I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
You can also find me on my main blog.
This is a probably a case of "it's not the book, it's me". YMMV.
This wasn't one of my favorites in this series, and I'll tell you why. The arranged-marriage/marriage-of-convenience/fake marriage trope - I like that a lot, and while that part of the story worked just fine (I bought the reason for this 'green card' marriage completely), the two MCs were lackluster and somewhat one-dimensional, and I didn't for the longest time think that there was an actual romantic relationship.
Ondrej was mostly cold and somewhat rude, while Archie was flailing without directive and failing miserably to make things work. Their initial arrangement was believable, as was how they acted toward each other, but there was a consistent undertone from Archie's side that he was way more invested in Ondrej than vice versa. And since we didn't have any explanation for this undertone for most of the book, it left me puzzled. And if it was love at first sight for Archie, his hesitation in stating as much left me thinking he was younger emotionally than his actual age.
When there is little chemistry or connection between the MCs, their romance just falls flat. I was somewhat disappointed with the portrayal of the characters, to be honest. I expected more, based on the blurb.
Outside of the fake-marriage plot, there's a subplot involving Archie's company, and an exec who's trying to oust him. Clearly, Archie has his hands full, but he's also reluctant to allow Ondrej to help him. In addition to the business issue, they have to deal with an Immigration Services agent, who wants to poke holes into their story, and a gossip columnist who's spreading rumors about their fake marriage as well. Ondrej doesn't not want to return home to Prague, which was the explanation for his agreeing to Archie's proposal, but is standoffish for most of the book, and seems to want to misunderstand Archie's attempts at bringing them closer.
Bad assumptions are made on both sides, with lots of miscommunication, and in some cases complete failure to communicate - this also did nothing to endear the characters to me. I alternately felt sorry for Ondrej, and then didn't like him much for how he stayed aloof with Archie, and in the next chapter felt sorry for Archie, but then also wanted to throttle him for being stupid.
While both characters as a whole were likable enough, and while I could understand their reasons for the most part, I just never made a real connection with them here, which is too bad. That's one thing I need when reading a romance novel. I'm not hung up on needing on-screen sexy times, but I have to be able to "feel" the romance. I didn't get that here.
The title is also a little misleading - Archie has Greek roots, but other than his late father's investments in Greece that are impacted by a failing economy, there's really nothing much Greek about this book. Additionally, there is very little character development, and also little character growth throughout the book.
If it weren't for the fabulous HEA, which was completely in tune with the Harlequin-style novel I expected this to be, I probably would have rated this even lower. I would say that this book fits within the overall intent for the Dreamspun Desires series, so if you like the Harlequin-style romances, coupled with somewhat prickly and uncommunicative MCs, give this a try.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **