This is the first in the Bachelor Brotherhood series, featuring three friends with horrible luck with women who’ve temporarily sworn off dating. When I discovered some of the things past-lovers had done I laughed out loud. While each of the friends makes an appearance in this book, the focus is clearly on the hero and heroine, two interesting characters with complicated, full lives. I enjoyed this and look forward to reading the rest of the series. After twelve years and two tours in Afghanistan, Kevin Vandemeer has left the Marines and moved back to his hometown. He wants to be part of his sister’s life and get involved with her child once it’s born. But as the book opens, Kevin’s having second thoughts about these plans. He gave his sister a large chunk of money to purchase a flip-house for him sight unseen, but he is appalled at just how bad it is. As if the house isn’t bad enough, shortly after moving in, Kevin’s tempting next-door-neighbor comes over with lasagne. He ends up scaring the woman away; Kevin’s serious about taking a break from women.
Taking the lasagne to Kevin is completely out of character for Holly Greenwood, and in fact, her cousin conned her into doing it in an attempt to get Holly focused on her personal life. But Holly’s always been shy, and when she sees how gorgeous Kevin is she makes a complete fool of herself, is virtually unable to speak, and goes running back to her house.
Holly is an interesting heroine who, while awkward and shy on the dating front, is trying to make her career dreams come true. She currently works at a small event planning company, doing most of the work while her nightmare boss takes the credit and constantly threatens her with being let go. Holly sticks with the job because she hopes to save money, build a portfolio, and start her own wedding-planning business. When she’s not working, Holly spends time with her beloved grandmother who has dementia. Through all this, Holly remains upbeat, trying to do her best.
Despite Kevin’s break from dating, he’s tempted by Holly, and the two quickly end up having sex. I like that soon after, Kevin decides he wants to see if he and Holly can have a real, meaningful relationship, rather than stretching out the “break” from women. Instead, the author throws an interesting obstacle into their relationship. It turns out that Holly’s boss is Kevin’s mother, and the woman would never approve of a relationship between the two. Holly needs her job too much to threaten it.
Holly and Kevin’s attempts at a relationship are just one part of the book. They each have full lives, with family, friends, and work. We see some of the details – and they are both comical and interesting – of Holly’s efforts to plan a major society wedding for a true bridezilla. We also see Kevin’s efforts to uncover financial irregularities in his best friend’s construction company. I love the relationship Kevin and his sister have; their dialog seems natural. And then there’s the kitten Kevin finds on his property. At first he plans to give it away but is quickly sucked into caring for it.
The resolution to Kevin and Holly’s problems with his mother is a bit over-the-top, but I appreciated how, in the end, the author makes even Kevin’s mother nuanced.
And the Bachelor Brotherhood? Although I was at first leery that we’d encounter a group of bitter men, each is actually interesting, Kevin most of all. And their issues with women: let’s just say they did have horrible luck with some very odd women. For Kevin, the word “clowns” says it all.
After finishing the book, I did some online research and discovered the author has an extensive backlist across a variety of genres. I’ll definitely be checking it out, as I quite liked this contemporary romance.