His Wife for One Night
Do you ever get a prickling of excitement when you first realize that a book has the potential to be a great read? I do, and by the time I finished reading chapter two of His Wife for One Night the tingling of expectancy was going strong. Happily, that feeling stayed with me throughout the whole book.
Jack McKibbon and Mia Alatore grew up together on his father’s ranch, the Rocky M. From her very first steps, Mia followed Jack around and they have always been each other’s best friend. When Mia’s father dies, Jack’s unstable mother attempts to remove the Alatore family from the ranch. To make sure that Mia always has a home, Jack marries her and then continues his career as the head of research for the hydro-engineering department at Cal Poly.
Lately, divorce has been running through Mia’s mind, since in their five years of marriage she and Jack have only met five times. When he calls Mia and asks her as a favor to appear as his wife at a fundraiser, she can’t help but get her hopes up. However, once she finds out that she is just there to put to rest any speculation of a affair between Jack and the dean’s wife, she knows she needs to cut herself loose and move on. She is hurt even more when she finds out that Jack is headed back to Africa and he didn’t even bother to mention it to her.
Jack is exhausted. For his entire life, he has dreamed of giving water to the thirsty. But now he is tired, discouraged, and feels like a failure. Mia is the one constant in his life. Jack has felt for some time that Mia desires him, but he told himself when he was twenty and she was fifteen that nothing would happen between them unless she started it, so the relationship has stayed platonic. But that night, both of them let go of their inhibitions and consummate the marriage. To Mia, it is her way of letting go of a dream, and she runs back home, leaving Jack confused and bewildered. Still he is needed in Sudan. Six week later, he returns home to his ranch hurt and broken. The military attacked his compound in Sudan, killing his best friend and injuring him. With Jack and Mia living together, will their relationship have a second chance?
How do I summarize a book that worked so well for me? First of all the plot of friends to lovers is one of my favorites, and it allows the author to incorporate sexual tension immediately and make it believable. And can I just say, that tension stays high throughout the book. The conflict, which kept the hero and heroine apart made perfect sense to me. Both have issues that they need to work through before they can trust in their love. I also loved the underlying theme of second chances. The writing is excellent and the secondary characters interesting. . . and if Ms.O’Keefe reads this, I hope she will please, please tell me that two of those secondary characters get their story.
So what about the main characters? Mia is just appealing. She doesn’t have time to be a girly woman. She works the ranch, and the responsibilities are all hers now, since Jack’s father has become disabled. She shows up at the hotel in an old truck, with borrowed clothing from her sister. And even though Jack can tell that the dress is wrinkled, and it is too tight in the chest, he thinks that she is the most beautiful woman there. Jack has been running from his horrible childhood, by trying to save the world. He doesn’t want to let anyone close, and his work provides the perfect vehicle to keep relationships superficial.
I had previously read two prior releases by Ms. O’Keefe. And while I didn’t dislike them, those books didn’t impress me like this one does. With this book, I spent a great afternoon with some wonderful characters well deserving of their happily ever after. While I think that this is a book that has universal appeal, if you love friends to lovers plots as much as I do, then this is book that you won’t want to miss.