How do you not fall for a book that starts with its main character, Lee Stone, sneaking out of a man’s hotel room after a Disney-themed wedding at Disney World, dressed as Belle? Running through the theme park to get to her hotel, she’s stopped by children hoping to meet their favorite Beauty and the Beast character. But Lee has to get home to Texas and back to work.
Lee (“Stoner” to her friends) works hard and plays hard. She’s sharp and smart in her job and is a hot mess in her personal life. Through too many disappointments, Lee does not believe in true love and happy endings. She’s the communications director of Lise Motors, a female-run electric car company. Lee is the force behind getting a green energy bill enacted which would replace Texas state vehicles with electric cars. The governor is onboard and hires Ben Laderman to work with Lee and the Lise team. Could it be the same Ben Laderman who was Lee’s fourth and last major heartbreak five years ago? Of course it is and the two have to work together. Ben has moved on and Lee has since avoided any real intimacy, choosing meaningless hookups.
Author Winstead has created in Lee a flawed character who is fooling herself that she is truly over Ben. As their professional relationship develops, the two have to navigate their complicated feelings for one another. As the two experience a rollercoaster of emotions, they have to also deal with the challenges of Texas politics. Fool Me Once has humor and romance. There’s heartache and loss. And there’s a wonderful group of supporting characters including great friends and family who help Lee through it all. It's a very appealing book.
Believe it or not, his is the same author who wrote last summer’s exceptional mystery/thriller In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, which was a 2021 favorite of mine and quite an impressive debut. Fool Me Once reinforces Winstead’s writing talent and demonstrates her ability to deliver in multiple genres. Quite a feat.
Don't pass this one by.
Many thanks to Graydon House Books, Harlequin Trade Publishing, HarperCollins and Ashley Winstead for the opportunity to read this enjoyable book in advance of its publication. And for all the thriller fans out there, Ms. Winstead has a very dark mystery thriller coming out in August. And I can't wait.
Many thanks to Graydon House Books, Harlequin Trade Publishing | HarperCollins
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Romance | Women’s Fiction.
Publication Date: April 5, 2022.
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