Title: Tall, Dark and Deported
Author: Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Length: 236 Pages
At a Glance: This story was adorable and I loved both MCs.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Crossing the border into love.
Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.
Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.
Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.
Review: Mateus is a loving brother and brother-in-law who has been in the US on a tourist visa, helping his brother with his orchard in Washington state while he and his American wife await the birth of their first child. But Mateus’s visa is about to expire, so his plan is to head to Canada for the day and renew his visitor visa on the way back. But, trouble and transportation logistics find him in a car driving to Canada with Crawford, the attractive man he’s struck up a conversation with at the airport.
When they get to Canada, they are flagged by immigration because of Mateus’s nearly expired visa. Canada won’t let him stay, and the US won’t let him back in. He, unfortunately, doesn’t have the funds to fly back to Portugal. Crawford is incensed, and he blurts out that they are in Canada to get married. This seems to change the immigration officials’ mind, but Mateus will not be able to reenter the US until he and Crawford are married.
Meanwhile, Crawford is not looking forward to having to work with his ex-husband on this work trip. He gives Mateus an out, but really, Mateus doesn’t have a lot of choices. So, they get to Crawford’s hotel and make arrangement to make their marriage (in name only) legal. They enjoy each other’s company and while this is a slight change to Mateus’s plans, he can’t tell his brother exactly what’s going on.
Crawford would love nothing more than to ignore Davis, his manipulative ex, but there is a job to be done. He’s grateful for the distraction of Mateus, and also the way that Davis seems to be jealous of the attention that Mateus garners from the others in Vancouver. Mateus can tell immediately that Davis is not a nice man, and he’s offended on Crawford’s behalf by Davis’s behavior. Mateus is happy to step into his role as Crawford’s husband and date at work outings, especially if it keeps Davis away.
When they finish the job in Vancouver and return to the US, the realities of an international marriage smack them in the face—not that easy to just waltz in a foreign national as a spouse, it seems. They have appointments with the immigration officer to get through, and a decision about the home visit, and where they will live, etc. In addition, Crawford has his own family issues to deal with back in California.
Mateus’s brother and sister-in-law are a little suspicious, but are romantics, so they are pretty accepting of Crawford and Mateus’s story when they come to stay with them at the orchard, but the scary part for both Mateus and Crawford is, of course, they each realize that they have fallen for the other. But that isn’t part of the deal. When it comes down to it, can they each be honest with themselves, and with each other, about what they really want? And will it be together after all?
This story was adorable! I loved Mateus’s pure heart and Crawford’s wounded heart. Crawford has put so much into his career, and he has found out, after many years, that his boss doesn’t really respect that about him, when his boss forces him into an uncomfortable position and doesn’t care one bit about Crawford’s feelings. Both guys have super families that add a lot of color to the story. Crawford’s ex, Davis, is a bit of an ass, and it’s great that Mateus and Crawford are able to unbalance him. 🙂 I had only read shorter stories from this author before, but I’ll be looking for more of her writing.
Still a huge fan of the Dreamspun Desires line, and the tropes, and the HEAs.
You can buy Tall, Dark, and Deported here: