Jaded-by-love Amara Hart owns a retro-style gaming arcade in the local shopping mall that is bustling full of people who’d rather play Pac-Man than have a candlelit dinner with the charming Casanova store owner next door. Despite her cynicism toward anything roses, Amara finds herself agreeing to help Valentino Rossi when his store is robbed a few days shy of Valentine’s Day—his biggest annual moneymaker.
Valentino believes in endless love and has made it his mission in life to help others express that love through romance and custom-made jewelry. Silly little love songs are what make him get out of bed in the morning, and meeting the anti-Valentine Amara has thrown him for a loop. Determined to prove love me tender is more than a retro ballad, Valentino sets out to give Amara a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget.
As Amara feels her rough edges begin to soften, she begins to wonder what would happen if she asked the man next door to…be mine, Valentino.
What a super fun read! I was really in the mood for lovely sweet romance and this gave me exactly what I was looking for. I gave this book 4 stars because I just really enjoyed it and can see me reading more books by this author as this was so delightful and quite an innocent little romance.
I honestly think that grumpy sunshine romances may be my new favourite trope and this book gave me that. Val was a Casanova who had been linked to various women within the shopping mall, he was almost arrogant and definitely standoffish. Mara was whimsical, friendly, and chirpy. They seemed like such an unusual pairing but they really brought out the best in each other. Despite this being a novella, the main characters of Mara and Val were full of layers. I was rooting for them from the beginning.
I really enjoyed the two main characters having to work together which let them get to know each other. They were thrown together as they had to work overnight security at the mall…I only know of the shopping centres we have in Scotland but they tend to have security staff. Especially the big ones but I didn’t mind that this was perhaps a little unrealistic because the setting of the mall was very enjoyable. I love the shop names – Barber Streisand, Tequila Mockingbird, Son of a Bun Bakery. Plus the mall had an arcade and a cheese based food truck…it sounded dreamy!
The epilogue me happy cry because that’s what I hoped would happen. I thought this was a nice addition to the story as it still would have worked without the epilogue but it made me so very happy. I am such a sucker for a happy ending and with romance stories, I expect them and this really did leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. It wasn’t realistic at all but that’s ok!
This book just made me so happy! I smiled throughout the whole book and am very glad that I read it. For full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m now almost up to date with my ARCs, like a lot of people I’ve spoken to, I requested way more than I had budgeted time for and now I feel really behind. This book comes out on 11 February 2022 so I’m super pleased with myself for finishing this gem before it comes out.