The One I Want is a light, fun, contemporary romance. I found myself smiling as I read it, and was enchanted with every character in the book.
The author intertwines the romances of three couples, the primary being that of Chloe Flynt and Matthew Tanner. At the start of the book, Chloe appears to be a spoiled socialite, unable to commit to anything or anyone. She abandons her latest whim - painting in Tuscany - to return to her wealthy family and friends in London. Much to Chloe's surprise, her father refuses to bankroll any more of Chloe's escapades. It's time for her to stand on her own.
This set-up makes Chloe appear to be completely self-indulgent, without a brain in her head. However, we quickly discover that she is much more intelligent than she appears, with a very kind soul. She also has some skills that may actually be marketable. With the help of her friends, Chloe concludes that the two things she is best at are breaking up with men and helping her friends end their relationships so that no one is ever unhappy. Out of this discovery comes the idea for The Breakup Artist, her new business.
In rapid progression, Chloe moves to Austin, Texas and rents a home owned by her new next-door neighbor, hunky ex-cop Matthew Tanner. Chloe is attracted to Matthew, but, since he's seemingly engaged to someone else, attempts to keep her distance. Matthew thinks she's up to no good, so Chloe toys with him by not telling him the nature of her business. This makes for some very funny scenes, as Matthew – with way too much time on his hands – follows Chloe to figure out just what it is she's doing in Austin.
Chloe quickly develops brochures, business cards, and a website, and recruits clients in Austin salons and spas. She also observes couples in coffee shops and malls, in search of unhappy relationships. One day she observes a young couple at the food court in the mall. Chloe approaches the woman, who becomes Chloe's new assistant. The young woman has a taste for bad boys and develops a relationship with Matthew's friend and former partner. One of Chloe's clients and his partner and lover are the third couple featured in the book.
Contemporary romance is my favorite romance subgenre, and this book represents a rather unique and interesting take. There wasn't a hint of mystery or suspense anywhere in the book and no SEALS, secret babies, or amnesia. The chapters flowed smoothly and logically from one romance to the next, as the six characters' lives entangle. If you're looking for a contemporary romance focused on just one couple, this will not be the book for you. But, if you're willing to take a chance on a romance featuring three different couples, you might be as enchanted as I was while reading it.
At the end, I found myself wishing for another 100 pages, just so that I could continue to enjoy these delightful characters. This is the first book I've read by the author, and I had no idea what to expect. So, while it wasn't the book I wanted initially, it proved to be exactly what I needed to lift me out of a mild reading slump. I am definitely going to explore the author's backlist.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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