God she escaped that. Dan’s mummy dearest was a right bitch on toast. Zoe did well to put up with her for as long as she did – I would have given her a piece of my mind a lot earlier. Oh, and Dan, I’m surprised the man could go to the bathroom without consulting his mum.
She decides to make some changes in her life, do things for herself, take herself out of her comfort zone. This leads to a very interesting encounter with Guitar Man while trying to break into her own cabin while on a weekend away, after consuming just a bit too much wine. We’ve all been there, love.
Guitar Man just happens to be Angus Creed, the CEO of the company she works for. The friendly, charming and open man from the cabin is a hard-nosed, highly driven businessman with little tolerance for bull. He’s had a very high-profile breakup, and suffers from poor public perception (unfairly so) of his role in this. I like how Ms Collins kept Angus from appearing as if he was some Jekyll/Hyde creature, and wrote him as just a man with different public and private personas.
I like how Zoe and Angus’ relationship develops, from the dance lessons to the dog minding and through the bizarre team-building episode. It probably moved a little slower than I am used to, but hey, it worked in this instance. They became friends before anything, and the romance just snuck up on them like a ninja.
What I loved about Zoe as a character was, even with all that was happening with Angus, that she never gave up on doing things for herself or changed her goals to suit someone else. And Angus…sigh! He was lovely – so nice to see people with money portrayed as normal people who just happen to be wealthy.
The supporting cast in this book are wonderful. My personal favourite – Jeffrey and Kevin, the poodles, with particular reference to the starfish moment (I won’t give it away, but if you have a dog, you will more than likely have had a moment like this). I also really loved the description of the shrine to 1970s decorating – it just made me think of my dear old nanna’s mustard yellow sofa.
I do love it when nasty people get their comeuppance, and this story has two wonderful examples. Now I won’t give it away, but trust me, you’ll cheer.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading more from Suzanne Carroll.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 9 May 2013
Purchase Links: TWCS – other purchase links will be made available after release date
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House via NetGalley in return for an honest review.