A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker- Feature and Review


Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. 

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.

Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.


MY REVIEW: Black Tie Optional (Wild Wedding, #1)Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Black tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

This fast-paced, quick-witted romantic comedy is an ‘enemies to lovers’ themed story, with a side of opposites attracts.

Oliva is a humanitarian, hippie-ish, organic, animal lover, who is hounding the obnoxious, but very wealthy, Coleman Grant, about saving an endangered species.

The pair mixes like bleach and ammonia, sending toxic fumes into the air every time they meet. But, neither one of them are blind and secretly acknowledge, to themselves, a grudging attraction to the other.

But, when Oliva heads to Vegas for a girl’s night out, she drunkenly ends up in Coleman’s bed. The next morning, nursing a painful hangover all she wants is to make a hasty, albeit humiliating exit, but Cole surprises her with a little proposition.

Cole’s father left an odd codicil in his will, and it is apparently etched in stone. His grandmother is hoping Cole won't be able to find a bride in the allotted time frame, so that she can control his money.

Desperate to save all that he has spent his adult life working to achieve, Cole strikes a bargain with Olivia.

If she marries him, he will do whatever she asked to help her endangered species. Once the will is settled, his company is safe and securely in his hands, they can go their separate ways…. If they don’t kill each other first.

I haven’t read a romantic comedy like this one in a very long time, and after reading some serious, heavy, and dark material, I was ready for something fun.

Opposites attract, enemies to lovers, and pretend marriages have been covered six ways to Sunday, and this story doesn’t necessarily introduce anything all that unique or original to those tropes, per se, but the lightning fast pacing, the sharp wit and dialogue, the laugh out loud funny predicaments, topped off by the sizzling hot chemistry between the main characters, kept the story from falling prey to the dangers of predictability.

I did appreciate the level of intimacy, which stayed inside my comfort zone, and the character growth that developed in the midst of this zany, madcap, scheme.

At the end of the day, sometimes the most important thing is how entertained I was, how much fun I had reading the book, and if, by the last paragraph, I have come away with a smile on my face or find myself in better spirits.

That’s a pretty tall order these days, for me, but this story managed to pull it off, giving me a slight reprieve from life’s stresses, and if you can pull that off, you deserve a round of applause and have my sincere thanks.





Ann Marie Walker writes steamy contemporary romance. She is the author of the Wild Wedding series from St. Martin's Press and co-author of the Chasing Fire series (Remind Me, Release Me, Reclaim Me, Embrace Me) from Penguin Books. You can find her on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker or via her website www.AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to chat about alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel David Gandy.

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