Series: FBI / US Attorney #5
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”
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, she’s thrown in to 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…
BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”
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…
ICYMI is a post from my early days of blogging at Yummy Men & KickAss Chicks. Julie James write fun, smart, and more realistic contemporary romance than most authors. This was a joint review with Julie and me. You can see the original review here
Julie: It is always a good day when a new Julie James book is released. I just love her voice, her characters and her smart stories and dialogue. It Happened One Wedding is the fifth book in her FBI/US Attorney series. Julie has said that this book is a little different for her and she’s right. But it’s a good different. A very good different. This book is about FBI agent Vaughn and how he is taken by surprise by the lovely Ms. Sidney.
Anne: I love all the books in this series, so I was excited to get this one to read. We have seen Vaughn in previous books. He is friends with Cade Morgan (the previous book’s hero) and partnered with Huxley. He is one of those alpha male, such a guy guys. I rather like that; I find it rather ridiculous and funny. This is my absolute favorite thing about this book – it has some real humor.
Julie: I have always enjoyed the humor in Julie’s books. It is a smart humor. Vaughn has that smart humor along with a sarcastic wit that I appreciate. And Sidney can certainly hold her own against him.
Vaughn likes women. He is not ashamed of it and likes his life. Don’t worry – we hear about his escapades but we don’t see them. I was happy for that because I find too many contemporary romance authors focus too much on the hero before he meets the heroine but Julie doesn’t do that. That is one of the reasons I like her writing. She keeps focus on what is important for the story.
But I digress… Vaughn. We were talking about Vaughn.
Vaughn is smart, confident (without being overtly cocky) and loyal. He is also funny (as we have already established) and sexy. He holds all of the characteristics I look for in a strong contemporary romance hero. He comes from a good home with awesome parents and has no really huge and crazy ‘issues’. This is refreshing for the genre of late! I like how he enjoys his work and enjoys his family. Yeah…I just like him a lot.
Anne: OK, yes I like Vaughn. He’s funny and nice and he has the good family. I just can’t believe he’s never had a real relationship or that if he is so upfront about it, why get involved with him? Well, for sex. But I didn’t find him sexy, fun but not sexy. I’m sorry but I “friend zoned” him at the beginning and couldn’t leave that emotionally. There was something in his attitude and style. Maybe it’s something wrong with me but as you say he was so normal and nice. I couldn’t find the sexy. And does he think as he gets older at 45 or 50 or 55 he will always have a bunch of willing partners? Doesn’t he even think about settling down ever? It’s like even with his friends settling down, and now his brother, he doesn’t seem to give it any thought. I can believe he is fine with his life, but not that he doesn’t consider a relationship since his parents, his friends and his brother have good ones.
Sidney, on the other hand, knows she wants to settle down. She just doesn’t want to go through any heartache in the process because she has been there, done that. So she is just as unrealistic in her list and plan. But she was funny and understandable. I had faith she would work through those issues when she started dating.
Julie: At the beginning of this book, Vaughn in a man-boy and I’m totally okay with that. He knows he is going to settle down one day, just not this day. And even though I am not the type of person who has ever enjoyed just a ‘hook-up’, many do and that is what Vaughn is going after right now. I feel that it’s because of the relationships around him that he is finally able to recognize a good thing, a.k.a. Sidney.
I found her
obsession desire (I will edit this in my WP by crossing one out) with wanting to settle down sort of funny. It speaks of her personality. She is unrealistic in her plan, yes, but she is so sure her ideas are foolproof! It charmed her to me. I liked Sidney. She was quite relatable as I think we’ve all been there, at some point in our lives, when we are ready to settle down and wonder if we’ll ever find the right guy…or more likely wonder if we’ll ever not find the wrong guy. I liked how she didn’t fall for Vaughn’s ‘plays’ right away and how she challenged him. I think if she just fell for him the moment they met, it would not have made for a realistic story. And this one felt quite real to me.
After reading this book, I completely understand what Julie means when she says this is a different sort of book for her. There is no heroine in trouble or hero in need of heroine’s help. This is a brother-of-the-groom and a sister-of-the-bride. Two people who happen to have to spend time together while helping plan their sibling’s wedding. Yes, Sidney is still a professional and kicks ass at her job and Vaughn is still an undercover FBI agent but they are not ever doing their jobs together. This is a first for Julie yet she wrote this sort of story beautifully. The pace of the relationship was as good as always and nothing felt rushed or forced for me.
Anne: You make a good point about the type of book it is. It isn’t where their work lives are involved; the couple meets through their family. It is a lighter, funny story with the Vaughn and Sidney getting thrown together because of the wedding and then getting to know each other. There is no big bad here. There are just the personal issues. Vaughn has to realize she is important enough to him to want a real relationship. Sidney has to risk her heart, again. They are allowed to work through this and get to know each other at an easy pace. It’s nice and a very realistic story emotionally, but I didn’t feel enough.
Julie: I know you didn’t feel the couple or the story as completely as you hoped. But for me, it was fine. I really enjoyed Vaughn and Sidney and found their story to be both sweet and entertaining. I liked how Vaughn eventually came to realize how special Sidney was and vice versa.
One of my most favorite things about Julie’s books is the detail she shares about her characters’ professions. She was/is a lawyer so writing lawyers was easy for her but lately, she is steering away from that and focusing on FBI agents. Vaughn is an undercover agent and you can tell that Julie did her research to write him at his job. Even the detail about Sidney and her investment banker’s job was thoroughly explained. I find when Julie writes like this it makes the reader not only completely understand the specifics of her characters’ jobs but also a large part of what makes them tick as they are all work-focused. I like how none of her characters are just flouncing around; they are all responsible adults with focus and dedication.
Anne: Julie James is an excellent writer and I have enjoyed all of her books including this one. It was fun and easy; it is just not my favorite in the series. The characters were a pleasant way to spend time but I couldn’t bring myself to care enough about them. I highly recommend the author and the series though.
Julie: Where I’m concerned, you will not often see me rate a Julie James book lower than 5 stars. I love how her characters are professional grown-ups. I love her style and I love how effortless her books are to read. I always find it amazing how so many contemporary romance authors write books lacking depth and focus while a few manage write the genre with a flair and maturity that sets them far apart. Julie James is such an author and It Happened One Wedding is an example of a good contemporary romance. Smart and sexy with well crafted characters, this book is definitely one for your ‘must-read’ shelves.
“Maybe I could help with some of the wedding stuff, too.”
Sidney laughed, then saw Vaughn frown. “ Wait — you’re being serious?”
He shrugged. “Sure, why not?”
“No offense, but you don’t exactly exude a ‘wedding planning’ vibe.”
“And thank God for that. But I think I can manage a few tasks. How hard could it be to pick a photographer? Or a band? Just ask them if they plan to play ‘Y.M.C.A.’ or that annoying Kool and the Gang song. If they say no, they’re hired.”
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