Review: Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

Friday, May 25

Title: Tempting the Best Man*
Author: J.  Lynn
Genre: Contemporary Category Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Format: E-book
Date/Year:  April 23, 2012
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Madison Daniels has worshiped her brother's best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can't stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother's wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they're forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of "accidents" as the family tries to prove their "spark" can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don't strangle each other first…

My Musings:

This story starts off with Madison Daniels drowning in a pool of dread about attending her brother's wedding at a winery  Her fantasy/nemesis and her brother's forever best wing man, Chase Gamble is the best man, of course.  Maddie is a smart, successful cookie that works for the Smithsonian (yes THAT Smithsonian!) For as long as she can remember, she has bowed at the temple of Chase. Madison was always the kid sister following everyone around and he was the young male in her life that wasn't her icky brother. It started with a bad case of hero worship and raged out of control, until one night lines were crossed and their whole way of relating to each other changed. Chase finally started to see her as a woman and not a little girl. Unfortunately, Madison's whole family, much to her chagrin,  is aware of her deep seated puppy dog love for Chase and don't mind trying to help it along.  Her brother suspects, but in the way of most big brothers isn't huge on encouraging that relationship, although he does tend to find the situation slightly humorous.

Chase Gamble is one of three brothers. His dad was a bonafide cheater and philanderer, and unfortunately Chase is following the same path, and angry that he can't seem to break the cycle.  Maddie does not know he's always held her dear, and he has never allowed his feelings to be known of her except the one night they almost consummated their attraction and "ruined everything." Chase has never felt he is good enough for Maddie, being a carbon copy in his own mind of the man he grew to hate. It is the same story of an honorable man coming from a broken home who doesn't feel he knows how to be different from what he has learned. That is an internal struggle that only the perfect woman can rectify (of course!) He has more or less toyed with Madison's emotions because he himself is torn and it's caused a lot of torment in her heart over the years. The truth of the matter is Chase adores Maddie but he is very conflicted with the psyche consuming  "do I deserve love and happiness" question.

Madison and Chase bicker constantly when they are in forced close proximity. Chase is pushing her away and Maddie is pissed off because she thinks he doesn't want her or love her.  The Ninnys actually live two floors from each other in the same building and see each other all the time but rarely speak regularly. They're both mourning the close relationship they had before everything changed.  Chase wants to go back because he's scared of the future and Madison wants to move forward cause she loves him. They are two tectonic plates constantly butting against each other causing earthquakes trying to figure out how they fit together. It's enjoyable to see them actually working through their feelings when they are "thrown together by accident" in one cabin because of a reservation mix up. They have no choice but to talk and face each other. It almost makes you wish that everyone had a loving meddling family to push them together.

I have some negative and positive feelings about this novel.  On the negative side, some of the prose and themes are just not exciting to me anymore and it's getting harder for me to look past formulaic cliche's. I feel like I've said that a lot lately. For example... The guy from a broken home.  Let's "do the deed and get it out of our system and everything can go back to normal" (this NEVER works).  The "flaring" and changeling eye colors according to mood.  I mean for the love, these people don't have mood ring stones making up their eyeballs. I have never noticed an eye color change according to mood. Mostly when my husband is angry I tryyyy to stay away from him (lol.)  The hero pushing away the heroine because he just can't face or admit to himself his overwhelming and undying love. These things are overdone like beef jerky. Also, Chase never seems to understand why Maddie gets all bent out of shape at what he says, but I refuse to believe he is really that dense.

On the positive side, regardless of what I said above I did enjoy this little novel.  Maddie keeps getting caught in embarrassing hijinks. Her tire blows out at the beginning of the novel and her dad screams over the crowd how Maddie has "blown" something. It's quite hilarious. Her father also is terrified of the apocalypse, which although is out of left field is pretty creative for a dad character and some of his quips are entertaining.  Some funny moments about shaved balls come unexpectedly, and I bet every girl laughs her fanny off at this Gamble Brothers conversation.  Maddie indulges herself in a little too much alkie-sauce and has a few inebriated situations most of us girls can relate to, like getting a little frisky with someone you think is not that attractive, and sitting down on the ground and waxing poetic about the moon and "how pretty" it is.  There is some sweet and good-natured teasing between Chase and Madison that shows an underlying strong affection that I really enjoyed. Also endearing is the fact that Chase knows thing about Madison's childhood that he was around to witness, that in turn makes their bond, platonic or not, magnetic and special to the reader.

This short lil' novel was cutesweet and enjoyable. Not earth shattering, but that isn't what is expected here.  I really did like Maddie. She's witty and doesn't take herself too seriously, and she has a hint of self deprecation in her character which makes her all the more lovable. I can relate to her and the pain of unrequited love and have felt those heartbreaking moments where an idiot man says something so stupid you want to slap him and start bawling. Mad cause you hurt his sweet face and crying cause he's an a- hole.  And that's men in a nutshell. Shaved, of course.


Overall:  4 stars (This was a sweet book that was enjoyable to read. Beware of cliche's, but after all this is only 50,000 words and classified as Category Romance.)
Sensuality level:  3.5 stars (Some pretty steamy moments, but it doesn't get tooo crazy)

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lorimeehan May 25, 2012 at 7:01 AM  

Thanks for the review. This book sounds like a cute and fun read.

Michelle Chew May 26, 2012 at 12:36 AM  

I want this book! *adds to TBR* I'll wait for my budget to come back in and I'll get it. This sounds like a really good read from your review. Thanks for sharing!


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