Wed
Jun 21 2017 11:01am

Jenna Bayley-Burke’s Just Married Book Club Discussion Thread

Just Married by Jenny Bayley-Burke

If you're a fan of friends-to-lovers, marriages of convenience, and surprise babies, or any combination of the three, then you're going to love this month's Heroes and Heartbreakers E-Book Club selection, Jenna Bayley-Burke's Just Married.

Once you've finished swooning over Miranda and Callum's romance, come join us to talk about all the tropes. (If you're not ready just yet, read our Q&A with Jenna Bayley-Burke.)

Note: The comments for this post will be made up ENTIRELY of SPOILERS and is intended as a place for fans to gather and discuss the book AFTER reading it, so if you have yet to finish, steer clear of anything after the jump. Go finish the book, then come back. (There’s also a non-spoiler-y Q&A with Jenna Bayley-Burke, the author, if you're not yet ready to dive into talking about Just Married.)

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW THE JUMP.

***LAST CHANCE: Seriously, leave this post now if you haven’t finished Just MarriedThis is a post to discuss the entire book.***

Here's a quick synopsis of Just Married: 

Miranda and Callum have been friends-with-benefits ever since law school. It's worked for them since they live on separate coasts until an archaic clause in Cal's family trust forces him to get married and provide an heir. Who better to fill the shoes of wife than his best friend! However, after a smoking hot honeymoon, their marriage of convenience becomes incredibly inconvenient when Miranda finds herself pregnant with twins. The two must find their way towards not only making a happy family—but finding a happy ending for themselves. 


To get the conversation started, we asked Jenna Bayley-Burke some questions we were just dying to know the answers to after finishing Just Married!

Miranda’s understandably upset that Callum invites her to what turns out to be her own wedding; how would Miranda have planned their wedding?

JBB: She would have been so stunned that they were getting married, she probably would have had Helen do it. Once the shock wore off, it probably would have been quite similar with quirky Scottish touches. No to Elvis, but yes to the waffles.

Let’s pretend Cal and Mira had ended up in the same city after law school; would that have changed their story at all? If so, how?

JBB: If he’d told her about the job offer from Mickey? He would have had to confront it. Mira was fine with friends-with-benefits because of the distance, she wouldn’t have been open to it if there wasn’t a country keeping them apart. He saw her as wanting the picket fence and 2.5 kids, and he didn’t. At least that’s what he told himself. But he was scared and not ready and I doubt it would have worked  out as well.

Callum sure takes his sweet time realizing the depth of his feelings for Miranda, but what should have been his first clue that he was head over heels for her?

JBB: When his father dies. She was his support, his comfort, in a dark time. Mickey gets clued in quickly when she’s the only one Cal even considers marrying. He’s divorced from his emotions because they never served, him, were never validated. He didn’t know what to call it, just that they were more than friends.

Callum and Miranda are both the products of their less-than-ideal upbringings. Can you expand on how their childhoods shaped their very different reactions to the news they’d be parents?

JBB: As a child, Miranda had a loving home, if a bit unpredictable. She knows how that feels, especially in comparison to the distance she had with her aunt in her teens. Giving the boys that sense of love and belonging is so important to her because she craves it herself. She also knows the darkness of being unwanted, a burden, a duty. She won’t allow anyone to make her children feel the same.

Groomed to take over the businesses since before he was born, Cal’s purpose in life had been to make his parents proud.

Take us beyond the HEA: What does the future hold for Miranda and Callum and their boys? How do you think they’ll be as parents? Who’s the good cop?

JBB: I think Miranda is the good cop. I know, you’d think she’d be the heavy, but he was raised with such lofty expectations he can’t help it.

Can you tell us anything about your next book? What are you working on now?

JBB: Promotion. Kidding, it only feels that way since I’d rather be writing than pretty much anything else and it’s work that isn’t telling stories. Just released is Caribbean Cowboy, a vacation-fling, role-play, secret-affair, beach read with a cowboy. See what I mean about tropetastic? Up next is The Billionaire’s Private Scandal about what happens when your secret lover betrays you, but won’t let you go. There are dogs and flying handbags too. Right now I’m working on Discretion, which will open a series set around a group of business developers and how they mix business with pleasure. It’s always something with me!

