FOREVER STARTS NOW by Stefanie London

From the publisher:

What happens when two people who’ve given up on forever find it in each other…?

Single men are as scarce in Forever Falls as a vegetarian at a barbecue. That is, until Ethan Hammersmith moves in. After his fiancée gave him an ultimatum, he left Australia and never looked back. He isn’t in America to find a new girlfriend, though. He’s searching for the father he never knew. But now it’s like he has a flashing sign above his head that says “available.” Thankfully, the manager of the local diner is willing to give him cover―if only she weren’t so distractingly adorable.

Monroe Roberts, town misanthrope and divorcée, knocked “forever” permanently off her wish list ever since the love of her life skipped town with the cliché yoga instructor. And good riddance. She’s got this struggling diner to keep her busy, trying anything to boost sales…until a hot Australian strolls in and changes everything. Monroe’s restaurant is packed full of women who aren’t there to order food, unless Ethan is on the menu. This could sink her business faster than ever. So―light bulb―what if they pretend to be together?

It sounds like the perfect plan. Until they realize there is some very real chemistry in this fake relationship. But is it enough to heal two hearts that have been so deeply wounded?

The fake relationship is always a fun trope in romance, and when the guy involved is a dead ringer for Chris Hemsworth, including the Australian accent, it adds another layer of fun. His real name is Ethan, but all the women in this small town are convinced he is the actor/superhero and they are stalking him. Monroe takes pity on him and feeds him breakfast in the back of the diner’s kitchen, and a friendship is forged.

Ethan has spent a year in America seeking out the father he never knew. As mother was dying, she confessed that the man who raised him was not his father. She gave him a name, Matthew Brewer, and said he had died, but that was all he had to go on. He had been crossing the country, investigating every dead Matthew Brewer until he landed in the tiny town of Forever Falls. This Brewer seems the most likely yet, but the townspeople are very close mouthed, and it turns out Brewer was not well liked, to say the least.

Monroe has her own troubles. She caught her fiancé sleeping with her cousin, and the whole family took sides, creating an irreparable rift. It’s been a while, and now her sisters are pushing her to start dating again but she is not in the mood. Ethan and Monroe decide to form a fake relationship; it will get her sisters off her back and the women of Forever Falls will back off of their stalking if they think Ethan is taken by one of their own. It’s a perfect plan, except of course they develop real feelings for one another.

Ethan is not willing to commit. He’s been burned by his former ultimatum-wielding fiancée and his mother, and pretty much decided against forming any kind of relationship. When he finds the info he needs about his father, he’s heading back to Australia.

Monroe realizes that the fake relationship is no longer fake, but when she confesses her feelings to Ethan, he does not reciprocate; or rather, he is fighting off those feelings as well. This was such a compelling romance, the heat practically flies off the page and I couldn’t wait for Ethan to come to his senses. Everyone gets their happy ending here, especially the reader. A most enjoyable escape.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FOREVER STARTS NOW by Stefanie London. Entangled: Amara (June 29, 2021). ISBN: 978-1649370235. 352 pages.






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