Title: Weekend Agreement
Author: Barbara Wallace
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
Cynical billionaire Daniel Moretti works hard, plays harder, and has one ironclad rule. Never trust a woman. Bad news for historian Charlotte Doherty who shows up at exactly the wrong time. Like every other woman in Daniel’s life, Charlotte wants something from him–the deed to her family farm. Daniel agrees, but only if he gets something in return: Charlotte’s company for the weekend!
The property is Charlotte’s only link to the mother she never knew. Desperate to keep her history alive, she’ll accept Daniel’s indecent proposal, but not without a few terms of her own. Namely, a propriety clause. No flirting. No kissing. No sex.
Daniel has no intention of honoring her conditions, but after one weekend with Charlotte leaves him hungering for more, he can’t help wondering if she could be the exception to his unbreakable rule…
When I picked up Weekend Agreement, I was in the mood for something fast, that didn’t require a lot of brain power. That’s exactly what I got. As long as I didn’t try to overanalyze the plot, I enjoyed my time spent with Daniel and Charlotte. Once I started to question some of the story threads or comments made by the characters, I was jarred right out of the book, though.
Charlotte has discovered, much to her dismay, that her brother has sold the family farm to Daniel Moretti, a billionaire businessman who has plans to develop the land and make himself even more money. Charlotte is desperate to buy the house on the property back, because she feels that it is the last connection she has to her mother. After being abandoned by her mother when she was a child, Charlotte has struggled to understand why her mother would leave both her and her brother. When she was killed in a car accident, any hope of a reconciliation was lost forever. Instead, all Charlotte has to remember her mother is the house that was in her family for generations. Reluctant to let this last piece of her mother go, Charlotte agrees to act as Daniel’s escort to a weekend party in return for the opportunity to repurchase the house from him.
Daniel is shouldering a lot of emotional baggage as well. His mother is only interested in climbing higher on the social ladder, and she doesn’t hesitate to use Daniel’s notoriety to launch herself up a few more steps. Unable to trust anyone, Daniel has only allowed himself to be in meaningless relationships with socialites, careful to keep himself emotionally distant, and, in his mind, safe from messy romantic entanglements. He is immediately suspicious of Charlotte and her motivation behind offering to buy back the house. Since his current arm candy has been seen hooking up with a director, though, he is in need of a companion to attend his parent’s anniversary party. He makes a deal with Charlotte; if she goes with him for the weekend, he’ll sell the house back to her for what he paid for it. After demanding a propriety clause be included, Charlotte agrees, despite her misgivings.
I’ll share a secret with you. I don’t usually read the synopsis before I decide to read a category romance. I have been reading them for years (decades, to be honest), and other than a few tropes that I don’t care for (pregnancy being the main offender for me), I don’t really read these stories for the plot. I read them as an escape from reality, so I can kick back for a few hours and forget about things like paying my mortgage, the rising cost of groceries, and all of the other stresses of life. I like the disconnect from my daily worries, and if I happen to connect with the characters, so much the better. These are brain candy, and even after reading hundreds of them, I can never get enough of them.
I wasn’t able to completely disconnect from real life for a couple of reasons. They weren’t deal killers, but they jarred me out of the story. Daniel suffers from extreme motion sickness. So do I. If I’m not driving, I become nauseated during car rides. When I was a young child, I remember vomiting in plastic bags during trips in the car. It was mortifying. Then I was given Dramamine, and didn’t get sick anymore. I went on a vacation on a small cabin cruiser when I was an older teen, relying on a patch to keep my sea sickness at bay. Even in rough waters, I did not feel sick. So I wondered why Daniel, billionaire businessman, didn’t go to the doctor and get a prescription for motion sickness medication. It had no side-effects, and I was able to enjoy my vacation. This attempt to give Daniel a chink in his tough outer shell did not work for me. At all. When he was suffering from motion sickness, I just wanted to yell, ‘Take a freaking pill! They even have non-drowsy formula now!”
Daniel’s dysfunctional family is one-dimensional, too. Their sole purpose is to stir up discord between Daniel and Charlotte, or in the case of Daniel’s drunken brother, to throw them together. His mother is worthy of being the star villainess of a soap opera, as she only thinks of herself and her youngest son, Cole. Daniel is only tolerated because of his deep pockets and his ability to fund Cole’s half-hearted attempts at making his own fortune. When Charlotte, a history professor, shows up on Daniel’s arm, his mother is not pleased. She doesn’t hold much regard for Charlotte, her career, or the book she has published. His mother had been expecting his previous squeeze, an up and coming actress, to attend, and had even arranged for a magazine to come out for a photo shoot of the proceedings. Charlotte is a nobody whose presence at her party won’t add any glamour to the event. A master manipulator, Vivian is scornful and dismissive of Charlotte. Needless to say, their relationship starts off on the wrong foot and only gets rockier as the story continues. Vivian is one of those characters you love to hate, and I wish she had been given a little more depth so that she could have been even more love to dislike.
Despite a few misgivings about Weekend Agreement, I really could not put it down. I gobbled it up in just a few reading sessions. If you enjoy series romance, you will enjoy this read. Just switch on over to auto-pilot first, for a more fulfilling reading experience.
Grade: Waffling between a B and a B-
Review copy provided by publisher