Review: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Tuesday, May 13

Title: It Happened One Wedding*
Author: Julie James
Series: FBI / US Attorney #5
Genre: contemporary romance
Publisher: Jove
Format: ebook, print, and audio
Date/Year: May 6, 2014
Reviewed by: Michele 

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

Summary from the publisher:

SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”

After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…

BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”

Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without…


My Musings:

Julie James’s FBI / US Attorney romance series is yet another one that I’ve been intending to catch up with, even though I’ve only read the first (excellent) book so far. But when a fellow reviewer posted on Twitter about how much she had enjoyed reading IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING, I knew I wanted to read it immediately. And just as I had anticipated, my impulsive jump into this latest book in the series was rewarded with a delightful romantic confection that will finally get me to make time to read all the books preceding it.

Sidney Sinclair had always taken pride in her ability to determine the best course of action based on all available evidence. But when her self-confidence was shaken by her fiance’s betrayal, Sidney chose to move on from that debacle for a new challenge in her career, the one thing that’s never let her down. So when her latest first date with yet another guy more interested in himself quickly crashes and burns, the last thing she wants is the attentions of an irresistibly handsome man who’d been observing her from the sidelines. She wouldn’t have even remembered their brief encounter if she hadn’t discovered only moments later that they were about to become family. But as she and her soon-to-be brother-in-law are constantly thrown together as the wedding draws near, Sidney slowly starts to let down her guard, at least in the bedroom, though not quite allowing herself to hope that this man might be the one she’s been looking for all along.

Special Agent Vaughn Roberts knows that in his line of work, it’s better to keep romantic relationships short and sweet. Any woman who would make the mistake of thinking he could offer more than a few weeks of hot sex isn’t anyone Vaughn would want to know better. It’s in that spirit that he makes a move on a hot redhead who clearly hadn’t had any luck with the guy she’d just dispatched from the coffee shop. And when the redhead turns him down flat, Vaughn doesn’t let it bother him much, at least not until she’s introduced to him an hour later as the sister of his own brother’s fiancee. Now the challenge of getting past Sidney’s rules for acceptable men is all that Vaughn can think about, not realizing that she’s working her way into his life as much as he is in hers. But how can two stubborn people get past the rules they’ve set up for themselves to embrace a true love that always seems to be just out of reach?

Even though I haven’t read all the books in this series, I never had any problem with IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING as a standalone story. The character development for Sidney and Vaughn was handled almost seamlessly, as we were shown exactly what motivated their actions, even as they were both confronted with facing why they couldn’t trust each other to be the person they need. As the story progressed, it became obvious that it was good that Sidney had rejected Vaughn’s initial advances. If she’d said yes, they would have had a brief intense affair, only to be faced with seeing each other at every family gathering for years to come. Being forced to interact as friends and allies in the family wedding plans was the best possible way for both Sidney and Vaughn to accept their own needs as something to embrace, rather than hide away from forever. By the time they finally realized that they were meant to be together, each had already proven to the other all the ways they were perfectly matched, making their own HEA so touching and real that I was crying and laughing in equal amounts during the last few chapters of the book.

IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING is proof that a contemporary romance featuring a high-powered business executive and successful FBI Special Agent doesn’t have to rely on over-the-top suspense or hackneyed battle-of-the-sexes conflict to make it a book you’ll never forget. It also features some of the most effortless dialogue you’re likely to find in a contemporary romance, and scenes that could be funny and sad without ever descending into slapstick or pathos. If this is what I can expect as a reader of Julie James, then I’ll be adding her to my author auto-buy list, for IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 3


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