Monday, February 10, 2014

Baggage Check by M.J. Pullen

Title:  Baggage Check
Series:  The Marriage Pact #3
Author:  M.J. Pullen
Published:  November 20th 2013 by Flourish Publications
Length:  281pgs
Format:  ebook
Genre:  contemporary romance/women's fiction
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★★★


From the author of The Marriage Pact (2011) and Regrets Only (2012) comes Baggage Check, the third and final installment in this quirky romantic series.

At thirty-five, Rebecca Williamson is surrounded by happy endings. Her friends Suzanne and Marci are living out their own personal fairy tales in Atlanta, Georgia. But despite Rebecca’s best efforts four years ago, her adorable college friend Jake Stillwell has officially slipped through her fingers and broken her heart. Even though her job as a flight attendant fits perfectly with her orderly nature, and brings her into contact with lots of eligible men, she can’t seem to find a man who is Jake’s equal.

Then a frantic phone call from her mother in Oreville, Alabama turns Rebecca’s structured life on its ear. She will find herself back in the tiny town she worked so hard to leave behind, and thrown together with Deputy Alex Chen, a face from the past who’s made it clear he thinks of Rebecca as more than just an old friend’s kid sister.

But Alex is nothing like what Rebecca had in mind; and in the meantime, she has other battles to fight, including her painful family history. Can she navigate the chaos and get her life back to normal? Will Alex prove himself to be the friend she's always needed? Or will she discover that the door to Jake is not as tightly closed as she thought?

Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.


“What the hell was that?” Valerie asked, sliding into the booth across from Rebecca. “He was a nice-looking kid. You don’t like foreign guys?”

“That’s not it,” Rebecca said.

“Well, I had that one primed for you. Such a waste.”

“Thanks, Val, but I don’t need you to find guys for me. And I’m sure he won’t go to waste. Look, he’s talking to that girl at the bar already.”

“I didn’t mean him,” Val said. “I meant you. You’re such a beautiful girl: educated, nice nose, and that pretty brown hair is your real color as far as I can tell. We’ve flown together three years and I never hear about you dating anyone.”

“Well, maybe I—”

Valerie leaned across the table with a loud whisper. “Are you a lesbian?”

“What? No!”

“Because I’m okay with it, really. I’m very hip about this stuff. I even have a lesbian niece. Very attractive, if she would just let her hair grow out. Of course, she’s younger than you, but...”

“Valerie!” Rebecca said too loudly. Then softer, “I am not a lesbian. I used to date men all the time. I just haven’t lately.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. The hours?”


“Come on, Val. Why the sudden interest in my love life? Can we talk about something else?”


Rebecca knew from experience Valerie had no intention of letting up. She took a sip of her drink, not terribly helpful since it was mostly melted ice. A long sigh under Valerie’s unwavering stare. “I guess you could say I got my heart broken a few years ago, and I just haven’t gotten over it yet.”

“Really? Who was this? How come I haven’t heard about him?”

Rebecca sighed. In for a penny... “You have heard of him. It was my friend Jake.”

“Jake?” Valerie furrowed her brow. “You mean...your friend, the girl with the blog, what’s her name—Marci? That Jake?”

“Yes. That Jake.”

Valerie whistled. “So how long ago was this?”

“How long ago was what? They got married four years ago. And they have Bonnie now.”

“Yeah, but when did you stop...” Valerie trailed off.

Rebecca shook her head. “I don’t think I have stopped. I know that’s ridiculous, but I-I loved him for so long. It’s like I don’t know any other way to be.”

Val looked down at the table for a minute, and slid the rest of her neat Scotch across to Rebecca. “Here, kid. I think you need this a hell of a lot more than I do.”


My Review:

Pullen brings the real world to life again with this one. I read it in a single sitting. The story broke my heart then started putting it back together again; it made me cry and made me laugh. I love Pullen’s writing style. It’s so easy to follow and lose yourself in. Everything is laid out in stark clarity while remaining light and yet in-depth. The multilayered storyline really keeps you captivated.

I love the characters in this series. They grow and change based on what’s happening in their lives. I quite enjoyed getting to know this main character better. Although you get to know her briefly in previous novels, Pullen really delves deeper into her character with this one, allowing you to understand where she came from and why she is who she is today. She becomes quite easy to identify with and feel for.

This is definitely my favourite in the Marriage Pact series. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance with a bit more substance & can’t wait to see what comes next from this talented author.

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About the author:

M.J. (Manda) Pullen studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking time off for writing and raising her two young boys. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.
She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.

She loves to hear from readers and other writers – so drop her a line!

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  1. Thanks so much for the great review, Jonel! Glad to hear Baggage Check was your favorite of the series. It was fun to write, too. :)

  2. Thanks! Valentine's Day for us is just a family day.