Emmaline Neal is one of three police officers in the tiny town of Manningsport, New York. She’s a tough, no-nonsense woman who knows her way around a Taser, but she’s also dealing with the fallout of a broken heart. Her first love is about to marry the shrew he dumped Emmaline for — and even worse, he’s invited her to the wedding! Emmaline knows she can’t go alone, so she reluctantly asks Jack Holland to be her date. Jack is friendly, popular, and drop-dead gorgeous, and he can’t say no to a damsel in distress. Em is aware that she’s definitely not Jack’s type, so she’s determined to keep her distance. But after a little wedding-related humiliation and a few glasses of wine, her practical resolutions fly out the window. After one amazing night together, Em tries to fight her growing feelings for Jack — even though he actually seems to be interested in her, too. But Jack is dealing with his own problems, including the sudden reappearance of his dainty ex-wife, who is not-so-subtly trying to get him back. Will Jack and Em be able to overcome their respective pasts and finally find happiness together?
As a Kristan Higgins fan, I’ve been reading and enjoying each new book that comes out, but I have to say that this is definitely my favorite of her recent books! Jack and Em both feel like real people to me, and they each have very specific baggage that prevents them from immediately falling into each other’s arms. I also — contrary to my expectation! — really liked the presence of the Evil Ex in this book. Having an ex-lover resurface is often a tedious, contrived obstacle to keep the hero and heroine apart; but in this book, the presence of Jack’s ex illuminates certain aspects of his character that show why he works with Emmaline. Here, the Evil Ex isn’t actually evil, but she is very needy and can be selfish. By contrast, Jack and Em are both giving people who are willing to sacrifice a lot for the people they love. I do have a few issues with the ending of the book, though; everything seems to work out a little too perfectly. For example, even Emmaline’s ex is redeemed in the end, which I don’t think was necessary. But even despite the magically perfect ending, I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance!