Well Met by Jen DeLuca
All’s faire in love and war…
After a disastrous breakup, Emily has been helping her sister and niece recover from a horrific car accident. Her sister is recovering, but Emily never anticipated that it would mean that her summer would be spent as a bar wench at the local Renaissance Faire—because her niece longs to participate and she has to have an adult chaperone. So Emily gamely tightens her stays, but keeps butting heads with the hot but demanding ruler of the show, Simon. Simon is bland and exacting in person, but in his pirate costume he puts the moves on Emily so hard she gets whiplash.
Who is the real Simon, and is he worth it?
I really, really liked this book, and I wasn’t anticipating to like it as much as I did.
I think a lot of it spoke to me because of Emily’s past relationship. She’d dropped out of college to support her long-term boyfriend with his plans and career goals, with the idea that once he’d gotten onto his feet (she was supporting him by working two jobs while he was at college) she would focus on her own schoolwork. But then he dropped her because she wasn’t good enough and I just…flames.
Flames down the side of my face.
“How do I know if I’m worth it?”
Ex-boyfriend was emotional abuse 101, and it was so painful to read. He had systematically broken Emily down while using her time and money to support himself and get ahead. Then when he had no use for her he dumped her—pretty much using her as a stepping down. He rose higher while crushing her down under his boot.
So add those years to a lot of psychological damage, and why Emily is a liiiiiittle touchy around Simon, who seems to judge her for not having her degree nor any skills that aren’t blue collar.
And Simon has his own baggage—chiefly, the Faire, which was his beloved brother’s baby and therefore must be preserved exactly as it was to honor his brother’s legacy.
Simon is stuck in the past and unable to move forward without fear of hurting his brother’s memory, and Emily is trapped in a world of self-doubt.
So it was delightful to see them interact in their faire personas, and to see Emily come into her own and realize her own skills of organization, planning and promoting, and have Simon realize that hey, he can move on and it might be a little healthy to step away from the past.
Simon kissed like a pirate. His lips were soft yet demanding, but his tongue…plundered.
So yeah, the weak part was the romance. The sexy scenes were kinda weak, and honestly Simon and Emily worked better as frenemies than lovers.
They didn’t really address their own damage until the very end, and I enjoyed Emily’s relationships with her new faire friends and her evolving relationships with her niece and sister far more than her relationship with Simon.
I felt like in the end, their relationship wouldn’t last, but I hoped that they would continue to work as business partners because they seemed far more suited to that than actually being together.
However, it was enjoyable and lovely, and I really liked the secondary characters (and the kilts), and I wished that some of the secondary characters had more page time than they did.