Marriage comes before love in this unconventional romance.
For years, Deirdre Murphy has been dating Rory, her childhood sweetheart and co-worker in her parents' rural Irish pub. And she's been saving herself for marriage because Rory has decided they should wait to have sex until their wedding day. Instead of the engagement ring she was expecting, Rory buys her a plane ticket to Chicago to visit her American family. With Rory's encouragement, she goes out with Tommy, a hot tattoo artist who's had a crush on her since her first trip to the U.S. While she's in Chicago, she escapes from the life her family has planned for her back home in Ireland: to marry Rory and run her parents' pub. Unfortunately, she hates the pub and soon learns that Rory's reluctance to marry her is because he's gay; he assumed that she knew and was content to live an affectionate but passionless marriage. When she gets soused and throws herself at Tommy, with whom she has an immense amount of chemistry, instead of kissing her he holds her hair while she throws up, tucks her in, and helps with the ensuing hangover. Quickly, the two begin dating in earnest, with the sexual tension ramping up. Deirdre is still conflicted about sex before marriage, but ultimately decides that Tommy is the one she wants to lose her virginity to. Things are just getting serious when she's summoned home because her family has discovered that Rory dumped Deirdre because he's gay. Her parents fire him from the pub, and, short-staffed, they need her help. Neither she nor Tommy is sure what to do. They haven't said “I love you” to one another yet, but the connection is real. Tommy's solution is marriage, which solves as many problems as it creates. There's a lot to like about this book. The characters are warm, the conversations are clever and funny, and the sex is as sweet as it is steamy. And, as a bonus, there's a lot of effortless emphasis put into Deirdre's consent, which is impressive.
If this sweet romance doesn't have you dancing a jig, nothing will.