Laurel is the designated baker of Vows. The descriptions of her sugary, calorie exploding creations practically had me salivating.
What’s it About?
Wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance working at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. But she’s too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that their clients seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother Delaney, on whom she’s had a mega-crush since childhood.
But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her-or so she thinks. When Laurel’s quicksilver moods get the better of her-leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del—she’ll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever…
I thoroughly enjoyed the second novel in the Bride Quartet series, but I’ll admit I did have my reservations before starting this third book. While it does feature the baker of the group (and I myself love to indulge in creating desserts), the synopsis of our two lovebirds seemed too reminiscent of the romance from the second book. As it turns out, my concerns were fairly warranted. We once again see two long-time friends decide to make a go of a physical relationship after years of friendship. They worry over how taking their relationship to the next level might be received by the rest of their friends, but after a smooth acceptance from the rest of the quartet the plot proceeds with relatively minimal drama. Overall there wasn’t a whole lot which set this third book apart from the preceding novel, which made Del and Laurel’s romance pretty superfluous when all was said and done. Sure, it was sweet, but there wasn’t enough to truly distinguish it from the couple in book two.
Something else which was similar to the second novel in this series was the fact that there wasn’t really much drama between our lead couple. While they initially question whether or not to explore their more intimate feelings for each other, once they decide to go down that road it’s pretty smooth sailing from start to finish. At the beginning, Del and Laurel attempted to place a sexual moratorium on their relationship, where technically they can date but sex is a no-go area between them. This way they can focus on developing an emotional connection which is deeper than friendship, but also ensures they won’t be spending all their time together in bed. It was definitely a fun premise, but unfortunately it didn’t quite produce the level of angst you’d hope for to raise the sexual tension between our characters to a delightful level. It also doesn’t take long before they throw the moratorium out the window and jump into bed.
More Money, More Problems
One area which does bring an added sense of drama to the plot was an issue over money. Del has always been the protector and pseudo big-brother of all the ladies of the bride quartet. He wants to take care of them, and therefore sees no issue in offering to pay for one of Laurel’s cakes, or for offering to reimburse her for groceries. However, Laurel takes issue with it. She sees these acts not only as a flaunt of his wealth, but also as an act of charity. Laurel believes Del assumes she can’t take care of herself, so he throws money at her whenever possible.
As with most issues in this series so far, we see how her insecurities over their relationship hearken back to her own personal issues with family. The strained relationship she witnessed between her parents makes it hard for Laurel to fully trust Del. The constant gossiping of their small, wealthy community also doesn’t help matters when she hears they all think she’s only with Del because of his money. It causes Laurel to question why Del might be with her. Does he actually love her, or is he simply with her as a matter of convenience to have an able and willing sexual partner in his bed? While it was an interesting point of discussion, it didn’t really come fully into play until the very end of the novel, and it’s all resolved so quickly that you never feel as though it was a major issue which posed a real threat to our couple.
Series: Bride Quartet, book 3. Throughout this novel we see scenes designed to heighten the sexual tension for the characters who will serve as the leading couple for our fourth and final book.
Final Impressions: I must say I was kind of confused why the author would choose to have two novels back-to-back which featured couples who were initially friends, and then chose to engage in a sexual relationship. Don’t get me wrong, this is a romance novel theme I’ve always delighted in, but there weren’t enough factors to truly differentiate the plots and characters of the two novels. This resulted in it seeming as though we just saw the same story on repeat.
Smut Level: Sexual moratorium my ass! Del and Laurel have an easygoing rapport which holds true both within and without of the bedroom. I will say I was rather disappointed that we never got a sex scene involving someone being slathered in whipped cream…or even buttercream. Laurel is the baker after all!!
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 353 Pages.