ARC-review: YOURS TO KEEP by Shannon Stacey

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…


Title: YOURS TO KEEP
Author: Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2011, June 6
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC from author for review

First line:
“Still as ugly as ever, I see.”
Memorable Scenes:
- the practice kiss > like Sean said: not bad for a practice kiss…
- Sean’s sticky notes to Emma > so cute
- magic penis > *grins incessantly* and you’ll have to read the book to know why
- the post scrabble sexy scene > wow, I think I need to dust off our scrabble game

Sean Kowalski is looking for a place to call home and another purpose in life then serving his country. He’s a straight-shooter, direct and blunt, reliable and levelheaded.

Emma Shaw is a landscaper. A friend of Lisa’s (Mike’s wife), she belongs to the Kowalski’s circle of friends. She’s a tough chick with a soft heart and little bit of a control freak. She’s also smart, quick-witted and dependable. I found her endearing in her love and concern for her Gram’s wellbeing/happiness.

Emma needs a fake fiancé to convince her visiting grandmother she’s doing fine by herself. But Gram isn’t dense and figures out fairly quickly Emma and Sean are trying to pull the wool over her eyes. And that’s when the fun starts…

I really loved the romance in this Kowalski book (Ehm…not that I didn’t love it in the previous ones too…). Emma and Sean’s bickering and bantering was just awesome and I liked how Sean kept calling Emma ‘Lady’ in the beginning. Witnessing them getting to know each other and finding out things about each other and seeing the spark of attraction catch fire and turning into a full blaze, was a joy to read and made this book another keeper on my Contemporary Romance shelf.

There are erotic romance authors who can’t hold a candle to the love scenes Shannon Stacey writes. Without any obvious explicitness or crude language she paints some of the best sexy and arousing scenes I’ve read.

What I also adored about this book is that entire bunch of Kowalski family members. They complete every story in this series and I loved reading about how the previous 2 couples were doing and the additions to the family. The family dynamics are so brilliantly written as they tease, scold and support each other through everything.

And once again Shannon Stacey treated me to a sweet and lovely secondary romance. I wasn’t expecting it but it fitted right into the main storyline and I’m glad she included it as it completes and underlines the family feel of this series. Secretly (okay, not so secretly…) I hope there will be more Kowalski books. There must be as they’ve become an addiction within my addiction.

I think I’ve said this before but I love Shannon Stacey’s dialogues. They flow, they entertain, they inform and they show so much of her characters’ personalities. The humor, wit, banter gets to me every single time. Every book in this series has put a big grin on my face and made me feel good. Some things did more than put a smile on my face and just cracked me up. For example the references (even by herself) to Mary’s wooden spoon and the wedding box from Emma’s early teen years. To incorporate humor in contemporary romance without giving it a slapstick feel is very hard and Shannon Stacey masters this perfectly.

I don’t know how Shannon Stacey does it but she does it. I was breezing through the wit, the banter and the heat, even thinking to myself this Kowalski book wasn’t as emotionally intense as the previous two were and then BAM! She hit me with the emotions that made me tear up and swallow the lumps in my throat. And yet again she made me laugh through my tears. Well played, Ms Stacey, well played!

Since I don’t like being told what to do I don’t like to order other people around either but seriously, if you love contemporary romance I strongly urge you to get cracking on Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family series. They’re too fabulous to be missing in your book collection. I don’t say this easily as there are always readers to prove me wrong and tastes vary but I dare you to read this series and not love it.

Favorite Quotes:
His expression implied he was afraid she was some crazy woman who’d gone off her meds and was going to start speaking in tongues or show him the handmade Sean doll she’d crafted to sleep with.

When he rested his hand at her waist for a few seconds before sliding it around to the small of her back, she felt her muscles tense and her cheeks burn.
“You can’t be doing that,” he said in the same low, husky kind of voice a man would use to tell a woman he wanted to take off her clothes.
Her mind was frozen, all of her attention on that warm pressure against her T-shirt, and it took a few seconds to form a coherent sentence. “Doing what?”
“You’re as jumpy as a virgin at a frat party.”

She started in on him the second he crossed the threshold from the living room. “I was wrong about you all these years. I always thought you were a smart boy, but you don’t have the brains God gave a jackass.”
“Aunt Mary, I—”
“Don’t you Aunt Mary me, Sean Michael Kowalski. I should go get my wooden spoon and thunk some sense into that thick head of yours.”

Going to work tomorrow would be a good thing, he thought. Even though he’d be alone with her, a little physical labor would do his body good. Maybe if he tired himself out, he could sleep through the night without his dick trying to lead the way to her like some kind of damn dowsing rod.

She snorted and looked out her window. “Oh yes, Sean Kowalski. Your amazing kisses have made all rational thought fly out of my besotted brain. If only you could fill me with your magic penis, I know we’ll fall madly in love and live happily ever after.”
The truck jerked and she glanced over to find him glaring at her. “Don’t ever say that again.”
“What? The madly in love or the happily ever after?”
“My penis isn’t magic.” His tone was grumpy, but then he smiled at the windshield. “It does tricks, though.”
“The only trick your penis needs to know for the next three and a half weeks is down boy.”

Instead of heading straight for the huddle, Sean walked to Emma and pulled her into his arms for a hard, almost punishing caveman kiss that made her skin sizzle and her knees go wobbly. Then he glared at his brother for a few long seconds and went back to his team, leaving Emma standing there breathless and discombobulated.

“Don’t give me that look.”
“What, the you’re being an ass look? Don’t be an ass and I won’t give you the look.”

“I fell in love with him.”
“Oh. Oh, shit.” Lisa shook her head. “Kowalski men do that. They show up in your life and drive you so insane you want to slap them upside the head and then—bam—all of a sudden you can’t live without them.”

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7 thoughts on “ARC-review: YOURS TO KEEP by Shannon Stacey

  1. I loved it as well! The magic penis thing had me laughing my ass off. lolSuch a great series and I adore Stacey's writing.Thanks for the great review.

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