Christian Notte’s story, the sixteenth book in the Argeneau series is set on an island paradise called St. Lucia. After a bad relationship and an even worse divorce, Carolyn decides to go on a long overdue and much needed vacation with the ‘girls’. Only the rest of the vacationers didn’t get the memo. Around every corner there seems to be another couple celebrating their honeymoon or anniversary and the few single men she does see are far too young to even consider, including an irresistibly attractive rock violinist she meets. It’s really too bad he’s so young but in the end it doesn’t matter because according to his cousin, Giacinta, women in general aren’t Christian’s type. But there’s a catch, Christian needs Carolyn’s help. He needs her to be his beard (to play the part of his fake girlfriend) for the week to appease his ‘machismo’ family. Carolyn just can’t seem to say No and decides to help Gia’s cousin. The only problem is that being around Christian and acting like they are a loving couple is wreaking havoc on her emotions. Carolyn’s thoughts keep drifting back to places they shouldn’t, like kissing his full lips or feeling his broad shoulders under her fingertips… good lord, she’s in trouble.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’ve long been a huge fan of the Argeneau books by Sands, and when I saw this book focused on the always charming Christian, long lost son of Marguerite and Julius, I was super excited to pick it up. I’ve been waiting for his story for awhile, and I enjoyed it.
Carolyn is getting over a horrible divorce and her friends convince her to go away on vacation. While there she runs into Marguerite, who knows she has just found her son’s lifemate. When the house band cancels, Christian and his cousins come in to save the day, and hopefully give Christian the change to win Carolyn’s heart. Too bad for Christian she is hesitant to go out with a younger man or even get involved with anyone. In order to get alone time with Carolyn, Christian’s cousin tells her that he is gay, and needs someone to act as his girlfriend.
Christian doesn’t want to lie to Carolyn, but agrees that it might be the best way for them to get to know each other. As they become friends, the sexual sparks fly back and forth between them hotter than either expected. Although it takes awhile for Christian to melt Carolyn’s heart, he eventually wins her over. But everything on vacation is not as it seems…. Will Christian be too late?
I absolutely LOVED the way Sands set this book up. Christian having to pretend to be gay was incredibly hilarious. There were so many moments when I found myself cracking up out loud. Between Christian’s cousin Zanipolo trying to prove that he wasn’t the gay one, Marguerite doing her match-making, and Julius stepping in to try and help his son woo his lifemate, there were lots of giggles. I liked the whole charade and thought it worked well, both with Carolyn’s character and the story overall.
I really enjoyed Carolyn at first, however, as the book went on, I felt as if she was too busy wallowing in her own self-pity to see anything else. She came across as stuffy and uptight at times, and those were the moments I wanted to wring her neck. She was also depressed and at times a little pathetic with the pity parties. I would have liked to see her try harder to get over her crappy ex-husband and the bitter divorce. Especially after Christian told her the truth. It seemed as if she was more worried about what they would look like: her an older woman and him a younger man, than what they actually felt for one another. I was a little disappointed in that.
I adored Christian, I think he is just such a sweet guy, so caring towards those close to him. He deeply cares for the mother he just found (I love the moments when he gets to hear Marguerite go all gaga over his calling her “mom”), and he is also protective and caring to Carolyn once he realizes who she is. I would have liked for him to be a little more assertive, especially after Carolyn ran the first time. I wanted him to fight a little bit harder for her, but I loved the way their relationship resolved and ended.
About a quarter of the way through, I kept thinking about how much I continued to dislike one of Carolyn’s friends, and thought that particular twist in the storyline was a little left field and not necessarily an integral part of the story. I, for one, could have done without it. I found that the other secondary characters were all a hoot: Carolyn’s best friend Genie, Christian’s band-mates and cousins, Captain Jack… They were fun and great characters that added a lot to the overall story.
All in all this wasn’t my favorite Argeneau book, but also not my least favorite. I was glad to see Christian get his HEA, but wished that Carolyn would have proved to be the best mate for him sooner than she did. I got a sneak peek at the next book in the series, and I have to admit that I am soooo excited to read the next book!! This series continues to be good reads for me.
I give Under a Vampire Moon a B-