Friday, May 22, 2020

Beyond Just Us by Kimberly Kincaid - New Release and Review

Beyond Just Us
by Kimberly Kincaid
Series: Remington Medical, #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 19, 2020

Remington’s most cynical doctor is about to get upended by two little words:
I do.

Tess Michaleson runs her ER like she runs her life—
no pretenses, no exceptions.
As a single mother, she can’t afford anything less.
As a woman who’s been burned by love?
She can’t believe in anything more.
Her son and her job are the center of her world.
That’s all Tess needs.

Until Declan Riley falls into her arms…

His tattoos and his Irish accent are enough to melt her panties
His diagnosis? That’s enough to break her heart.
But Tess can help him get the care he needs…

All she has to do is marry him.

Declan knows he should keep Tess at arm’s length.
What they have is temporary. Necessary.
And he knows from experience just
how dangerous getting close can be.

But the longer he’s around the smart, sexy doctor and her son,
the more Declan realizes
close isn’t enough.

He wants Tess. He wants it all.

Even if he has to do the one thing he swore he never would to have her.

From USA Today best-seller Kimberly Kincaid comes an older woman/younger man marriage-of-convenience story full of sizzle and sass. This full-length romance features an Irish American Air Force veteran-turned-model and a take-no-crap attending physician finding out if fairy tales really do come true.

“Ah, I do love wedding duty,” the judge said, not batting so much as a single lash at the fact that both Tess and Declan were clad in jeans and T-shirts or that one of their “witnesses” was still in diapers. “I’m Judge Esposito, and I’ll be presiding today. Shall we get started?”

“Yes, please,” Tess said. They went through a couple of legalities to establish that she and Declan were both who they claimed to be and that they had witnesses who were who they claimed to be.

Then Judge Esposito threw out a whammy. “Tess. Declan. You may join hands as you recite your vows.”

Oh, hell. She had just watched Charlie and Parker get (re) married. How had she forgotten this part?

Thankfully, Declan covered her hesitation by smoothly scooping up both of her hands. His fingers closed around hers with the perfect amount of pressure to let her know he was there, steady, but not so much that he overpowered her. It put her oddly at ease, and before Tess knew it, Judge Esposito was on to the ceremony. The words were boilerplate, and Tess had, of course, heard them before at her own failed wedding, not to mention a dozen more for family and friends. They got through the intention part easily enough, needing only to say “I do” when called upon. Tess even managed to repeat the judge’s words about richer or poorer and sickness and health, then slide the ring Connor had given her onto Declan’s finger, without much fanfare from her heart. She was a doctor. Sickness and health were the whole point.

But then it was Declan’s turn, and her heart delivered a completely unexpected bitch-slap before galloping through her chest.

“I, Declan, take you, Tess, to be my wife. To have and to hold”—he slid his right hand from her left to cup her chin in illustration, and making Charlie and Harlow and Tess’s traitorous lady bits sigh in unison. This is an act to make things look genuine. The words don’t really apply to you, she reminded herself sternly, meeting his gaze head-on as he continued with the script—“in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer”—Declan’s thumb swept over her cheek. God, he was really selling it—“and I promise my love to you. With this ring, I thee wed.”

He slipped the ring he’d chosen onto her finger, gathering her hands in his again as Judge Esposito took the lead.

“Love is the reason you’re here today, and it should be the core of your marriage.”

Tess’s pulse sped up. Speaking of words that didn’t apply. Still, this had to look legit, so she kept her expression steady, and—whew—Declan did the same.

“But it also will take trust,” Judge Esposito continued. “To know in your hearts you want the best for each other. It will take dedication, to stay open to one another; to learn and to grow together even when it’s not always so easy to do.”

The thump of her heartbeat pressed faster against her ears. “It will take faith, to be willing to go forward to tomorrow, never really knowing what tomorrow will bring. In addition, it will take commitment, to hold true to the journey you both now pledge to share together. Tess and Declan.” The judge smiled so warmly that for a tiny, split second, Tess felt a ribbon of warmth uncurl in her chest, too.

“In so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, I now declare you to be husband and wife.” Judge Esposito’s smile grew even bigger as he added,

“You may now kiss the bride.”

Kimberly Kincaid has delivered another story with both heart and heat that brings so many feels and has created the perfect happy ending to the Remington Medical series.

I’m not usually a big fan of the marriage of convenience trope, but since it was the key to bringing Tess and Declan together, it really worked for me in this story. What I do love is when two people who think that they are just not “relationship” people find themselves knee-deep in a relationship before they even know what happened – I love that moment when they realize that they may be in trouble, and the subsequent moments that confirms it may be true, and there were so many of those for both Declan and Tess.
Declan looked down at his own hand, the weight of his wedding band suddenly very present on his finger as he thought of the woman who put it there.

And in that moment, Tess Michaelson became that much more dangerous, because Dec hadn’t just married her.

He liked her.
One of the things I really liked about Tess is that she has been the outlier character from the start of the series. In romance novels you normally get the build to the happy ever after, but from the first book in this series we got to see Tess’s marriage unravel and find her adjusting to being a single working mother. There were hints that her happy ever after was coming, but knowing where she was coming from made her story so much more emotional and real. I couldn’t believe how her family treated her and loved how she eventually makes peace with herself about how she lives her life – and I loved that Declan was there every step of that way. Declan has his own issues, and even though I may have not agreed with how Tess handles things and was on Team Declan, in the end it really was the only way for Tess to get Declan what he needed, not just medically, but also emotionally and mentally.
“Thank you. But it’s actually Dr. Riley now” She might’ve grown up as Jameson and become a doctor with Michaelson, but it had taken a Riley to show her who she really was. Changing her name just felt right.
It was great getting to spend time with the Remington Medical crew. This has been such a great group of characters to read about and I love how they are always there for each other. I also loved Jackson, Tess’s son. He was such an integral part of the relationship and bond of trust that forms between Tess and Declan. Kimberly Kincaid does and awesome job writing Jackson into scenes realistically and strategically, really adding another layer to the relationship that forms between them. And I really loved the scene when Vasquez, one of the interns, also pipes up to give Tess some good advice.

Even though this is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone, but I personally think it would be more enjoyable to start at the beginning to get a good feel of who Tess is and what she has been through. There is a lot of fun dialogue and you can feel the friendships on the pages between the entire Remington Medical crew.

This was a great way to end the series and I would recommend this book and the entire series it to anyone who loves medical romances – or romances in general, real-to-life characters, and nice blend of humor, heart, and heat.

I received an advance reader copy from the author which I voluntarily reviewed.

Start the Series

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet and hot and edgy romantic suspense. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to ├ęclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a USA Today best-selling author and a 2016 and 2015 RWA RITA® finalist and 2014 Bookseller’s Best nominee who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

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