the playboy's proposal is the third installment of ashlee mallory's sorensen family series. i haven't read the other two novels, but i didn't feel like i missed anything by not reading the books in sequence. they can really stand alone. the playboy's proposal follows youngest sister, bernadette "benny" sorensen and her relationship with her playboy neighbor, henry ellison.
the characters first meet when benny storms over to henry's apartment to yell at him for the loud music and noise emanating from his condo and keeping her up past her bedtime. she thinks he's a frat boy, dude bro type. and he thinks she's a dumpy spinster--though he's also drawn to her fine eyes. from the start it's clear that henry gets under benny's skin, but she is suspicious of the beautiful people and henry is clearly out of her league. besides she has a major crush on her co-worker, dr. luke seeley.
as the war between neighbors escalates into a hearing petition with their housing authority, henry discovers that benny is harboring a crush on luke and certain that he can help her with this crush he proposes that she let him advise her on how to hook a guy like luke in exchange for dropping the petition to their housing authority. against her better judgment benny agrees and then the love story begins. there are obvious sparks between benny and henry. but benny has a whole host of self-esteem problems that henry helps her address by simply giving her the tools to look her best. fears about her shape, her body, had caused her to downplay or ignore her appearance, and by giving benny the confidence she needs to look her best, henry does a lot for her.
henry has issues too. his fear of commitment directly relates to his childhood neglect and abandonment issues. and while the novel doesn't focus so much on henry's healing process, as his friendship with benny grows he starts to realize what is missing from his lifestyle. and slowly he starts to build stronger connections with his family, and allows himself to believe that what he has with benny is something worth pursuing.
both benny and henry are super likable, and you root for them from the meet cute. how they overcome their obstacles is totally worth the read. and this book is suitable for anyone who is a fan of category romances. the whole plot reminds me of many of my grandmother's books, and this is one of those tropes that i enjoy.
**the playboy's proposal will publish in paperback on july 18th and ebook on july 25th. i've received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review.