Desert Isle Keeper
Her Perfect Affair
Priscilla Oliveras had a successful debut romance with His Perfect Partner, the first in the Matched to Perfection series about three Puerto Rican sisters finding love amid the laughter and tears of everyday life. I enjoyed that story, though I did find it quite emotional as the women deal with their father’s cancer diagnosis. There are happier times ahead as Her Perfect Affair begins with a wedding celebration for the couple from book one. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable romance where a seductive night together leads to unintended consequences (that’s a euphemism for ‘Oops! We made a baby!’).
Rosa has always been the responsible Fernandez sister. She doesn’t make hasty decisions and she has a plan for her life. At the wedding of her older sister Yazmine, Rosa throws caution to the winds when she gets the chance to spend the night with her secret crush, Yazmine’s best friend Jeremy Taylor. As luck would have it, despite using precautions Rosa ends up pregnant.
Jeremy comes from a wealthy society family, though they have had their share of heartache. Surviving an abusive relationship, Jeremy’s mother married a wonderful man who raised Jeremy as his own. They’d hoped he’d follow in his step-father’s footsteps and become a lawyer but Jeremy insisted on going out on his own, building his own career in information technology. He’s been raised to always do the right thing, and that means proposing marriage to Rosa, whom he’s also secretly cared for a great deal. But Rosa shocks him when she refuses his proposal.
Rosa knows that the easiest thing to do would be to marry Jeremy. Her new job as librarian at a Catholic school could be in jeopardy, and she is aware that gossip in her church may be unkind. She dreads telling her two sisters about the pregnancy, as well as other relatives who will be disappointed in her. But no matter what happens, she refuses to marry out of obligation. She wants a marriage built on love and respect. She’s willing to be co-parents with Jeremy even if it’s the more difficult route. Can Jeremy show Rosa that together they can have everything, including love?
What a lovely romance! It’s on the sweeter side, with on-page kisses but off-page love scenes, though the consequences are the same. Rosa so rarely lets herself be impulsive and the one time she does, it comes back to bite her. I admire her for her convictions, for her willingness to take responsibility for her actions and for her not taking the easy way out. She’s especially concerned about her new job at the Catholic school, because although they haven’t yet enacted a morality clause in their employee contracts that would give them the right to terminate employees for infractions (such as being unwed and pregnant) they could still make things difficult for her. This is particularly distressing because she’s started an after school poetry group that has become a popular oasis for some of the local teenagers. For her, poetry is a way to express her thoughts and feelings and she keeps a poetry journal to confide in. Being engaged would make sharing the news of her pregnancy a lot easier but she’s holding out for love.
As for Jeremy, he’s what friends of mine on social media would call a ‘cinnamon roll hero’ – patient and kind, generous and thoughtful. While he believes marriage really is the solution, when Rosa declines his offer he initially wants to push the issue. When she won’t budge, he resolves to do whatever he can to help ease her pregnancy symptoms and support her any way he can. Some readers may find the story a bit challenging if they are sensitive to scenes of nausea and vomiting because Rosa throws up A LOT. In fact she spends almost the entire story dealing with morning sickness as a result of having the pregnancy condition of hyperemesis gravidarum, which is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. Jeremy steps up the plate, learning how to make a special tea taught to him by Rosa’s godmother, and spending nights at her house as a caregiver to make sure she has everything she needs. In his care and attention he demonstrates his true feelings of love for Rosa, not the romantic ones but the ones that will make a marriage endure. As he and Rosa spend time together, they come to realize that their feelings have strengthened and in fact become real love. While it takes Rosa longer to realize this than Jeremy, they eventually end up on the same page, and are ready to make that lifelong commitment, not just for their child, but for themselves.
The story is infused with the close family ties and culture of the Puerto Rican Fernandez sisters. From liberally sprinkled Spanish expressions, to traditional foods and celebrations, the author who is herself Puerto Rican has brought the warmth and love of her own personal experience to the romance. Jeremy has to prove to Rosa’s family that he will make a worthy father for the baby and partner for Rosa, regardless of whether they marry or not. From this family background Rosa also challenges Jeremy to reconcile with his parents, with whom he’s had a strained relationship for some time. It’s quite nice to see him taking her advice and shows that they have equal opportunities to support each other. Her Perfect Affair is a family focused, heartwarming romance.