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Summary

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas, what could possibly go wrong?

Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.

Luke is 20,000 dollars short for the renovations on Halligans, his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.

But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.

It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

Word Count: 42,500

©2017, 2018 RJ Scott (P)2018 RJ Scott

What listeners say about Love Happens Anyway

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A heart-warming fake boyfriend Christmas tale

This is a heart-warming contemporary Christmas tale set in New York that centres around the fake boyfriend/boyfriend for hire trope. You know from the start they will fall for each other, but it's the journey the guys take to get there that is the main focus of the story.

Derek needs a date for the holiday season to add substance to the imaginary boyfriend he has created to ward off interference from his loving yet very controlling parents. At first, Derek comes across as insecure, isolated and somewhat arrogant. He has family and work issues to deal with and his confidence has floundered in the romance department. As a result he feels shut off and alone.

Luke is a nice guy. He needs money for the renovation of the bar his family runs and so agrees to be a companion for hire on four dates over the three weeks before Christmas.

The story is told in first person with alternating POV so we get the background and insight into both the main characters from the start. We witness a nicer side to Derek as the story progresses and as he falls for Luke on the various family and social gatherings. It's cute, romantic and a little steamy at times. It is also poignant considering the location and history of Luke's bar.

Even though it was a relatively short story, the relationship develops and Derek's confidence and self-esteem grows. He is a better person for being with Luke and that's uplifting for the reader/listener.

In case you are wondering, the cover picture aptly ties in with the sub-plot at the advertising agency where Derek works.

Sean narrates all of RJ Scott's stories and he portrays voices to match the personalities each time. He creates the right emotions for the various scenes and always makes listening enjoyable. Luke's first chapter was speedily narrated and I struggled to keep up. It subsequently slowed down after that and for the rest of the story there wasn't an issue.

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  • Annika
  • 28-11-18

Cute Christmas story

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what can go wrong?
- Short version - a lot can and usually will go wrong.

I'm a fan of the whole fake boyfriend trope. It is fun, can lead to more than a few awkward situations which in turns leads to more fun for the reader or listener. Win, win all around.

Being tired of his mother’s constant needling and meddling, Derek has made up a fake boyfriend to get her to back off. A fake boyfriend, with a complete backstory to boot- pets and all. Only problem is; it's Christmas and his mother is insisting on meeting this perfect specimen of a man. So what's a man to do but hire himself a fake boyfriend for a few nights...

Luke is in a bit of a bind and needs to come up with a lot of money, and fast if he wants to be able to keep and open his family's bar. As a last resort re agrees to help his friend out by accepting to play the part of a boyfriend to one of his clients. It's good money and only a few nights - what could possibly go wrong?

The plot in general was okay. It was straight forward, mostly uncomplicated and sweet. Something I’ve found most Christmas stories have in common. They make you feel good. Love Happens Anyway is a book that's enjoyable for the moment but not one that will stay with you after it's finished. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I love books like that. They are relaxing, and don't demand anything from the reader.

Sean Crisden delivered once again. With his accents, voices and emotion he made this listen both effortless and enjoyable. It shows why there's never a question of if I should pick up one of his narrations, only when.

Love Happens Anyway is a perfect Christmas story. It makes you believe that you might just find your wish under that Christmas tree and there’s still magic in the world, all you have to do is open your eyes and take a chance.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CH
  • 22-12-20

Cute

This was a quick read no complaints about the plot. This is my first book by RJ Scott. I enjoyed her writing style kept laughing out loud at Luke's (Marcus') sarcastic thought process. However his empathy was present throughout and so gratifying for me.
Sean Crisden's narration was quite frankly delightful, his style combined with RJs writing was synergistic. This audio work comes highly recommended by me especially if you're looking for a fun smartly written HEA

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  • DGMays
  • 06-12-20

A sweet, sexy Holiday Romp!!

Kudos to RJ Scott for this delightful, tender holiday story. A delicious story of an unconventional romance from nowhere! One party needed the cash, the other an excuse for failed relationships & missed opportunities. Both finding what they ultimately needed!

Sean Crisden's sexy, beautiful voice did justice to this tender story! I swear I'd pay generously to hear him read from the Oxford dictionary! Such a seductive, tantalizing voice that brought life to each character the author introduced!

A delicious holiday treat that won't disappoint any M/M romance aficionado! A tender, loving story-thread that draws you in from the beginning. Well done!!❤

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  • Yvonne M
  • 13-10-20

Loved it.

