I was apprehensive about this book at first, since the blurb indicates that the hero and heroine have a one night stand after meeting at a wedding, then manage to build a relationship out of barely knowing each other. I was pleased to find that One Night Stand was more than just that, featuring well described, realistic, and dynamic characters.
Marcee Robbens is a CPA in a big Chicago firm. She’s a confident, attractive, self-possessed woman accustomed to getting what she wants. She does feel as if her job, and maybe even her life, are stagnant, but isn’t sure what to do about it. When she finds out that her teenage step-brother needs an adult to stay with him so he can finish his senior year at his small town high school, it works out well for Marcee to move back to the town she hasn’t seen for almost 15 years.
Sam McKelvey is a widowed police detective in Chicago. He's not quite sure how to reach his teenage daughter, so when he is offered a contract in a small town, he accepts, thinking the new lifestyle will allow him the two to bond.
Months earlier, Sam and Marcee had met and spent a wonderful night together. Each agreed that they were too busy to pursue anything more. But after thinking of each other frequently, it seems too good to be true that they are now next door neighbors in Ellwood and that the attraction between them remains. However, they are uncertain of each other’s feelings, and more importantly, neither wants to create an unsavory reputation for themselves in gossipy Ellwood. Sam and Marcee must sort out their feelings for each other while figuring out what they want for their future.
What I most enjoyed in reading One Night Stand was its light-hearted tone that also conveyed the characters’ deeper feelings and uncertainties. Sam is admirable as the loving father who is trying to do what is best for his daughter, and Marcee is brave to come back to a town she once hated to take care of a brother she barely knows. I especially liked the explanation for why Marcee is reluctant to take back up where she left off with Sam. Although she had gone into their one night stand with both eyes open, during the months afterward she reevaluated her own life and made some decisions about what she really wanted. A seminar for women during the intervening months helped her believe in her own value, and she continues to wear one of the popular rubber bracelets from it to help her remember her goals. Sam always acts the gentleman - even on the night they met he had been hesitant to sleep with Marcee knowing he couldn’t offer her more.
Marcee’s stepbrother Camden is more than the usual child in a romance novel. He’s often judged on his looks - he has facial piercings and wears baggy clothes - but he also plays in the youth symphony orchestra and is a good student. He’s an interesting character and isn’t just used as background.
Unfortunately, there were a few drawbacks to my enjoyment of the novel. The main one is that this read like a category romance forced into a longer, single title format. The story and conflict were drawn out more than they needed to be. I also wasn’t quite sure what size of a town Ellwood was meant to be. It had its own high school and a choice of breakfast places for after church on Sunday, but it also was small enough that people couldn’t even have a conversation without it causing gossip. The town was important enough to the story that I wanted a better description of it.
However, One Night Stand was quite good overall. I believed in the characters’ actions and feelings, and especially identified with Marcee and the decisions she made. I wanted to see the hero and heroine end up together, and I believed that they would be happy.
-- Jessica Langlois
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