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Jack Van Camp went to Hunter’s Mills to run interference between his mother, Dutch grandmother and his very pregnant sister. When he finds Annie Wilson hiding out in his cottage, he’s floored by her beauty and innocent nature…not to mention curious about why she was hiding. Jack soon finds himself persuading the lovely Annie to pretend to be his wife for as long as his grandmother is in town.
With her mother’s sudden return to Hunter’s Mills, Annie finds herself without a place to live. While her mother entertains various men in her apartment, Annie finds Jack’s request hard to turn down. A roof over her head, a handsome man at her side and the unconditional love of Jack’s family.
But Annie has a request of her own to make in return for her help. When Jack agrees, they begin the Marriage Sham. Falling in love wasn’t supposed to be part of the game.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
“Yeah, right,” Annie snickered as she tossed the slip of paper from her fortune cookie aside. She may well require a teacher, but there were few to be found in Hunter’s Mills.
Annie was sick of being the town’s oldest virgin. Especially since most of the folks in town considered her the rotten apple that fell just beneath the proverbial tree.
She walked from the living room to the bathroom and discarded her clothes. A hot shower with lots of scented soap would help wash away the anguish of another bad day. Bad days that started soon after her mother returned to town.
It wasn’t that life in Hunter’s Mills was exciting. But mundane was a word that Annie grew to love after her mother’s departure when she was seventeen. She had finished her last year of high school on her own without her mother’s shoulder to cry on when no one asked her to the prom. Not that her mother would have offered her shoulder anyway.
Truth be told, even when her mother worked full-time at Mel’s diner, she had been anything but supportive. When she left, Annie should have been glad. Mel let her continue to rent the apartment above the diner in exchange for part-time work.
None of that mattered now. She’d been driven from her home to find refuge in a cottage in the hills above the town. Thank God for her best friend, Eddie Handler, who offered the use of her brother’s cottage.
Annie stretched and yawned as she adjusted the taps. A shower was definitely in order.
* * * *
Jack Van Camp wasn’t sure what he’d find when he walked into his cottage for the first time in years. For some reason, he wasn’t prepared to see that very little had changed since he and his family had last been there. The open concept cottage, which he had built to suit the whims of his then-wife, seemed empty in spite of the lavish furnishings. The leather love seat and couch still circled the primitive stone hearth.
Jack found himself thinking about the numerous times Joanne, his ex-wife, had chastised their three boys for playing on the expensive furniture. He would have gone with something inexpensive so the rough play his sons frequently indulged in wouldn’t have mattered.
In spite of the fact that the three boys had sprung from Joanne’s loins, she never seemed to understand them.
The last time he had been to the cottage had been with his wife. They had left their sons with a neighbor with the hope of sorting out their marital problems.
Looking back, Jack knew it was more about his sons than the fact he wanted to save a marriage that was doomed from the beginning. The birth of each of his sons was the only bright spot in his twenty-two year marriage.
Jack moved around the living room with a sense of foreboding. It was time to let this place go. Joanne was long gone and with two sons in college and the third in his last year of high school, there was no point in hanging on to it.
Jack frowned when he noticed empty Chinese food cartons on the coffee table. As he rounded the couch, his foot snagged on something. His frown deepened as he crouched to examine the open backpack. A lacy pink bra peeked out over the edge of the zipper.
Jack rose and walked slowly to the kitchen. It was then he heard the running water in the bathroom off to his left. His hand hovered for only a moment before he twisted the knob and pushed the door open.
Jack glanced at the steam emanating from the running shower. The sun through the west window offered a silhouette of the person in the shower. His eyes narrowed as he gazed at the figure, definitely the owner of the bits of lace he spied earlier. The form bent from the waist to rub her long shapely legs and then rose, with her chin tilted up to allow the spray of water to slide down her body. She turned, letting the water wash over her back and buttocks as her hands glided up from her waist to her sides and then grazed over her breasts.
".....The emotions that Brenda Nyveld has incorporated into this plot will lead readers along a roller coaster of sensations. The secondary characters offer another opportunity for readers to come to know and understand what makes Jake and Annie who they are: two realistic characters that readers will remember forever and hold in a special place in their heart. The Marriage Sham is a tremendous love story that will leave readers wondering just who the sham is actually being played upon. Brenda Nyveld has done a wonderful job and earned 5 Angels in the process!"
Reviewed by: Jessica 5 Angels, Fallen Angel Reviews
"What a hoot! THE MARRIAGE SHAM has a pretty basic plot, but Brenda Nyveld pens a sometimes humorous, sometimes heart touching tale. Jack and his family believe his elderly grandmother to be living with old time beliefs and they are sure a divorce in the family will be too much of a shock to her sensibilities. But the old lady shows she is made of sturdier stuff by the end of the book. She is a wonderful and delightful character; everyone’s idea of a perfect grandmother. Our leading couple fight their attraction for each other from the very beginning. Annie is willing to play the part of Jack’s wife, but she wants something from Jack in return, something that won’t be a hardship for Jack to provide. The chemistry of these two characters fairly scorches the pages and leaves the reader breathless.
THE MARRIAGE SHAM is a wonderful book for contemporary romance lovers. The prose flows smoothly and there are couple of twists that are rather foreseen, but are very well written. Sit back with a nice cup of tea and enjoy!!"
Reviewed by Penny Love Romances 3 1/2 hearts
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 160
Paper Weight (lb): 7.0
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