I love every part of the book. How one was looking for one thing and actually found it by chance. I am so happy that they could come together in the end. I love firefighters.🚒

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  • Keith b miller
  • 02-12-19

it is so good

you will love it too I think it is a story that could be a series I love the plot and the people in it

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  • Morgan A Skye
  • 31-12-18

Cute holiday story!

Soooo cute! This is adorable! We have a really sweet guy who has hit a rough patch and an adorable but weaker guy who hasn’t really stood up to his folks like he should.

This is pretty much the ideal set up for a “fake boyfriend” and it plays out pretty wonderfully.

I found it easy to fall into and was mostly swept away – the narration helped make this so easy!

There were a couple of things that brought me out of the story. Derek’s life is too easy and I didn’t always understand why his super sweet family was the cause of such angst. I also felt like he was offering a huge sum of money for 4 dates without sex.

But… it was pretty fun and I enjoyed it – especially with Sean Crisden’s narration – his voice is so sexy and easy to listen to!


4 of 5 stars for the story and 5 of 5 for the narration

4.5 of 5 stars overall

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  • Valerie Ullmer
  • 29-12-18

Wonderful Holiday Romance!!

I loved this book. Both Derek and Luke are in a place in their life when they aren't really happy, just making their way in the world without too much fight in them. But when Derek needs a boyfriend over the holiday season, he hires Luke. As they get to know each other, I love how Derek finds himself in a place where he's thrust into a position where he doesn't quite have his feet planted and Luke has been injured and no longer working as a firefighter, yet trying to make his family bar work.

This book is lovely. Both Luke and Derek are very different men, yet there is something between them from the moment they meet. As Derek let his guard down and truly gets to know Luke, I couldn't help but root for the two of them to work.

This was a wonderful holiday story. Luke and Derek are both original characters who move past their own pasts to become something greater together. A must-listen with this great narrator, the story comes to life!!

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  • Maggie
  • 21-12-18

Very cute

I must say it was a cute, sweet, tender hearted read. Very real and fun.

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  • Shy G.
  • 17-12-18

My Thoughts on Love Happens Anyway

This was a highly enjoyable holiday romance. The premise of this story got my attention. However it was the author's solid writing and the narrator having an interesting sounding voice is what kept me listening.

Both main characters in this MM contemporary romance were likeable, although I must admit I was especially fond of Luke. He had great qualities like his family loyalty and he was heroic.

While this was a short story, I really like what was done with it. It was a sweet romance and contained all the important things I look for.

The narrator Sean Crisden was a new to me narrator, but he did a good job. Nice tone distinction with so many characters and his voice was easy to listen to.

Overall this is a story I would recommend and it has me interested in looking for more books by this author and narrator.

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  • Trio
  • 13-12-18

Adorable, A Great Holiday Read

As soon as I saw that adorable snowman on the cover of RJ Scott’s Love Happens Anyway I knew I couldn’t resist this one. Doesn’t he look sweet and a little bit naughty? Well that pretty much sums up this book. There’s a lot of heart too, and the kind of feels which left me smiling. What more could anyone need in a holiday story?

This is an extra special audiobook for me as one of my all-time favorite narrators, Sean Crisden, lends his magical vocals. Crisden’s smooth, melodic voice is perfect for Luke, and he infuses just enough anxious uncertainty into Derek to make you feel it. Honestly, he can croon in my ear any time he likes and I won’t complain.

These two men are both dealing with some big changes in their lives. Derek has recently taken over his dad’s advertising company and is struggling to make it his own. Plus, his previous string of boyfriends all treated him so badly that hiring an escort to play his fictional boyfriend (for $30,000!) is the better option.

Luke is a retired firefighter, severely injured in the line of duty, who still feels the pain of 9/11 - when he lost his dad. His priorities are his family, his volunteer work, and getting on his feet again. He relents and agrees to work the escort gig because the money will be enough to reopen the family bar…. Plus, when Luke gets a look at the contradiction that is Derek Henderson, he’s intrigued!

I’m a sucker for the “pretend boyfriend” trope. Both these guys are floundering a bit on their own, and they really just need to find someone to love. Watching them sort out their problems, and then work them out together, left me grinning like that snowman. Granted, these two do fall in love pretty quickly, but that just adds to the magical holiday feel that RJ Scott creates in Love Happens Anyway.