Theo MacLeod wasn’t supposed to be the one.
Tall, dark and handsome suits me just fine, but the cocky grin, know-it-all attitude, and mammoth ego? No thanks. I only hired him so I wouldn’t have to sit at the singles table again. It was just pretend.
He wasn’t supposed to kiss me.
My heart wasn’t supposed to pound.
We weren’t supposed to spend the night together—the hottest night of my life.
One night turns into a snowed-in weekend away, and even the blizzard of the century can’t cool the fire between us. I can’t get enough—of his smile, of his body, of the way he makes me feel.
We’re nothing alike. He’s a daredevil, and I’m a nervous Nellie. He’s a drifter, and I want to put down roots. He’s an opportunist with a checkered past, and I’m a Girl Scout volunteer.
But none of it matters when I’m in his arms.
I know he’s made mistakes. I know his wounds are deep, and he doesn’t trust easily. I know he doesn’t believe he could ever be enough to make me happy, but he could.
All he has to do is stay.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Elementary art teacher Claire French needs a date for her co-workers wedding. After countless weddings sitting at the singles table and being on the receiving end of sympathetic looks, she’s done. And so when her co-worker asks her if she’s coming alone (again), she lies and tells her she’s finally bringing a plus one; this time in the form of a Ryan Gosling look-a-like who’s a rock star in bed.
Word spreads in the faculty room about her phantom boyfriend, and now she has no choice but to find a date. Her friends can’t help her, but one of them plants an idea in her head—a rent-a-date. Pages after pages of porn sites later, she finally finds Hotties4Hire. After looking at their catalog, she sees Fred, a man who could play the role of her imaginary boyfriend. But when Claire sets up a meeting with “Fred” a few days before the wedding, he’s not at all what he looks like in the catalog. He’s not the blond, blue-eyed “Fred”. His name isn’t even Fred. But when they go to the wedding and feel that unexpected spark, it’s not just a fake date anymore.
When Theo MacLeod first meets Claire, he immediately knows she’s good. She won’t jaywalk, would open doors for people, and would give up her seat for others. She wears her heart in her sleeve. That’s why he needs to be careful with her. Be careful to open up and risk getting burned. Because Theo is used to people leaving him, and with someone as good and pure as Claire, he knows she’ll leave him the way his mom and dad once did.
Obviously, Theo has a lot of baggage. Most of the angst in the story is focused on him and his life. He’s had a rough childhood until his grandmother took care of him and his big brother, and it was followed by questionable decisions in his twenties that led to a year in jail. His experiences in life made him guarded and closed off. He needs to conquer his demons before he can finally open up and become a better person, not just for Claire, but for himself as well.
Claire has her hang ups as well. She doubts herself a lot and is scared to take the leap. But she’s a good woman who tries to see the best in people, and it was what Theo needed. Theo was also there to help her gain courage and get her art out there. I really liked seeing them push each other into getting over their issues.
And the sex. My goodness the sex. Theo has quite a mouth on him, and he and Claire have an explosive chemistry! I’m not entirely surprised though because Melanie Harlow writes amazing banter and sexy times!
I wanted to smack Theo in the head sometimes, especially in the middle, but there’s something about him that makes me want to cheer him on. Maybe it’s the cocky yet sometimes brooding personality, his past he’s trying to get over, his selflessness when it comes to his sister-in-law and his three adorable nieces, his handyman skills, or his hot as sin everything, but I what I’m sure of is I love him.
I loved the friendship between Claire, Jaime, and Margot. Their friendship is so strong, and I just love how the three complement each other. It’s also really good to see Jaime (Man Candy) and Margot (After We Fall) again! Same goes with their significant others.
What I loved the most though was the growth these two experienced. They had a few bumps in the road before reaching their HEA, but they both grew into better people before they got back together. Some just settle on grand gestures, and although that’s fine and dandy, I would prefer if they grow first; not just for them, but for each other. I’m incredibly proud of Claire for standing up after falling down, and learning from their relationship and what Theo told her.
And their ending and epilogue made me swoon and giggle and just say awwwww. It was perfect for them, and nothing beats a grand gesture with a well thought out grand gesture.
Fast, steamy, and full of sexual tension, If You Were Mine is a standalone novel told in dual POVs. It was fun, sweet, heart-breaking, and swoon-worthy with a hot and lovable hero and a strong and relatable heroine. If you’ve read Man Candy and After We Fall (or any other MH work, really), you’ll definitely enjoy this one. I certainly did.