***
Haven't had the chance to read 
Just Married yet? If you're in the U.S. or Canada, sign up for our new E-Book of the Month program and get a FREE download of Just Married! (Offer ends July 5, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.)


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10 comments
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I think Miranda is the good cop. I know, you’d think she’d be the heavy, but he was raised with such lofty expectations he can’t help it.

Ummmm I love this! Not what I expected at all, but when I think about it, makes perfect sense for their characters/upbringing.

Thank you very much for the enjoyable read that is Just Married! I ADORE friends-to-lovers but confess I tend to be wary of FWB-to-HEA going in, because why would it take so long if they were really meant to be and already knew the attraction/chemistry was there? But the distance between Callum and Miranda, both physical and emotional, was a realistic hurdle for them that I appreciated.
Elizabeth Halliday
2. Ibbitts
The Hero in this book made me very uncomfortabe.
Maybe it's a guy thing that I just don't understand, but if my BFF/FWB had pulled this "wedding surprise" on me, I would have walked. For anybody who is that close, who professes to be my friend, to pull a thoughtless stunt rather than sitting down and leveling with me and asking for my help ... I would have been too hurt to accept. More than hurt - crushed. Anyone that cavalier about friendship and marriage is not the guy for me. What is he? Seventeen? He acts like it. And later on when he made the remark about buying friendship, I would have definately sent him packing. I wouldn't want my children to be influenced by someone that shallow.
And the Mother-in-Law ... horrors! ... she was really the one responsible for the Hero being such a mess - she made him what he was. I wouldn't let her within a thousand miles of my children (unless, maybe, I was holding a can of mace and a cattle prod).
Overall, I would have been very angry at myself for not seeing this juvenile/entitled rich boy character flaw before I fell in love with him.
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
@Ibbitts -- I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, I agree with you that Callum handled the situation terribly and should have just asked her straight-out, so he got what he deserved when Miranda was FURIOUS with him. On the other, as I read the book I just could not believe how obtuse Miranda was being because it seemed to me that Callum was clearly teasing her into realizing the only woman he was describing was her.
Jen Wattley
4. JenWattley
The idea of a spontaneous wedding is really fascinating to me. The idea of showing up without the months of stress or having to deal with relatives who want their way over yours sounds really refreshing to me. Ha! I wouldn't mind if someone took all of the planning out of the equation for me because I'm really terrible to making certain decisions/sometimes don't care about them. I would've been delighted.

At least the fictional me I think exists would be delighted.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
@JenWattley -- Same here. I've always thought if I got married it would be at City Hall with maybe a party after, but someone else just planning the whole things sounds EVEN BETTER.
HannahF
6. HannahF
It was hard to like Callum. From the poorly handled surprise wedding to the whole trying to move all of their friends cross country thing, he just came across as an overgrown adolescent.
Karen
7. Alonzi
Callum was definitely hard to like. His character just didn't have enough depth to sell the whole FWB to HEA plot. I like how the book didn't push the whole "bad childhood" drama in your face, but I never saw what it was that made Miranda fall in love with Callum and put up with all his crap. There wasn't any zinging dialogue or anything else to show how they 'got' each other.
HannahF
8. Valeen Robertson
I thought Callum was a jerk. He sorta redeemed himself, I guess, but not really.
Jennabayleyburke
9. Jennabayleyburke
Ah, sweet Cal. The alpha male who can't see outside of his own kingdom, so out of touch with his own feelings he doesn't even recognize them. These heroes are not for everyone, but I love to peel back the layers and expose the vulnerability they'd never admit acknowledge.

For a glimpse of what I had in mind while writing Just Married, check out the vision board on Pinterest

Cal aside, can we agree waffles make a pretty sweet wedding cake?
Nicole Leapheart
10. BoxyFrown
Cal really pissed some people off, which is funny to me because it made me realize how much he didn't really upset me. He was absolutely heavy handed in throwing a surprise wedding, but it didn't seem out of character for him with his friends, like they were used to these kinds of stunts. I understand how hurtful for Mira that would have been, though. He got my respect mid-book when he stood up to his mother and told her to back off of Mira and the twins.

This ended up being a sweet read. The epilogue was a great cherry on top, because at the end I really wanted more and ended up satisfied.
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