Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cinderella Masquerade by LaQuette
Series: Ranchers and Rivals #7
Published by Harlequin on October 25, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Is the woman behind the mask the one this rancher’s been waiting for? Find out in LaQuette’s installment of the Texas Cattleman's Club: Ranchers and Rivals series.
One dance. One kiss.
One unexpected twist.
After a stunning makeover, Dr. Zanai James barely recognizes herself. The reserved, no-nonsense therapist even dared to kiss rancher Jayden Lattimore in the middle of the dance floor. Though a mask had hidden her identity, Jayden tracks down his mysterious Cinderella, claiming he can’t forget her. But Zanai isn’t sure about the motives of a dashing man like Jayden, who’s never looked twice at her before. With their meddling families causing all kinds of trouble, will Zanai finally go after what she really wants?
A serious-minded doctor of psychology dons mask and gown for one evening to be someone she’s not and captivates an easy going wealthy rancher who is determined to know the woman behind the mask. LaQuette is steadily becoming a go-to author for me when it comes to contemporary romance with her heart-felt situations, engaging characters, and romantic relationships.
Cinderella Masquerade is a standalone romance attached to a series written by various authors. There is a connection to setting and a loose connection to past characters.
Dr. Zanai James is persuaded to let go just for one night when a sexy red gown and mask allow her to show more of herself than she feels comfortable showing to anyone besides her best friend. Between her oppressive family and past experiences of people not appreciating her quiet, studious, and serious side and using her hidden, exciting nature against her when they did, she keeps to herself and hides behind a book to avoid being hurt.
Then Jayden Lattimore is captivated by the mysterious Red Queen on the dance floor and like a true prince charming uses her piece of lost jewelry to hunt down the woman who wore it. He has no idea why one night with the lady got to him, but the easy going man who sweetly flirts, has a good time, and moves on is suddenly intent on showing Zanai that she’s something special and he wants to explore their attraction.
As can be presumed from the title and the blurb, this was a Cinderella retelling. But, in true LaQuette fashion, it digs a little deeper and introduces a bright, intelligent, and emerging sexy powerful woman who has a fab bestie and an abhorrent family. Zanai knows her stuff when it comes to her career, but it takes Jayden’s patient and consistent work on their relationship to believe there is more and that a woman like her can capture the interest of a man like him.
This is a light and easy romance for the most part and I liked the surround of friends and romantic encounters. The conflict was mostly Zanai believing in herself and the relationship. I was cheering for her and appreciated the charming Jayden being a nice romantic opposite for her and loved seeing her confront her awful dad and family finally.
All in all, this hit the spot and I enjoyed the light drama, sexiness, and quick read of it. Look forward to seeing their best friends have their story maybe next. Recommended to those who want a contemporary romance to relax to maybe for a free fall afternoon.
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