Karen Jones: The petite blonde married a Hollywood star, yet she’s the one who spends every day playing a part: the part of a happy wife. A year ago, she agreed to wed a famous actor to diffuse rumors about his personal life. Now, her divorce sits just around the corner, along with a five million dollar payout. However, as she prepares to exit her fake marriage gracefully, her drop-dead-gorgeous brother-in-law walks through the door…and into her heart.Zach Gardner: Dark-haired, blue-eyed hunk Zach crashes Michael and Karen’s fancy one-year anniversary party, determined to meet the wife his brother hid from their family. But sparks fly the moment he and Karen see each other. When the famous couple decides to visit the whole Gardner clan, Karen must keep Michael’s secret under wraps in front of his questioning relatives…including Zach, the man who could be the real love of her life.
Karen and Michael have been married for a year now. It was a marriage of convenience rather than love, trying to dispel rumours about Michael's love life. Though they are pretty much best friends now, there will never happen anything between these two. Since their marriage is kind of a sham, they have been avoiding Michael's family, not wanting to make matters more complicated. Which was working out perfectly until Zach, Michael's brother shows up at their house demanding them to visit the family. No longer able to avoid the family, they head down to Utah.
I absolutely love Karen. She is nearly a saint, what with the payout she will get from Michael is not for personal gain it is for opening a runway house for teenagers. Her whole life is about helping others and she can not turn away from someone in need. If she and Michael were friends before the whole marriage thing, she would have probably done it anyway (for free) just so she could help her friend. Yeah, she is that generous. Now she is also very loyal, though she did not count on being attracted to her brother in law. But she made a promise to Michael so she is keeping to it, even if this means giving up a chance for real love.
Now Zack is the dutiful son who went to college but then came back home to work in his father's construction company. He has always done that what was expected from him. Still lately he feels that it isn't enough and that he might need a change of scenery. When Michael visits home with his beautiful wife Karen, Zach is conflicted. He is very much attracted to his sister in law and he knows he can not act on that. But when it not everything seems as it should be between those two, Zach tries to figure out what is going on in that marriage.
Michael's family was simply adorable. They are all so down to earth and also typical small town. Meeting the family makes it clear why Michael is afraid of revealing his secret, though I think he should give them more credit. The rest of the town might be another case, but who cares. Still it is not easy being a superstar.
The relationship between Zach and Karen is approached very carefully, which I liked. I could really understand the conflicting emotions they both had and the hardship of it all. They both want to give in to their emotions, but know they shouldn't. They also don't want to hurt Michael or the rest of the family. It is all very complicated but Catherine Bybee worked it out perfectly.