Review by Veronica

A tall, broad shadow enters the bar and appears behind the couple, and my eyes move up to take in the man who’s sucked all the air out of my lungs. He’s wearing a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of navy slacks. His jaw is shaven, calling attention to his razor-sharp jaw and stark cheekbones. 

Tension in the bar rises, buzzing around me as he towers over everyone at the bar, his chiselled face set in hard lines, not that the iciness affects how soul-crushingly gorgeous he is. Stormy gray eyes pierce me. A rush of electricity zaps me like a live wire. I’m a frozen deer in the headlights as he rakes over every inch of me, taking me apart.

My Darling Bride is a fun and swoony rom-com. 

On a normal day, Emmaline Darling isn’t a car thief. She’s just a simple girl who runs a bookstore and adores cats. But when she’s stranded in the desert and needs to get away from her dangerous ex-boyfriend, she picks her only option: swiping the keys to a famous football player’s Lamborghini and speeding away.

Football star Graham Harlan is in chaos. First he took a hit on the field that left him with a near-death experience, and now he’s promised his brother he’ll get married to secure the family inheritance. Trouble is he isn’t even seeing anyone.

Then a mystery woman steals his car. With his usual stubbornness, he tracks her all the way to Manhattan and gives her an ultimatum: marry me or I’ll press charges.
Her choice is obvious, only neither of them expect the sparks that ignite between them.

As the end of their arrangement looms, will Graham take a chance on love or let his darling walk away forever? 

Ilsa Madden-Mills books have been on my TBR list for a while now. So when another bookstagramer raved about this book, I knew it was time to read one of her books. I picked My Darling Bride because the premise sounded like so much fun. I loved the idea of a heroine stealing the hero’s car to get away from her terrible ex, and the end result is the two MCs agreeing to a fake marriage that will benefit both parties. I liked this book; it’s a fun, nice, quick read. I wish I could have given it a higher rating, but I couldn’t. This is because a major element of the story was rushed and underdeveloped. And that underdeveloped element is the relationship between Emmaline and Graham. We did get that banter and those spicy moments, but they were few and far apart. Also, after they married, the pacing just picked up, and we barely got any scenes with these two together. Their relationship lacks that depth and intimacy that I adored in romances. 

There are good things about this book. The plot and banter are a lot of fun. Yes, a lot that happens in this book would only happen in romance land, but who cares. Just enjoy the ride and soak up all those swoonastic moments Ilsa includes in her story. Everything moves along at a pretty steady pace. The story is told from both Emmaline’s and Graham’s POV, which I loved. The first few chapters of this book are fabulous and hook you in as a reader. I loved the meet-cute between Emmaline and Graham. It had just the right amount of craziness to make you laugh and fall in love with Emmaline. She’s a great romantic character. She is a bookworm and runs a bookstore, which I always love. I am a sucker for a bookstore romance. Emmaline is just a lot of fun, and I love spending time with her. I loved watching her interact with Graham and how she continues to amaze and befuddle him. Graham is that broody alpha male athlete who doesn’t want to get married but has no choice if he wants to collect his inheritance. The whole inheritance aspect of the story is a bit weird; I just chalked it up to romance reasons and kept on reading. Graham is excited to return to football after recovering from a serious injury. His life revolves around football, and he doesn’t have time for love or serious relationships. Of course, Emmaline will open up his heart and show him that there is more to life than just football. 

The chemistry between these two was delicious and electric. That’s why I wish there were more of it. I loved their flirty and fun banter; it was just a lot of fun to read. There are some great tropes in this book. You have: fake relationship, marriage of convenience, grumpy-sunshine, stalker ex, slow burn, millionaire/billionaire, and alpha male. They come together really well. 

My Darling Bride is great for bookworms looking for a sporty romance.