Marcus Beckett left Sanctuary Island after his mother's funeral, and he hasn't been back since. Until now. Needing a change from the high-risk, high-stakes life of a bodyguard, Marcus makes a solitary life for himself running the neighborhood bar in his hometown. His only mistake? Seducing and then dumping the town's sweetheart, Quinn Harper. Marcus knows he did the right thing—a good girl like Quinn has no business with a broken man like him. But now no one will come to his bar, and he's watching his last chance at a peaceful life go up in smoke. So when Quinn proposes a fake four-week courtship, he can't refuse...even though he knows it's a bad idea.
It's a romantic charade that will buy Quinn time to distract her mother and father from their own martial problems—and will help Marcus welcome back some paying customers besides. But what begins as an engagement of convenience slowly transforms into a deeper connection, one that heals both of their hearts...and ignites the simmering passion between them. Could it be that pretending to be together is just what Quinn and Marcus needed to give their real love a second chance?
Rating: 3.75 stars
So the story of the bad boy and most loved girl on Sanctuary Island continues… and this bad boy has to prove that he has changed and can give this woman what she wants and what she needs. Quinn and Marcus began their story as children, being the only two kids on their little corner of the small island, but once he left the island for a whole new life after the death of his mother, Quinn’s life changed forever. Now Marcus has returned and they have already had a disastrous affair that left them dealing with town nosiness, hurt feelings, and the awkward relationship of two people so obviously meant to be together but unable to find a way to let go of their pasts to achieve that future. Marcus knew that getting involved with Quinn would cause him heartache, but he never imagined it would leave him ostracized on the island he grew up on and struggling to make his dream of a pub on the island a success. When Quinn comes to him offering to help the pub’s success become reality, Marcus knows there will be a catch, and oh boy does it turn out to be a big one. Quinn has grown up, but those around her have never let her forget her flighty ways and her inability to settle in the past. She needs his help in order to get her parents back to the loving connected couple they were all her life and she is willing to use his need for the pub to succeed against him. Unable to truly deny her anything, Marcus agrees to pose as her fake fiance, but quickly they find themselves again dealing with the all too real passion they bring out of one another and the emotions Marcus hides from. I loved seeing Marcus find his way, with Quinn’s help, but I was very sad to see that it took almost losing the love of his life in order for him to wake up and understand that his past might have shaped him, but it doesn’t have to control him going forward. While he obviously loves Quinn he denies that feeling to her and remains determined to keep her out of his life, and that made me almost as sad and angry as it did Quinn. Quinn is the kind of woman I have never been able to truly understand, having a simple and loving childhood, she has always been able to move through life from one thing to another without having to really face the consequences most of us do, but when she is confronted with a way to grow up and truly help those she loves she jumps on the chance. I enjoyed seeing her mature and prove to those around her that she is no longer the irresponsible and capricious girl that most still think she is, but my favorite moment of her growth was her realization that the relationship she could build with Marcus would have to be balanced and equal if they ever had a chance to be together long term. I loved the heat and sexual chemistry between these two, even if they tried so hard to fight it almost every moment. I cannot wait to see what comes next for the citizens of Sanctuary Island and the mystical wild horses that make the island so magical and such a great location for this series. Keep up the magical work Lily!
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.