First impressions lead to weeks of tension in Well Met, a debut slow-burn romance from Jen DeLuca. English teacher Simon is determined to maintain his late brother's legacy, the local Renaissance fair. Emily arrives in town, adrift after a bad breakup and staying for the summer to help her sister recover from a car accident. Everything's going smoothly until her niece announces that in order for her to participate in the local Ren fair, Emily needs to step into her sister's shoes and volunteer for the duration. When Emily uses humor to mask her imposter syndrome, perfectionist Simon thinks her jokes mean she isn't taking the fair seriously. Scowls and snappish comments abound, with two good-hearted adults assuming the worst about each other.
As the fair itself progresses, Emily becomes Emma, a flirty tavern wench, and Simon takes the role of swoony pirate Blackthorne. Through the pretense, their stage-flirting becomes something more real and more confusing. Despite the misunderstandings, these two characters are doing their best, trying to balance familial duty with personal goals. The resolution to all this mess is a happy ending for them as individuals and as a couple, satisfying in its completeness without relying on clichés.
Well Met will especially appeal to readers who like bookstores, Renaissance fair shenanigans and nerdy English teachers wearing vests. DeLuca will have readers laughing all the way to the turkey leg vendor. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels