Tag Team Review: Love Happens Anyway by R.J. Scott

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what can go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

Most everyone loves the fake boyfriend trope and I am right there with them. It can go sideways quickly for me if there is too much angst overshadowing the potential happy, but Love Happens Anyway gave the perfect balance of both characters so there was no overwhelming worry about one of them getting all ridiculous and threatening the HEA I need.

The story is told in dual POV and I honestly don’t think the result would have been nearly as successful without it. Derek is not the most likable character and if I hadn’t had insight into his inner workings and just saw everything from Luke’s view I wouldn’t have been as satisfied with the relationship because I LOVED Luke and would have wanted better for him. I did have a view into Derek though and I appreciated how the author made his dramatics all his. There was no tragic backstory, just a regular loving family (albeit, they were rich as hell) with some dynamics that needed some . . . tweaking (due to the richness) to be able to communicate and really be happy, letting Derek own his confidence for the first time in his life.

So, Derek has some hang-ups that lead him to believe he needs a fake boyfriend for the holidays and Luke is in need of cash and knows a guy, and the two of them come to an agreement to get both of them what they need. Luke is a pretty stoic guy, but Derek’s somewhat fussy personality pushes all his buttons and it’s obvious when he starts to fall for Derek. Luke is everything that Derek fantasized about personified so when they inevitably started getting to know one another by bits and pieces I ate up every little breakthrough.

When the UST is finally resolved Derek opened up pretty quickly and again, without having his POV throughout, it would have been too jarring to be believable, but knowing this was what he wanted all along, it worked. They still had a ways to go to get to an HEA, but the bathtub scene alone is worth the journey.

Family is very important to both MC’s throughout and after all the revelations, the guys wanted to come clean to their families about how they met, etc. I’m glad the author made that a point to cover, it rang true for both Luke and Derek, especially with the epiphany that Derek came to with his family about their own dynamics.

Once you read the story, the cover makes complete sense and it’s really just too sweet for words. I loved how Luke and Derek appreciated each other and Derek really needed that appreciation from someone he loved and the snowman is such the adorable embodiment of that. For all that love Christmas stories and the bonus fake boyfriend theme, this is the perfect holiday story.

This story is as cute as its cover suggests it will be. I agree though, the cover isn't your typical cover from this genre, but I like that and it makes complete sense by the end of the book.

Everyone loves a fake boyfriend trope - don't they? There is something endlessly sweet about knowing they are pretending but that it's going to turn real by the end of the book (I mean what kind of story would it be if it didn't turn real?) . As long as the twists and turns aren't forced angst then you know it's going to be a lovely read, and with an author as talented as RJ Scott there is no worries about cheap-author tactics.

Luke is a great MC, and though Derek is perhaps not so likeable at first glance, Derek suits him; they work well together. There is a dynamic between them that just draws you in.

This is an enjoyable story, one that can be read and loved anytime of the year. This book is not just for Christmas! I recommended it! 

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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