Desert Isle Keeper
May the Best Man Win
Mira Lyn Kelly starts off her new romantic comedy series with a delightful concept. The Best Men is a set of novels featuring four male friends who keep ending up in wedding parties together, through a combination of family, friends and fate. The movie Four Weddings and a Funeral came to mind when I heard about this series and since it happens to be among my favorites, I was very hopeful that this romance would play out somewhat along those lines. The fact that this first story, May the Best Man Win, combines a second chance romance with an enemies-to-lovers trope put it squarely in my ‘read now!’ pile. I’m happy to say that it delivers on the romance, the comedy, and will even make you shed a few tears as our couple in question gets their own happy ending.
Fate is definitely not being kind to Jase and Emily. High school friends who had a falling out that was never righted, they determinedly went their separate ways and haven’t been in contact much in the last ten years – except when forced to play nice at mutual friends’ get-togethers. And when those friends start getting married, both Jase and Emily end up being in the bridal parties. While civil in public, their sniping at each other in private masks a secret, an unwanted attraction left over from their teenage years. When the latest engagement party threatens them with another involvement in yet another wedding, they call a truce. And with the truce comes the undeniable truth that the chemistry between them won’t be ignored any longer. A heated secret affair challenges them to break down the walls they’ve built. Hurt feelings, misunderstandings and misconceptions line the path that’s led to their current relationship. Can they find a way to let go of the past and regain their friendship and even have a chance at love?
What a lovely read! The series idea hooked my attention and the first chapter clearly sets out the antagonistic relationship between Emily and Jase. Their friends seem to have no idea just how much the pair hates each other since they keep putting them in the unenviable position of being partnered in wedding parties due to their physical heights – Jase is over six feet tall and Emily is just under, making them the most obvious pairing when matching up their guests – much to the chagrin of both. And individually they are really nice people. Emily is a warm hearted, friendly woman who seems to always get the role of keeping the bride calm during the wedding preparations. She offers sound and practical advice, handkerchiefs for tears, and a buffer between them and the mothers or mothers-in-law as required (before and after the ceremony). She is, in fact, the perfect bridesmaid.
Jase, well, he pulls off the best man role like a champ. In a somewhat stereotypical fashion things seem to happen to the groom on the night of the bachelor party or the morning of the wedding that require quick thinking and inventive excuses. His job is to make sure the groom makes it to the altar, and he does it with aplomb. He’s a loyal friend, a handsome and smart guy, and a hit with the ladies – even if it’s Emily’s scornful eyes he can’t help catching.
This romance focuses heavily on the relationships and as the story unfolds from wedding to wedding, there are glimpses of Jase and Emily’s past and we learn how and why they ended up where they are now. Part of it involves a high school love triangle that, if they had the chance to change it, would play out differently. But it’s not just teenage angst that is behind their fallout. There are some fairly serious issues at play here that when revealed, make their antagonism and hurt feelings understandable. The attraction they feel to each other may have matured into more adult feelings but the underlying trust that was broken must be rebuilt for them to move forward. Still, you don’t need to trust someone or even like them to sleep with them, and the lustful feelings they have drive their relationship into new territory. They share some steamy scenes in some interesting places, and find out that perhaps hate and love are not so far apart after all.
Since the series will comprise four books, we are introduced to the three other men who will get their own stories and they are quite the gentlemen. Bromances in books are some of my favorite scenes to read and these guys make me laugh with their antics. One of the couples that gets married in the story goes through some interesting relationship difficulties that put Emily and Jase squarely in the middle. The fallout from those scenes and the subsequent conflict and resolution to Emily and Jase’s own relationship brought tears to my eyes. An author who can make a reader feel a wide range of emotions is clearly one who is skilled at their craft. Jase and Emily’s happy ending in May the Best Man Win is well deserved and I eagerly await the next story in The Best Men series .