The Engagement Arrangement
by Jaci Burton
Boots & Bouquets - Book 2
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Brenna Bellini will never get married again. She plans to live out her days as a happy, successful, single woman. When she's chosen to be a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding at the Bellini family vineyard, she's thrilled. That is, until she realizes who else is in the wedding party. Brenna's going to have to spend four days in the company of not only her ex-husband, but also her high school nemesis. She just knows the fact that she's single and alone is going to be rubbed in her face all weekend long. Well, not if Brenna can help it. She's going to find herself a fake fiancé.
Finn Nolan is thrilled to be offered the job. He's had it bad for Brenna ever since he came over from Ireland to live at the vineyard. After falling for Brenna from afar for years, this Irish cowboy is determined to show the woman of his dreams that he is her Mr. Right.
So what does a confirmed never-getting-married-again woman do when the man of her dreams unexpectedly lands right in front of her? Because for the first time, she might not be able to walk away. This time it might be forever.
I enjoy a good friends-to-lovers/fake engagement story and after reading book one, The Best Man Plan, was curious to see how this one would play out. It was obvious Finn had it bad for Brenna. It was equally obvious that not only was Brenna completely oblivious to his feelings, she had no interest in reciprocating them...not with him or anyone else. This was not going to be an easy road to love.
I'm enjoying getting to know the Bellini family and learning the inner workings of their vineyard, winery, and event planning business. Burton brings it all to life with her vivid descriptions and details. She also brings authenticity to this close-knit family, including the loving but sometimes complicated relationships among the three Bellini sisters, each with a unique personality and place within the family and the family business. There are definitely flaws in these characters that keep things real...and keep me turning pages.
It was fun to learn more about Finn, how he came to live with the Bellini family, his vision for expanding the business, and his long-held feelings for Brenna. I liked him a lot, loved his dog, and was firmly in his corner. Brenna, on the other hand, took a long time to warm up to. There's a whole slew of emotional baggage for her to sort through and a prickly personality that's hard to crack. She has her moments but it wasn't until the final chapter of the book that she convinced me she was the right person for Finn. This was the first book in a while where I wanted to see major groveling from the heroine. ;-)
There's one more Bellini sister waiting for a happily ever after and I'm eager for her story, especially if my guess about her hero turns out to be correct.