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Jewel agrees to act as Eli's wife for one dinner to impress an investor. When said investor announces their "marriage" to the whole town, then a real marriage is forced upon the strong minded Jewel. And when a mistake from Eli's past returns to town, the marriage is tested.

Ms. Jenkins explores the foibles of youth; the changes brought on with a forced marriage; the challenges of the African-American community in the late 1800's and life in a small town. Having grown up in a small town (although a century later) I can say she hit the nail on the head, of what life was like.

I found the headstrong Jewel and the "reformed" Casanova Eli to be well developed characters, with lots of depth and all too familiar faults, which made identifying with them amazingly easy. For who among us hasn't done something as an idiot teenager we lived to regret later? Who among us hasn't thought love wasn't worth the pain it could possibly bring? I think we all have at least once in our lives. Which is what all readers will find endears Jewel and Eli to them.

I recommend this book for a read on the beach, camping or even just lounging on the porch or patio under a summer moon.

Book Blurb for Jewel

A proposal she had no choice but to accept . . .

Though Eli Grayson is one of the most handsome, charming, and intelligent men in Grayson Grove, no one will take a chance on a confirmed bachelor. Unwilling to give up his dreams, Eli convinces his friend Jewel to pose as his wife. Their masquerade is to last just one night . . . but when word gets out, Eli and Jewel must tie the knot to save his career—and her reputation.

Became a love she never expected . . .

Angry at being forced to turn her life upside down, Jewel never imagined that a white-hot passion would consume her once she and Eli became husband and wife. Sharing a bed has turned their prim friendship into a sensuous love affair . . . but when a woman from Eli's past returns to stir up trouble, he and Jewel will learn just how far they'll go to protect the precious gem of their newfound passion.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2008 3.50