Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Madaris Bride for Christmas (Madaris Family & Friends #19) by Brenda Jackson

    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Contemporary Romance/Christmas
    Format: Paperback; 320 pages
    Publisher: Harlequin Kimani Arabesque (October 29, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 0373091435
    ISBN-13: 978-0373091430
    Author's Website: http://www.brendajackson.net/
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher.

Just days before Carly Briggs was to move to Las Vegas she witnessed a murder, or rather, she overheard one. After reporting what she'd overheard to a tip line and seeing nothing in the paper nor having found any trace of foul play in the alley where the murder went down, she'd decided perhaps her coworkers were right and instead of fainting she'd just fallen asleep and dreamed it all. As time went on, she thought less about that night, but she's about to learn what happens in Vegas may stay there, but what happens outside of Vegas seldom does...

Lee Madaris loves his Great-Grandmother whom he fondly refers to as Mama Laverne, but he's not about to let her pick out his wife. The scheming old matchmaker has an uncanny knack for pairing couples together and Lee is not the type to let anyone have a say in his destiny but himself. He's determine to thwart her by finding his own match. When he sees Carly dancing by herself on a balcony of the Grand MD Vegas Hotel, he's instantly attracted to her. Upon meeting her and introducing himself, he's even more so. That's when a plan begins to form. He decides to make Carly a proposal. Will she say yes when he lays his cards on the table? She, like Lee, isn't the type to settle. She wants it all or nothing, but some would say love is a gamble-- a high stakes game of chance. Will she fold, let it ride or raise the stakes? One things for sure, in Vegas anything can happen.

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This is the nineteenth book in the Madaris Family & Friends series. I had not read any of the previous books, but I didn't feel lost and was drawn right into the story. Mama Laverne is such a fun background character and I will have to read some of the earlier books to find out more about her. I love meddlesome mothers and grandmothers who have nothing but the best interest of their sons or grandsons at heart. Mama Laverne, however, with her uncanny knack for matchmaking made me smile and made an already enchanting story even more so.

Ms. Jackson immediately hooks us right into the story from the very first page. Carly witnesses a murder and we know it has to have some significance later. As the story unfolds, I kept wondering how and when the murder would come into play. I enjoyed how the author threw us breadcrumbs along the way so we'd get an idea of  what was going on and how things would come together.

Carly was very likable. She knows her self worth and won't settle for less than she deserves. She hasn't had a life filled with rainbows and butterflies, but hasn't let the hard knocks keep her down. When Lee first comes across her dancing by herself on a balcony images of  Sleeping Beauty singing and dancing to the tune of Once Upon a Dream danced through my head. I loved how even though the proposal Lee offered her was tempting, she stuck to her principles and didn't just jump at the chance to marry the good looking rich man who seemed to be all a woman could want. I liked that she wanted to make sure they'd make a good match before she decided anything.

Lee Madaris is the kind of man who sets out after something and proceeds to get it. He's part owner of a successful chain of hotels, The Grand MD (short for Madaris-Di Meglio), and has put off having a serious relationship while he put his heart and soul into creating a solid business. When he sees Carly and then meets her, he's enchanted and can't seem to get her off his mind. She seems like the perfect woman for him and just like he approaches any of his business ventures, he approaches Carly about a merger of an intimate nature--marriage. Not the most romantic of proposals, but it sure makes for a fun story.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was fun lighthearted read with a little drama thrown into the mix. There were several layers to the story and it kept a nice pace. I loved all the secondary friends and family members who came to the aid of Lee and Carly when they needed them. We should all be so lucky. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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