I just re-read "As You Desire" by Connie Brockway...

...it still rules.

"Love, Unexpectedly" - Susan Fox - 2010

I read a really good review of this book last year, and now it's free for Kindle! 

 "Love, Unexpectedly" combines two plots I love, 'Friends First' and 'Road Romance' and throws in a makeover and role playing for good measure. It takes place in contemporary Quebec, and begins in the apartment building laundry room of neighbors (and best friends) Kat Fallon and Nav Bharandi.  Kat is bubbly, social and a bit superficial, she works at a swanky hotel, while Nav, a photographer, wears a beard and old rugby jerseys, and looks the part of a shaggy starving artist.  He has been interested in Kat since the day he moved in, and as she flits from one bad relationship with one flashy ego-centric douche after another, he keeps falling more in love. But Kat, though attracted to Nav, does not want to ruin the one good and stable relationship in her life with sex, so he is forever stuck in the dreaded 'friend zone.'  The game changes a bit when Kat's little sister announces she is getting married in Vancouver in a week, and Kat needs a date.  Nav sees this as the perfect opportunity to make his move.   His plan involves the makeover and role playing I mentioned, then cleaning himself up and flirting in Continental French and crisp British vowels on with Kat on the train from Quebec to Toronto to Vancouver.  Nav gambles that seduction will lead to far more, and as they ride the rails both Kat and Nav open up and learn more about each other acting as strangers than they ever allowed themselves in their daily life.   

I read "Love, Unexpectedly" in one day, and think it could be my first e-re-read, I really, really liked it.  My only concern was the POV shift from third for Nav to first for Kat - it was a bit confusing, and I didn't understand Fox's reasoning for it... Oh, and there's also this:

So, the hero's name is Nav, short for Naveen and he is of Indian descent but raised in London, and has curly black hair, athletic and unkempt at first, then posh and elegant as he plays a part for Kat.  I try to resist the impulse to cast actors for characters while I'm reading, but there is no fucking way I'll believe that Susan Fox didn't want me picturing this:

Even Jodie Foster looks smitten...

...and of course this.  My first Naveen Andrews sighting, well before I saw him break a neck with only his feet on Lost, I swooned along with millions of middle-aged ladies as he wooed Juliet Binoche in  "The English Patient"

and finally, just looking dapper, I mean come on!  

Susan Fox also wrote a story for Kat's sister Jenna, which I would like to read, and I will be certainly be glomming her backlist as well!

"The Other Guy's Bride" - Connie Brockway - 2011

Well, I broke down and actually purchased an e-book.  Here's what it took:  the Kindle version was less expensive, already reviewed well, and published a full month before the paperback.  I was excited to read a 'sequel' of sorts to a favorite re-read from my Keeper Shelf, 1997's "As You Desire" featuring Harry and Desdemona's oldest child. 

"The Other Guy's Bride" was fast and fun, and I did like it, it just doesn't come close to "As You Desire" for me.  A few issues that detracted from the story included some editing problems (maybe will be fixed for the paperback...) especially a time line difference between the two novels.  To be honest "The Other Guy's Bride" felt really modern, which translates to anachronistic for many readers, and I have a pretty high tolerance for such dialogue and actions, so those history buffs will just hate it!  My biggest issue lies with the heroine, who was kind of spoiled and bratty at times - supposedly concerned with living up to her brilliant Egyptologist populated family, then realizes her dreams don't have to match theirs, but the epilogue really only shows the hero's dreams...
It should be noted that the hero was perfectly lovely.

All in all, I'm not unhappy that I purchased this novel, I think it might deserve an undisturbed re-reading,  but instead I am re-reading "As You Desire" and it feels like meeting old friends.  

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Lisa Mondello - 2000

I enjoyed this holiday story, but not as much as I enjoy this song...