I’m going to have such a tough time telling you why I like this book so much.
This is my second Fake Relationship Romance Novels in recent days. Jackie Lau’s A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year handled the trope well with friends who agree to be in a short term fake relationship for the sake of familial peace. It was well executed and well plotted and I happily gave it three stars. This one shares a trope, and that’s about where the comparison ends.
I should mention that this book is a 4.5 for me, easily.
Clayborn has really impressed me with her dexterity with this one, and I was quite pleased with Beginner’s Luck and how Clayborn wasn’t afraid of complexity so I was inclined to trust her with the premise of Luck of the Draw. Winning the lottery gave Zoe Ferris the freedom to quit her job as a corporate attorney, but it didn’t clear her conscience about the way her firm earned its money. After spending months hiding behind her lottery night pledge to use her winnings for an adventure Zoe finally allows herself to put name to what she is feeling – a soul deep guilt that she desperately wants to put right. She writes down all the things she feels guilty about and put them in a jar (okay, really a vase) and pulls one out at random to make right.
Which leads her to Aiden O’Leary who is so deep in his own guilt and grieving that he isn’t interested in Zoe or her apology. But when she faints in his driveway his paramedic training kicks in and he is forced to interact with her and despite his desire to be rid of her, he finds himself asking Zoe to pretend to be his fake fiancée in order to help him secure the winning bid on the campground he wants to purchase as part of his brother’s legacy and the money that Zoe handled for the law firm in his brother’s wrongful death settlement.
That’s all in the first chapter. The *first* chapter. Clayborn then spends her time unspooling the nature of each’s guilt and grief, and their relationship to each other and the project that Aiden is undertaking. There are no easy answers, no magic forces from outside to make everything okay, just two people doing the work and deciding if they have it in themselves to be open, to be known, and to be loved. Aiden and Zoe are going to stay with me for a long time. I must now buy this book since the library will be expecting their copy back. I foresee many rereads in my future with this one.