A job interview leads to an unexpected offer—and a potential lover—for a widow reinventing her life and career in this debut novel.
Alesandra “Andie” Halzer is devastated when her husband of 25 years, Nick, dies unexpectedly following routine surgery. Two years later, Andie interviews for the position of director of special projects for Johnathan “Jack” Devlan’s company, Devcor Diversified, Inc. Jack is impressed with her credentials, expertise, and strong work ethic. Although Jack selects another candidate for the position, he has a different job in mind for Andie. Jack wishes to pursue new business opportunities, but he does not want the attention of eligible women to interfere with that goal. He needs someone to pose as his date at various social events, and Andie is his ideal candidate for the role. Intrigued but cautious, Andie agrees to Jack’s terms, including the stipulation that neither becomes emotionally attached. Over the course of three months, Andie accompanies Jack to award luncheons, wine tastings, and dinner parties. What starts as a business arrangement soon turns personal when Jack discovers he has fallen in love with Andie. With time running out on the contract, Jack begins a campaign to convince Andie to stay in his life forever. Capen’s book is a fresh and sharply written contemporary romance featuring dynamic characters and a unique and surprisingly tender love story at its center. Andie is an appealing heroine whose concerns about re-entering the workforce after her husband’s death are relatable. In a well-drawn scene, she confronts her fears about interviewing for the position with Jack’s company (“What was I thinking? I’m too old for this job. But how do they expect someone to have all that experience without being at least thirty-five or forty”). Jack is a hard-driving businessman who has avoided emotional entanglements since the death of his wife, Maggie. Although Andie and Jack’s relationship begins as a contractual arrangement, a loving connection gradually develops, grounded in part by their shared grief over the deaths of their spouses. That said, there is an inconsistency in the rendering of Jack’s first name. It is spelled “Johnathan” and “Jonathan.”
An engaging second-chance romance.