The Wedding Agreement
Elizabeth Hayley     

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Strictly Business
Book: 2
Heat Level:

The author of Just Say Yes is back with another sweet and sultry Strictly Business novel about working hard and falling harder into an unexpected romance...
Love doesn’t always follow the same schedule...
Alex Walker doesn’t need a woman in his life. In fact, he doesn’t have time for one. Between his career in the FBI and the demands of being good father, romance is an unwanted distraction. 
Likewise, Cassidy Mullen is fine on her own. The independent career woman has never had a husband in her plans—forget about kids. But when her friend Alex gets into a bind with his ex over their daughter, Cass finds herself suddenly playing the part of Alex’s stable, child-loving fiancée—and liking it a lot more than she’d care to admit.
Soon Alex and Cass can’t deny the real passion growing between them. But as fake affection turns into real love, Cass and Alex will have to make a choice: say “I Do” to their feelings or give up on happily-ever-after for good...

Alex Walker’s job as an FBI agent means his schedule can be irregular at times.  But as the divorced father of to his seven-year-old daughter Nina, he’s determined to be a good one. Unfortunately, after he calls his ex-wife to pick up Nina early one too many times, his ex asks her parents to take care of their daughter when she goes away with her current husband for the summer. Alex is furious and believes his daughter should be with him.

Cassidy Mullen enjoys a friends-with-benefits relationship with Alex. She doesn’t want anything more. She’s never felt that maternal pull for children of her own and she’s more than fine without a husband. She gets herself into a bit of a bind when she tells Alex’s ex that she’s his fiancée so Tessa won’t think that Alex left his daughter with a stranger when he has to go into work. That is how Alex and Cassidy’s relationship go from a friends-with-benefits status to faux engagement.

I enjoyed Alex and Cassidy’s romance. The pacing was good. The love scenes were hot. What I did find somewhat unusual or hard to get used to was that there was the lack of buildup to their sexual relationship as they were having sex from the very beginning. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any conflict. Alex was understandably annoyed to discover there were “engaged” but in the end agreed he needed to play along in order to get his daughter for the summer.

I would have rated this book higher if not for the lengths Alex and Cassidy went to make his ex believe it was a real engagement. He bought her a real diamond engagement ring, which wasn’t cheap. They even went so far as to book a venue, a band, and Cassidy purchased a flower-girl dress for his daughter.  If neither of them thought it was a fake engagement, I didn’t understand why they didn’t just tell his ex that they weren’t planning to get married for a couple years so they weren’t planning anything for a while.  

What I enjoyed the most was when their relationship became “real”. That’s when things got complicated and sometimes tempers flared and jealousy reared its ugly head. I thought their actions and reactions were genuine, which kept me fully engaged. I loved the close relationship that sprang up between Cassidy and Nina. But most of all, I loved watching as Alex emotionally comes back from a marriage with a cheating spouse and Cassidy learns that plans change and her desires for her life, her career, can also change.

~ Susan