Lyssa Kay Adams’ Bromance Book Club series takes on a holiday-tastic tale with its fifth volume. This book definitely bounces back from the series’ mid-stream doldrums, becoming the best I’ve read in the series since book two, Undercover Bromance. Even better: this is Colton’s book.
The previous Christmas, country superstar Colton Wheeler had a one-night stand with immigration lawyer Gretchen Winthrop, whom he hooked up with after Mack and Liv’s (Undercover Bromance) wedding. Colton wants his time with Gretchen to be anything but a one-time thing. Sure, their romance is complicated by the fact that she’s the ex-girlfriend of his friend Mack, but he knows what’s happened between the two of them is special. Unfortunately for him, Gretchen refers to their encounter as a “mistake” and in spite of their warm banter, walks away from his motel room and stays out of touch.
A year passes, and Colton is coping with a career that’s in an iffy spot and he is still hung up on Gretchen. He’s just completed a new set of demos which will take his sound in a new direction, but his record company wants more of the same and refuses to release what he’s sent them. They call him in to renegotiate his contract, and tell him that if he won’t work with the songwriters they’ve handpicked for him to produce some radio friendly singles, he’ll be found in violation of his contract.
Meanwhile, Gretchen – who hates the holidays and is severely estranged from her family – is suddenly called home at Christmastime, a notion that feels like a scene from her own personal hell. Recently offered an exciting job opportunity in Washington, D.C., the last thing she wants to do his head back to the family’s homestead. Her brother Evan wants her to return to the family nest because a seat on the board of the family’s charitable foundation is finally opening up, something Gretchen has always wanted to take part in. The family business – a centuries old whiskey company named Carraig Anonair – also requires another favor of her: to coax Colton Wheeler into being the brand’s new ambassador.
Colton agrees to help out if Gretchen will agree to go out on three dates with him, thus giving him a chance to land her after their bungled one-night stand. With the support of his fellow Bromance Book Club members, can Colton woo grumpy Gretchen into his arms for good? Or will their business and family lives wreak havoc on their romance?
A Very Merry Bromance works because the relationship between good-guy people pleaser Colton and Gretchen, who will not compromise to save her life, truly works.
Colton is a genuinely great guy who wants to be a good musician and really likes Gretchen, but he can’t stop shoving his own foot into his mouth. Gretchen is brittle and closed-off sometimes. They need each other to help them grow and improve.
It’s a good romance that moves at the right pace and makes absolutely perfect sense. And the book is just as brightly funny as the rest of the series, though there are a couple of moments that veer toward humiliation humor. The rest of the Bromance Book Club guys pop up throughout the novel, as do their spouses and significant others, to offer advice and absorb some gossip. Colton’s family is predictably great while Gretchen’s is particularly awful, and the holiday atmosphere is cheery without being overdone.
What doesn’t work as well is the book’s sudden third-act turn toward family business melodrama. Additionally, some of the dialogue is a little clunky and stagey. But overall, A Very Merry Bromance is worth stuffing your stocking with. It squeaks out a DIK from me.
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