Undertaking Love (A Last Responders Romance) by Megan Montgomery
ABOUT THE BOOK
Bethany West upgraded her lucrative career as a sex worker for her dream job as a death worker when she partnered at Smythe & Co. Mortuary. She expected her eco-friendly innovations and death positive attitude to blow the roof off the Victorian-era relic. But that was seven months ago, and during that time, she’s only managed to piss off her embittered business partner, George Smythe, a man dead set on maintaining the status quo and driving Bethany out of his namesake business.
When the pair reluctantly travel together to a mortuary conference in New Orleans—and compete in dueling embalming demonstrations—
George finally recognizes the value of Bethany’s business model for the first time. He’s also starting to recognize a growing attraction to his blonde bombshell business partner. Meanwhile, Bethany learns the truth behind George’s cold contempt, and it’s much worse than she thought, stemming not from a single incident, but from the constant on-call status, the compassion fatigue, and the overwhelming stress of the job.
Bethany has 4 days to crack open his tough outer shell to reveal the compassionate man she knows is inside, and she has a plan, but unless George learns to open his heart and lean on her, at the risk of succumbing to their cremation-level attraction in a dangerous way, he’ll jeopardize both the business and their hearts by refusing the true partnership they both need.
Holy cow! This story grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the refreshing idea of a romance between an uptight, burned-out funeral director and a friendly and outgoing new funeral director who is a soon-to-be former nude model. Not to mention the things I learned about green burials and something called compassion fatigue is beyond fascinating and enlightening.
Bethany West is a single mom, nude model, business partner, and passionate advocate for green burials. She worked hard to become a mortician and though the circumstances of obtaining co-ownership of a family mortuary that wasn’t hers was questionable in some eyes, she really cared about her profession. Unfortunately, one of her enemies is the co-owner of the Smythe & Co. Mortuary, George Smythe. As much as she loves new ideas and making needed changes, George is set in his ways, he prefers old school and he is angry she is his business partner. Bethany is in love with George and her mission is to loosen George up and get him to admit his attraction to her, but was her plan too much for a man who is not ready to forgive himself for his past mistakes?
Vulnerable men get me every time. George seems so in control on the outside, but he’s extremely vulnerable and lost on the inside. My heart broke for him as he struggled with his attraction to Bethany while thinking he didn’t deserve her. In addition, he has a lot of responsibility for his family business which is 24/7 phone calls to pick up bodies, prepping the bodies, and dealing with family grief and confusion every day. It’s enough to make anyone collapse from the stress. I had recently heard of compassion fatigue while talking to a colleague and it is very real.
Bethany is a sexy siren and she is a fantastic mom. Her compassion and natural kindness to everyone around her are lovely. Watching Bethany seduce George at the conference in New Orleans and show him what he is missing beyond his job is heartwarming. She discovers his love for music, for dancing, and for singing. She sees the carefree man who laughs, teases, and finally gives in to his passion for Bethany which is so hot. But George is overwhelmed and confused which leads to a change in their dynamics and Bethany is put in a position to take charge of the mortuary and run it the way she wants. Her strength and determination shine through and with help from her friends and support from those who doubted her, she endures. All misunderstandings are eventually cleared up ending with George’s surprising and unusual gift to Bethany and a happily ever after.
This book has wonderful characters. Bethany’s metaphysical friend, Decca is full of hilarious and delightful advice for Bethany’s non-existent sex life. Bethany’s talented daughter, Sofia is smart and has a great relationship with both her mother and George. George’s dad, Jim, made me cry with his heartfelt advice to Bethany when she needed it most. George’s mom is unlikable as she fights Bethany tooth and nail at first, but she does apologize later admitting that Bethany is good for George and the business. George’s brother Gus is a character that I can’t wait to read more about. He is a reformed bad boy who is part of the reason for George’s breakup of his marriage and who is going to Greek Orthodox theology school but is apparently attracted to a woman with different beliefs.
I can’t recommend this book enough. The story is so refreshing and brings out some deep and very real emotions. The character development is superb and the location of New Orleans for a mortuary conference is fantastic. Another captivating series to add to my collection. Give this book a try. It won’t disappoint.
Thank you to Ms. Montgomery for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Montgomery writes romance. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re morbid, but all her characters have cool jobs. She and her husband, Johnathon Olavarria co-host Forced Proximity podcast, a weekly romance book and movie club.
Her debut novel, Well . . . THAT Was Awkward was inspired by her homesickness for southern Maryland. She now lives halfway across the US on the prairie with her husband, son, and mom.
When she’s not writing, reading, lifting weights, or cooking dinners her son won’t eat, you’ll find her toiling in the garden or brewing potions from her medicinal herbs.