Release Day Review: UNEXPECTEDLY HIS (Smart Cupid) by Maggie Kelley

A match made in Manhattan...

By-the-book Marianne McBride wants to prove she's more than a computer geek in a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. But how did she end up hiding in a cake, waiting to sing "Happy Birthday" to Nick Wright, a sexy and arrogant serial-dater? Not exactly part of her plan. Especially when she finds herself kissing the birthday boy, and then running like hell...
Nick falls for no woman. No strings, no commitments, and no relationships. Not even with the sweetly curvaceous bombshell from his birthday. But then he's hit by a bombshell of his own. He needs to find the perfect faux fiancée, or kiss his key to the executive washroom goodbye. Fortunately, his matchmaker sister has the perfect girl in mind.
Now Nick and Marianne have to pretend they're in love for six weeks. No dating. No sex.
And definitely no acting on the wickedly-hot chemistry that could ruin everything...

If there's something you should know about me it's that I absolutely adore romances that begin with two people pretending to be in a relationship for one reason or another. I just love watching a romance go from pretend to the real deal. It's up there along with Friends-to-Lovers and Best-Friend's-Brother (which this novel also features) in my 'Romance Trope Hall of Fame'. So, it's safe to say that this book had me hooked from the synopsis alone. Add to that tropey goodness the fact that the heroine is a shy, bespectacled, curvy smartypants with a Marilyn Monroe obsession, and this novel promised to be Cris crack. As expected, UNEXPECTEDLY HIS is an incredibly fun, sexy, satisfying read. 

Nick is a gorgeous ladies' man who is used to having women play by his rules, not run away from him after surprising him with a birthday kiss. Although he's known and overlooked the buttoned up Marianne for months, he can't get his mysterious 'Cake Girl' out of his head. After a confidence-crushing breakup, Marianne has been trying to awake her inner siren for months and popping out of a cake and serenading her secret crush is just the push she needed. Except an impromptu kiss and her resulting fear has her running for the nearest exit. When Nick suggests a mutually beneficial fake engagement, Marianne is unsure if she can keep her siren, and all those secret fantasies, in check. 

I really appreciate that Nick and Marianne's feelings weren't instantaneous, but grew and developed throughout the course of the novel. What started out as an unexpected attraction and overwhelming desire really flourished as the lovers got to know and respect each other more. Nick isn't just your typical player with a different woman warming his bed every night. He has a big heart, a strong sense of  family, and a need to do what's right and just. Marianne is a genius with numbers and comes from a very wealthy family but she never uses either of those advantages to make others feel like less than her. I enjoyed the teasing banter between the couple and the flaring of jealousy and proprietary feelings throughout the novel. Plus, these two were just hot together. A good portion of the sex scenes focused more on the male perspective which was a really interesting way to observe the couple's chemistry and dynamic. I loved reading all of the hero's dirty thoughts! 

Marianne is the kind of heroine I can really connect to. She sincerely wants to come out of her shell and express her inner fantasies and passions, but she is overwhelmed by niggling fears and doubts. She's a little sexpot wrapped in the packaging of a cardigan-wearing librarian. I feel like to a certain extent we can all relate to that disconnect between how we feel and how people perceive us. That sense of being overlooked or misunderstood. I've never considered watching Marilyn Monroe movies as bombshell inspiration for a confidence boost but now that UNEXPECTEDLY HIS sparked the idea, I'll definitely be binging on some Netflix this weekend. 

Though this is the second novel in the Smart Cupid series, it's the first book I've ever read by Maggie Kelley and I don't think I was missing any crucial information. This could totally be read as a stand-alone if you are so inclined but after reading UNEXPECTEDLY HIS I would definitely like to go back and read Jane's story too. This novel just really hit the spot. If you're looking for a sexy, fun, contemporary romance that'll have your inner siren cheering, go pick up a copy of UNEXPECTEDLY HIS by Maggie Kelley. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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After ten years of survival, aka working, in Hollywood, this former actress and current author of sexy contemporary romance is living happily-ever-after in Pittsburgh with her longtime sweetie, AKA Husband Number 1, and their two occasionally punky kids. When not carpooling to birthday parties or testing her gourmet cooking skills by throwing a frozen pizza into the oven, Maggie daydreams about sneaking off to the Vegas or Napa, or even just the movies. A love of red wine, Italian food, and music round out her list of life’s greatest joys. Oh, and Tuesday night karaoke, totally underrated fun!

1 comment

  1. I'm also a big fan of the faux-engagement/relationship trope as well as the shy gal / ladies' man pairing, so this book sounds right up my alley!