It Happened One Wedding
Penguin / May 6, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
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, Sidney is 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…
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…
Every year I look forward to Julie James’s newest release. While I thoroughly enjoy small-town romances, Ms. James’s contemporary books provide a bit of variety with her more urban settings and professional heroines and heroes.
Her heroines are smart, sexy, and can be as tough as nails when need be. The heroes are—in a word taken from this site—heartbreakers. They are full of confidence with a bit of swagger. It is delightful to watch them fall once they meet their Waterloo.
And that is exactly what happens when Vaughn Roberts meet Sidney Sinclair.
It is with a bit of smug derision that Vaughn watches a clueless man crash and burn while attempting to impress a stunning auburn-haired woman. Vaughn surmises that it is either a blind date or online match, but sheesh, the guy doesn’t have a clue that you should ask questions, not bore your date to death with a long-winded dissertation. After watching the woman kindly reject the individual, he knows that he can show her that not all men are full of their own self-importance and gauche. But he has his own lesson to learn too. Because his pick-up line with Sidney doesn’t work either. Flabbergasted that he has been turned down, Vaughn still not willing to give up:
“Can I ask why?” he said.
“I just don’t think you’re my type,” she said, for simplicity’s sake.
“Interesting. You were able to determine “my type” in the all of five minutes we’ve been talking?”
Now he was pushing her buttons a bit. “Yes.”
“That’s impressive. See, it’s my job to size people up. So I’m intrigued to hear if you’re as good as you obviously think you are.”…
“All right.” Her eyes raked over him assessment. “You’re thirty-four or thirty-five, gainfully employed, never been married. You think maybe you’ll settle down one day, perhaps when you’re forty, but for now you work hard at your job, so you want to play hard, too. You tend to skew more toward dating women in their midtwenties, because women in their early twenties seem just a little too young and women in their thirties frustrate you with the way they all want to talk about marriage and kids by the third date. You’ll go out with a girl a few times, you’ll have a lot of fun together, and then when she starts pushing for something more serious, you’ll move on to someone else, wondering why it is that women can’t be content to just date without needing a commitment. And why would want to commit to one person right now? For men as attractive as you, this city is one big candy store, filled with so many shiny treats, you couldn’t possibly choose just one. So instead you run around with obviously healthy ego, sampling as many of the goods as you can get your hands on-simply because you can.”
Ouch! Of course Sidney wouldn’t have been so hard on Vaughn, if she hadn’t been fighting against her immediate and almost visceral attraction to him.
Ms. James is not done yet. You see, both Vaughn and Sidney were killing time until their dinner engagements. Sidney has one with her sister and her new boyfriend, and Vaughn has one with his brother and his new girlfriend. Within the hour both are meeting again, since Sidney’s sister Isabelle is dating Vaughn’s brother, Simon.
Isabelle got up from the table and hugged her. “I’m so glad you’re here.” She turned to Vaughn.
“This is Simon’s brother, Vaughn. Vaughn, my sister, Sidney.”
Vaughn stood up and held out his hand. Given the circumstances, he had no intention of indicating that they’d previously met. “Nice to meet you, Sidney.”
Locking eyes with him, she seemed to be on the same page. She slid her hand into his. “You, too.”
Now the fun begins because Isabelle and Simon are engaged, and of course Vaughn and Sidney have starring roles as best man and maid of honor.
If you are looking for the perfect escape book, then look no further. It Happened One Wedding reminds me of the old romantic comedy movies where the heroines always had the witty snappy comeback, and the hero always said the right thing to melt her heart. There is just something so delicious about the mating dance between a woman who knows her own self-worth, and a man who won’t take no for an answer. But of course this man has to get over his bruised ego first:
She walked over to a waiting taxi. Vaughn followed and, being a gentleman, opened the door for her.
“I would offer to split a cab, but I’m afraid me and my “obviously healthy ego” would crowd you too much.” He added a smooth smile just in case Simon was watching.
“Been waiting to say that all night, have you?” she quipped.
“Trust me, it’s by far the most polite of all the things I’ve been waiting to say all night.”
It Happened One Wedding features smart, sassy, confident characters at their wittiest best.
Learn more or order a copy of It Happened One Wedding by Julie James, out May 6, 2014:
Leigh Davis, blogger