Xeni is grieving the death of her Aunt Sable. At her aunt’s request, she has traveled from her home in Los Angeles to upstate New York to scatter her aunt’s ashes, clear out her house and attend the reading of the will. At the scattering of the ashes ceremony, a large Scotsman in a kilt shows up to play bagpipes. At the reading of the will, the same Scotsman shows up (sans bagpipes). Her aunt drops three bombs on Xeni, one I won’t share because it’s a spoiler, and two are in the back of book blurb. In order to take possession of the large and unexpected inheritance left to her, Xeni must temporarily marry the large Scotsman, Mason. Mason is also surprised by both the bequest he receives and the requirement to marry.
Amidst the grief, family drama, and business that goes along with a death, Xeni and Mason are careful and deliberate with each other. Aunt Sable has left them each with an admonition to give one another a chance.
I know what you said, but just take the money. Take care of her and let her take care of you.
While Xeni and Mason have no intention of staying married, they do take care of each other and choose to make their wedding a celebration. While they are forced into a legal relationship, they are not forced into intimacy. They choose to spend time together and they choose to have a sexual relationship. I loved that in this time of grief, turmoil and choices forced on them, they choose joy, vulnerability and consideration. Xeni is a soft read.
The romances I gravitate towards are the ones that expand the spectrum of who gets a happily ever after. Rebekah Weatherspoon puts confident but vulnerable black women on the page, and in the books of her that I have read, pairs them with gentle men who don’t quite fit the strict code of American masculinity. Mason is a big, burly bisexual man with a big soft stomach. Weatherspoon tweeted this picture and said, this is Mason.
As soft and considerate as the characters are, the sex is dirty and steamy. I don’t want to get too much into the sex, because that gets into spoilers. But I will say that I really appreciate this recent trend I’ve seen of sex toys being romantic gestures.