Series: Finch Family, #1
Release Date: November 2nd, 2021
Cameron loves his carefree life, hanging out at the local bar and bedding every ready-and-willing woman he finds. When his family’s craft brewery needs him to plan a big event, he knows (begrudgingly) it’s time to get serious.
Annie was dumped by her boss’s son, and he got engaged before her tears dried. When he invites her to his engagement party, she needs a date to make him jealous a little bit.
The epic nineties-themed party they’re planning is real fly, but the relationship is pretend…right?
Author’s Note: Small town. Opposites attract. Fake dating. Lots of nineties jams. Steamy times in a tiny home and a truck bed. Vigilante raccoons. Tall heroine (she’s six feet!). Grab this funny, yet full-of-feels small town romance today!
“Something about Annie and me feels inevitable.”
If you know me even a little, you know that I love Jenny Bunting and her stories, so it will come as no surprise that I loved Fool’s Gold, the first in a new series featuring a family in a small town. And if that’s not enough, we get to meet some familiar faces from previous books and altogether, it just made me really happy.
Fool’s Gold is set in the small town of Goldheart where the Finch family own a brewery and every member of the family contributes in some way. Cameron is not only one of the bartenders for his family’s business, but he’s also the town playboy. Everybody in town knows the kind of person Cameron is – he’s hot, popular, charming and sexy. He’s also slept with pretty much every woman in town and he’s made quite the name for himself. And on the other hand, we’ve got Annie Stewart (you’ll recognise her as the sister of Raegan from For Your Safety) who is a Type-A perfectionist that likes to have everything planned out and in a row neat and tidy. Annie’s loved and cherished in the town just as much as Cameron and where he’s known as the playboy, she’s the good girl. But they’ve hot history, stemming from high school when Annie tutored Cameron in math and she developed an insane crush on him. I mean, I don’t blame her, Cameron Finch is a catch.
I kept putting off reading the book because I knew I was going to love it and I would never want it to end. And I was right. Cameron and Annie are such incredible characters and it’s not just their relationship, which I’ll get to in a minute, it’s their individual personalities that captivate you right from the start.
“If I dated Annie Stewart, I would take out an advertisement in the paper. And a billboard. Maybe wear a sandwich board around town with a bell.”
Cameron isn’t ashamed of the reputation he’s built, he just hates that all the women he’s hooked up with treat him like shit now, because apparently falling in love with Cameron is normal, even when he tells them upfront that he’s not interested in them. Cameron’s love for his family is the best, but his relationship with his niece Olive is better than anything else in the world. He’s snarky, sarcastic and funny, but Cameron is also insanely charming and could probably have the grumpiest person eating out of the palm of his hand. Annie, Annie, Annie. If you’ve read Home then you’ve met Addison and she’s one of my absolute favourite Jenny Bunting heroines. Now, Annie Stewart joins those ranks. I love that she’s a tall woman, because it’s so rare to read about really tall women in romance! But I love how organised, focused and driven she is. She’s a kind soul, with only goodness in her heart. Annie is the kind of person all of us would want as a friend, or a lover in Cameron’s case, and she just makes you smile so hard. There’s not a mean bone in that woman’s body and it’s all absolutely genuine.
While both these characters grow so much through the course of the book, Annie’s growth is the strongest. She goes from being a shy and quiet woman who settles for a man that wants to hide their relationship to being a ‘take charge of her life’ kind of person. She’s so inspiring. I loved watching Annie see her weaknesses, embrace them and then move on past them. She doesn’t linger and wait for everything to make sense, Annie goes out and does it and if that’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is.
“I’ve always had an affinity for bad boys, men with endless charm that could break my heart into a million pieces. I thought I was over that, moved on. Now, I want to tame the ultimate Goldheart heartbreaker.”
Now, Annie and Cameron’s relationship. I could write a book about it. So I’ll spare you the rambles and give you the bare bones. With all this history and sexual tension in their past, it’s bound to get frustrating when they’re together and nothing happens. They decide to fake date in order to help each other out, which then turns into them spending more time together because they realise that they fit. And then one thing leads to another and their relationship grows so beautifully. I loved how invested his family got in their relationship, because it’s clear that everyone loves Annie. But I loved watching Cameron realise that this whole time, his feelings for Annie weren’t just simple ‘it’ll pass’ kind of feelings.
In romance, the moment when the hero has an epiphany about his feelings for the heroine is one of my favourites. It’s like a lightbulb goes off above their heads and every time they see their person, their heart thumps loudly and their breathing slows down and their head spins out of control. And Cameron has A LOT of those moments, which is so great. Another thing I love in romance? STEAM. It’s a slow burn, but it’s totally worth the wait. Annie and Cameron have all this pent up sexual tension and frustrations that the minute they cross that line and share their first real kiss, all bets are off. I remember Jenny posting stories about her time away in a tiny home and how she was inspired by it to include ‘certain scenes’ in the book and she did a damn good job bringing that to life.
Jenny Bunting has always provided me, as a reader, with laughs and swoons. Right from her first book to this one and as someone who has read every single one of her books, I can tell you that nothing prepared me for the magic of this wonderful story. We can all see a little bit of Cameron and Annie in ourselves and maybe even in our lives, but it’s the way the story is told that really makes them pop off the page. I am also already in love with the Finch family and I can’t wait to see what happens with the next book and to see more of the elusive Jackson. I know, even without any other details about this books, that I am going to fall in love with this family and never want to let go.
Thanks to Jenny Bunting and NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.