The Wedding Bait
Grade : A-

I’m always excited when I find an author writing romances with older characters (and by older, I mean over forty) and Adele Buck’s The Wedding Bait hit the spot for me, garnering a place on my Best of 2022 list.

Tove Nilsen is getting ready to attend her daughter Emily’s wedding at a lakeside resort in Maryland. Emily, a cinematographer, is marrying her girlfriend Hayley, an up-and-coming musician whom she’d met on a video shoot. The problem is that Tove’s ex-husband Anthony has just told their daughter that he’ll be showing up with his latest young wife in tow (with a late acceptance, par for the course with him). The last thing Tove wants is to show up solo for the event and have Anthony sneering at her single-ness so she tells her daughter she’s bringing a date – and now she has to find one in a hurry. Upon explaining her dilemma to her best friend and business partner Parvati, her friend has a suggestion – look for a professional escort. And she even goes one better by finding just the man Tove needs, Patrick Mercer.

As a high-end male escort for twenty years, Patrick knows how to be discreet and cater to the person who has hired him. Retired at forty-five, for the last ten years he’s been enjoying the wealth from his career when he gets a call from his former agent about a weekend event escorting Tove. Though he’s not looking to re-enter the game, he’s intrigued. For one thing, Tove is the daughter of a famous supermodel whose poster used to grace his teenaged bedroom wall. But looking her up online, he also digs up the dirt on her husband and his multiple (and younger and younger wives). The idea of being there as a buffer for Tove against Anthony is very appealing, and he accepts the job.

Tove and Patrick only have a few hours to get to know each other during their car ride together to the wedding before appearing as a happy couple. But Patrick’s skill and genuine niceness make a stressful situation not only manageable, but enjoyable too. His services can include intimacy if that’s what Tove wants. But is she ready to leap into the unknown with a man who seems too good to be true?

This is a novella length contemporary romance and I’ll be honest, I could have read a lot more of Patrick and Tove! It was so nice to see Tove being treated properly by a partner (even if he was hired), a man who knows how to make women feel at ease, to be attentive to them, and to provide whatever support they need. He’s great at dealing with Anthony and his insults, and showing Anthony that he thinks he’s a fool for ditching Tove. Tove is a strong woman, a single parent (since Anthony could never be relied upon to be there for Emily as she was growing up) who is proud of who her daughter has become and excited to welcome her new daughter-in-law into the family. She’s used to sticking up for herself in front of Anthony, but what a nice stress release it is for her to realize she doesn’t have to go it alone with Patrick by her side.

Patrick makes no bones about being attracted to Tove and leaving the ball in her court as to whether she’s interested in making their weekend extra special. But with how Patrick is treating her and Emily, she’s willing to see if his skills at handling women so well extend to the bedroom. And they definitely do. When the weekend is over, Patrick extends an offer to Tove to pursue something more, leading to a happy for now ending.

The Wedding Bait is a sexy and enjoyable novella that has put this author on my radar and I’m hoping she’ll publish another Golden Years novella in the not too distant future.

Reviewed by Maria Rose

Grade: A-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : February 5, 2023

Publication Date: 01/2022

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Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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