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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Husband Material by Annette M. Irby

Husband Material by Annette M. Irby
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Wyatt Hansen has no fears about commitment, but only three years have passed since his beloved wife died, and he can't bring himself to break their annual dinner date-that is until he meets restaurant owner, Lara Farr. Lara doesn't have time for romance; she has a business to run. At least that's what she tells herself so she doesn't have to admit that commitment scares her. But Lara's business is failing, and it just may take a miracle-or marketing analyst, Wyatt Hansen-to save it. Can Wyatt rescue Lara's restaurant, help her overcome her fears, and prove he is good husband material?

Husband Material is a delightful read.

Lara Farr inherits her grandparents' restaurant. Business is okay but could be better. However, when Wyatt Hansen stops at his usual table at The Blue Hyacinth on Valentine's Day, Lara finds herself attracted to the lonely widower. On learning that Wyatt's business is turning failing businesses into successful ones, she knows he's the man to help her. But can she agree to his terms when her rule is to not mix business with pleasure?

Lara first spots Wyatt in the supermarket looking sort of stunned at the big Valentine's display. At once she sees his pain and asks if he needs help. Then later, when he reserves her best table at the restaurant, she forces herself to be nice, even though she's puzzled that a grieving man would occupy the choice location when she has a line of patrons waiting for seats. At her break she visits the table and is astonished to feel an attraction to the handsome widower. She learns his line of work involves bringing businesses back from the brink of destruction and she asks if he'd be interested in helping hers.

While it's often difficult to flesh out characters in a short story, author Irby has done a remarkable job of creating two hurting, but likable people who might be ready to take the next step forward. The faith aspect of the story fits well into who each character is; in fact it endears both of them to this reader. Though the plot is light, it comprises all the hopes and fears of a much longer book and made this reviewer wish it had gone on for many more pages.

Ms. Irby captured my attention with a strong story and believable characters. I felt Wyatt's pain and his struggle to move forward with his life. I sympathized with Lara's wariness after a long relationship with a man who couldn't commit. Ms. Irby has created a winner.