Staff Sergeant Austin Hall has a brilliant record in the Special Forces - except for one disastrous decision that cost his best friend's life. Now he's heading home to Chance Creek, Montana, where he'd like to spend the rest of his days in the obscurity of his family's ranch. Too bad Great Aunt Heloise won't hand the ranch over unless all four of the Hall brothers marry and one of them produces an heir within the year. Austin is too broken to marry for love, so he places an online ad for a fake wife. What could possibly go wrong?
Ella needs to leave Hollywood - fast. It's bad enough another actress stole her fiancé - on national television. Now she's ruined her comeback by decking her ex on a morning talk show. Pursued by paparazzi, Ella needs a new life, a new name, and some place to hide. When she reads Austin's ad for a stand-in wife, she knows she can act this part perfectly. To the rest of the residents of Chance Creek, they'll be a happily married couple. In private, they'll just be roommates. In a year when she's old news and the Hall brothers secure the ranch, she and Austin will quietly divorce and she'll go on her way.
Or will she? Austin's already finding it hard to remember his promise never to love again. Ella's finding it hard to keep her hands to herself. But when they're asked to make a back-up baby, Ella realizes she may have stepped into a lifetime role.
Can this pretend marriage go the distance?
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Sgt. Austin Hall adds more steamy romance to Crescent Hall
Evolving, longing, & passion
Austin was my favorite character due to the fact that he continued to change and evolve throughout the story. He captivates you from the beginning introduction and continues to grow and change. He must decide whether he is just satisfying Great Aunt Helloise's demands for the ranch by marrying for pretend or if he is able to overcome the trauma and burden he carries from his tours in the Middle East. He lost one of his best friends and he really struggles to figure out is he able to open himself up to love and be loved. Ella must be patient and hope that he is able to slowly come around and deal with Donovan's death. He believes since Donovan lost his life he doesn't deserve to be happy either. His survivors guilt is immense and at times it's difficult to read. I found myself really being able understand how hard it was for Austin as he navigates his way back into civilian life. Also, Ella must decide if she want to renege on their original deal of hiding out to escape Hollywood and the paparazzi to just be roommates and abide by their no sex rule. There are a couple of plot twists that are very unexpected in the book and Austin really steps up to the plate and deals with them well. Ofcourse, Austin is also very masculine, sexy and fiercely athletic. His ability to rise to the occasion and be motivated by his stong family roots and continue family traditions after dealing with all he has gone through is magnificent.
I loved the obstacle course scene. I'm not sure how she comes up with some of these ideas...they are wonderful, romantic, mind boggling scenes. You'll have to read it to understand what I mean.
There is quite a bit of pain in this book. I experienced feeling as if I wanted to reach out and help both Ella and Austin come to grips with all the emotional turmoil they were dealing with. I felt like Austin needed all the encouragement he could get for a good portion of the book. There is a wonderful romance that blossoms and ends up flourishing after a long emotional journey for both Ella and Austin.
I can't wait to listen to Zane's story!!!