- Falling for Her Fiance (2013)
- Act Like You Love Me (2013)
- An Officer & a Rebel (2014)
- Resisting the Hero (2014)
Madsen has been on my radar for a while, but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to any of her books before. I’m always a sucker for a fake relationship trope, so this series seemed like a fun place to start.
In the first book, Dani and Wes have been best friends since college and decide to be fake-engaged for a variety of reasons. There was all of the fun that usually surrounds this type of scheme, and the main characters were overall super likable. My biggest issue was that both of them had had serious relationships with other people in the past, but part of the reason that those relationships didn’t work out was because the exes didn’t like the close friendship between Dani and Wes, both of whom acted like that was super ridiculous since they were “just friends.” And just… (a) if my husband had a female friend that he’d known longer than me and that he spent hours talking to on the phone every week, I would not be comfortable with it, so I don’t feel like that’s an absurd thing to raise objections in a relationship and (b) the exes were right! Deep down Wes and Dani really were in love, but they never acknowledge that, instead acting like the exes were just soooo clingy and jealous! It really got on my nerves whenever they would bring it up. But for all that, the overall story was honestly good fun and an easy 3.5* read.
In Act Like You Love Me, Brynn used to be the awkward “ugly” girl in high school, so when her crush not only moves back into town, but ends up being the director for the community play she’s in, she’s quite nervous about what he’ll think of her – except Sawyer doesn’t even recognize her! Instead, he mistakenly assumes that she’s a spoiled actress here for some R&R – and Brynn lets him think it. Even though this was overall relaxing fluff, I’m never a huge fan of a story where lying is the central drama. There were multiple times when a simple conversation could have cleared up some big misunderstandings, and it just doesn’t happen when it should. 3* because I wanted to shake both these characters several times. PS, asking someone to move in with you is not a romantic ending.
An Officer and a Rebel is actually a novella, so this was an even faster read than the main books. It’s Christmastime and Kelsey is driving to Kentucky to visit her mother, but decides to take a side detour to the town where she lived in high school. Unfortunately, a snowstorm makes the roads treacherous, and she slides into a ditch, only to be rescued by her ex-boyfriend’s starchy older brother, Nate. Because of the bad weather, Nate takes Kelsey home and they end up snowed in together. Nate’s always had a thing for Kelsey but doesn’t want to make a move on his brother’s ex – plus, he’s a police officer and Kelsey has always been a bit… free-spirited. This was a fast read and pretty fun even if there wasn’t a lot of depth.
The final book in the series was pretty much in line with the others. Faith’s father, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty when she was growing up. Her brother is a police officer now and has recently joined the SWAT team, meaning he’ll be in even more potentially dangerous situations. Faith lays the blame for his decision at the feet of her brother’s best friend/fellow officer Connor, and is pretty salty whenever he’s around. Even when sparks fly between them, she’s determined to resist them because she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with a cop. Like the others, fun and fluffy and ultimately pretty forgettable.
Overall, I enjoyed this series enough to check out some more of Madsen’s books, but I don’t really see myself returning to these again and again. They were fun as one-off reads, all in the 3.5* zone, but didn’t really hit me as instant classics.