Call Me Crazy, an all-new enemies to lovers standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is available now!
It was the perfect plan.
I needed a wife–temporarily–in order to inherit the family business.
And she needed a favor–the kind that takes nine months to deliver.
We had it all worked out, from the no-touching policy on our wedding night (her rule) to the no-falling-in-love decree (mine). She’d marry me, I’d give her the means to have the baby she’d always wanted, and one year later we’d amicably part ways with no hassle, no demands, and certainly no regrets.
After all, Bianca DeRossi and I are experts at infuriating one another–we’ve been doing it since we were kids. Trouble is, she grew up gorgeous and feisty, and she still knows exactly how to get under my skin.
And that wedding night? Well, it doesn’t exactly go down hands-free.
Then she moves in with me, and I really start to lose my mind. From her sexy little pout to her wicked sense of humor to those meatball sandwiches she makes just because she knows they’re my favorite . . . I find myself wanting to break every rule we put in place.
Our story was never supposed to end with happily ever after.
But call me crazy, I just might be in love with my wife.
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“So how’s your ego tonight? A little bruised, huh?”
“It’s fine,” I said, tightening the knot in my tie. “Reina obviously wasn’t the right choice for a wife. I’m glad she said no.”
Bianca started to choke on her olive. “Wait a minute.” She fanned her face and managed to swallow. “You proposed to—to—what was the little girl’s name?”
“Reina. And you’ve got no room to call someone little, Tiny.”
As I’d hoped, the old nickname drew a brief scowl from her. “We’re talking about you right now. Did you actually propose tonight? Like with a ring?”
I exhaled, regretting I’d mentioned it. “Yeah. I did.”
Her eyes lit up. “Let me see it.”
“Because you just want to rub salt in my wound.”
“For fuck’s sake, Enzo. You’re not wounded. You don’t even love this girl, you just needed to put a ring on her finger so your dad would put your name on the company letterhead.” She held out her hand. “Now give it here.”
Something told me I was going to be sorry, but I reached into my jacket and pulled out the ring box.
She took it from me and opened it up. “It’s pretty,” she said with grudging admiration. Then she squinted at it, pushing her glasses up her nose. “Did you have it engraved?”
I picked up my bourbon and took a hefty swallow. “No.”
“But it says . . .” She set the box down and pulled the ring from the velvet to examine it closer. Then she started laughing. “‘Love Always, Ricky?’”
“Give me that.” Leaning forward, I tried to swipe the ring from her hand, but she held it out of my reach.
“Just a second! I want to try it on.”
I thumped against the back of the booth, picking up my drink again and tossing back the rest of it. Could this night get any worse?
Bianca slipped the ring on her finger—it fit—and held out her hand, studying it. “So what did you say?”
“But how? Like, did you say, ‘You’re the love of my life and I want to be with you forever’ kind of thing?
”“Uh, not exactly. I didn’t want to lie to her. I just, you know, gave her the ring.” I made a grand, sweeping gesture with one hand.
“But you must have said something.”
“What difference does it make?” I asked irritably.
“Look, I’m only trying to help you. You obviously blew it tonight, and by your own admission, you need to find a Lucy for your Ricky sooner rather than later, right?”
I looked around for Lara. I needed another drink. And then a ride home.
“Right?” Bianca prodded me with her foot under the table again. “So let me help you.”
“The only way you could help me is to marry me,” I grumbled, waving Lara over. “And since that’s out of the question, this discussion is over.”
“Well, wait a minute. Who said it’s out of the question?”
I stared at her like she’d sprouted horns. “Huh?”
Bianca continued to study the ring on her finger. “I’m just thinking out loud here. But it seems to me we each have a goal, and they could both be accomplished with one simple—fake—relationship.”
I shook my head, as if to clear it, but the fog remained. “I know I’m drunk, but what the hell are you talking about?”
She sighed and picked up her martini for a sip. “I’m talking about the fact that you need a wife to get what you want. I’m willing to be that wife—temporarily, and under the strictest of conditions—if you’ll agree to give me what I want.”
I shook my head. “Oh, no. No fucking way. I see what you’re doing here. I’m not paying you to fake being my wife.”
Bianca rolled her eyes. “Give me a break, Enzo. I don’t want your money. Nor do I need it.”
“Then I don’t understand, ”I said, feeling—once again—completely baffled by a woman. “What could you possibly want that I could give you?”
The smile that crept over those hellfire lips should have been a warning. “A baby.”
USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Schitt’s Creek, Homeland, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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*** ARC KINDLY PROVIDED IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ***
Marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes, add two people who have known each other for so long, hating each other’s guts and of course being the one having the last word.
When Enzo and Bianca decided to marry in order to help each other’s situation, in their head it sounded like a great deal but on the outside it was like a recipe for disaster, especially with their hearts. There were just the only ones clueless about it.
I enjoyed their banter, between flirt and sarcastic with a strong hint of sexual tension in the between. Well, what sounded like a business transaction in the beginning turned quickly into something more.
I was really curious about the turning events and how they would work this arrangement without putting their hearts on the line. I appreciated how easy and natural it was between, this connection they couldn’t ignore.
As you might guess, everyone wanted to respect their part of the deal and quit when it’s done.
But still they would learn very fast and it would be very difficult. When lines were blurred and acts spoke louder than words, heartbreak would be their ending.
The back and forth and banter were entertaining for sure. Going from frustrating to freaking cute! There were some interesting parts and endearing characters but somehow in the middle, I felt like Enzo and Bianca’s issues were dragged out but the ending were definitely more intense and emotional. Just happy to see them having their happily ever after, without any pretense.
Fun, cute and charming! This small town has finally paired another couple! Can’t wait for the next one!