"Surprised to see me?"
Getting caught in her wedding dress by her drop-dead-gorgeous ex-husband is Reese Michael’s worst nightmare. Especially when her perfect-on-paper fiancé then cancels their wedding!
Reese has spent years trying to forget how her marriage to Mason Hicks crashed and burned – yes, their chemistry was incredible, but a girl can’t live on lust alone! And what’s a jilted bride supposed to do when the one man she could never forget is back in her life, as irresistible as ever? Mason might be her own personal brand of Kryptonite, but surely life is meant to be lived a little dangerously…?
I resisted the pull of the Mills & Boon bride for so many years; my thought process being that I was far too young and independent to be interested in wedding stories, but once RIVA started telling stories of jilted grooms and fake fiancées I kind of gave in to the inevitable. So my excitement that four of Mills & Boon’s finest were working on a quartet together was tempered with the knowledge that it’s pretty damn hard to be original when it comes to weddings.
So The Unexpected Wedding Guest, Book One in The Wedding Season Quartet. How does it measure up, bridal-wise?
Well, firstly, the wedding gets cancelled. Reese is thrown a curveball when her ex-husband appears out of nowhere before her wedding, and then is horrified when her husband-to-be postpones the whole event. To be fair, if it’d been me I’d have stabbed them both with a centrepiece holder and then fled in Mason’s rickety old truck, but to give Reese her due, she’s more mature.
But why has Mason returned? It’s not to burst through the doors confessing his in an overly dramatic manner, but actually for closure. His therapist has told him he has to come and make amends, and then he’ll find himself able to move on with his life. Not your typical set-up. And I like the fact that the reason their marriage fell apart in the first place wasn’t due to some overwhelmingly tragedy, but rather that they messed up. Both were stubborn, both were really young, and neither knew what to do when they stopped communicating properly with each other.
It’s easy enough to do, especially when you’re still getting to know someone. One person’s silence can be mistaken for anger whilst one person’s argument is another’s debate (as I’ve discovered – my bf just loves arguing but sees it as healthy discussion. I see it as a pain in my derriere). So seeing these two characters interact with each other - years after it all fell apart - is actually really interesting.
And besides, Mason is fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. As alpha males go, he’s right up there: strong … silent … a marine… It’s enough to make a girl swoon. Especially when he softens enough to tenderly care for Reese during her bout of illness. The chemistry? Clearly electric. And the dialogue’s pretty snappy. Plus I like Reese. She’s not sugar-coated and she’s nowhere near perfect – we get to see her realise that the failure of that original marriage is just as much her fault as it was his – and that’s nice to see. For those who say that Mills & Boon heroines are irritatingly perfect need to read this. I like strong, flawed female characters – case in point being that Becky Sharp, from Vanity Fair, is my favourite female character of all time and she’s a bitch – so yes. Good move Carson.
Aimee Carson herself is fairly new to me – I’ve only read one of her other books (The Best Mistake of Her Life from RIVA) – but I can’t wait for her new Modern Tempted (The First Time for Everything) to be released on the kindle. It’s going on my download list now…
Mills & Boon Boy 2:
Matt G (aka Rasta Hagrid)
Reaction to Photograph Request:
Nonchalant bemusement, followed by a dash to get the prettiest book cover.