Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor, and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.
But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?
Comment: After having really enjoyed the Him books by these two authors, it was no wonder I was curious about the spin off featuring the sister and friend of the protagonists of those other books. Despite this curiosity, I still delayed reading this but I'm glad I finally decided to pick it up.
In this story we follow what happened to Jess Canning and Blake Riley after their surprising encounter while they attempted to help Jamie, an event from Us. Jess feels embarrassed she gave in to Blake, since she feels he is someone she can't like but now it seems they will have to spend more time together, not only because she is planning her brother's wedding but also because Blake is the best man. During this time she can't help but interact with him, and things get more complicated between them when she sees a side of him not often seen by everyone else...that underneath that bubbly and confident persona is someone with his own disappointments and problems. Could it be these two will have a lot more in common then, since Jess feels she isn't good enough and feels judged by others too? As they spend more time together, perhaps both can find in each other the best friend they needed...
This was a surprisingly sweet and cute novel. I mean, I already knew this team of writers wrote things I enjoyed, but there's always a certain expectation when starting something a little different. I was a little hesitant because Jess and Blake seemed very simple characters whose relationship would be set on how much chemistry they would have or how much fun times they would share until they admitted their feelings but I'm glad to say this had more complexity than I anticipated.
As the story begins, we learn Jess feels a lot of pressure to do a good job with planning her brother's wedding. She wants everything to be perfect but she feels guilt her parents had to help her once more and now she can say she doesn't really feel event planning is something she can see herself doing, but she has already quit so many things, she feels her parents will be so disappointed if she tells them this isn't the way either and I could immediately sympathize because we all feel like we aren't doing enough to meet the expectations of those we love... I think this aspect of Jess' personality was well presented and easily explains the mood for the rest of the book.
Then, the relationship with Blake is the drive that propels much of her decisions for her interactions with him both calm and challenge and we can see how, in so many little things, apparently unimportant, their mutual affection sets in and they start to develop feelings for each other, even if not readily admitted. I think the romance was so cute, fun and serious in balanced amounts, so I really felt they complemented each other and the things they shared made it seem as if they really understood each other.
Blake was also a positive surprise. He seems to be a silly man, always joking around, not concerned about much but we also have explanations for this as the novel develops and we learn why he is now such an easygoing guy. He has had some bad experiences in the past and decided to not let that affect his life nor his relationships with others. I liked how he sees the world even if at times he sounds a little too silly. Nevertheless, his more serious side was one I also appreciated and respected.
There are some scenes I could do without, some situations are meant to be played as something too superficial, as if it doesn't matter, or perhaps that was included to make the story feel less dramatic when, in reality, some things were that, but I felt the things I didn't like as much weren't reason enough to ruin the overall story for me. Plus, in the end, the main characters discuss and accept each others' faults, they decide to move on and life on the things they feel they are best at and it just feels the story is complete.