Title: Just Married
Author: Jenna Bayley-Burke
Series: More Than Friends #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Seattle attorney Miranda Rose arrives in Las Vegas determined to keep her best friend-with-benefits from making a costly mistake – marrying some stranger just to save his family trust. But once there, Miranda discovers she’s the surprise bride! One red-hot honeymoon later, they’re back to their over-scheduled lives on opposite coasts. But a marriage of convenience with regularly scheduled sexytimes turns complicated when Miranda gets the shock of a lifetime: she’s pregnant…with twins.
Miranda has always wanted a family of her own, but her infertility made it impossible. Besides, Callum’s difficult upbringing places him adamantly in the no-kid zone. Now she must decide between the man she’s been in love with for years and the children she’s longed for. Or will Callum surprise her yet again and come through when it matters most?
Source: ARC from SMP Swerve via NetGalley
For the most part I enjoyed this book. It’s a quick, sexy read with plenty of chemistry between the leads as their friends-with-benefits, secret arrangement gets serious fast, all thanks to a little detail in Callum’s father’s will. Admittedly, there’s plenty about it that didn’t really make much sense – such as why Callum kept the wedding a secret, when he knew Miranda would do pretty much anything for him. And how they’d kept their relationship a secret from all of their friends for ten years, when they clearly have trouble keeping their hands off each other. And just who was in love with who, when and why.
But I went along with it, because it was interesting, the sex was scorching and I wanted to see how on earth it would it all turn out.
And that’s about when I stopped enjoying it so much. The scene where Miranda finds out she’s pregnant is wonderful – despite the whole being on the pill and having a very, very small chance of ever falling pregnant, but congratulations: miracle twins! Everything after that, though, kind of unravels.
Callum doesn’t want kids. He has his reasons, Miranda knows them. She does want kids, but never thought it would be possible, so she’s delighted. She decides then and there that Callum won’t want his kids, so to save them from an upbringing like hers, she decides to shut him out. Regardless of what he says or does.
He’s not comfortable with children, but he tries to do his best by Miranda. Even if his methods are mostly throwing money at any problems she raises.
They are in distinctly different places about this pregnancy, but instead of trying to talk it out and come to some kind of compromise, Callum says move to New York, Miranda says no, leave me and my babies alone, and that’s it. Callum does attempt to open up a compromise conversation, but she shuts him down and just says no. I honestly could not see how these two could possibly bridge the gap.
But this is a short, sexy romance, so of course they do in a rushed, super convenient way that had me side-eying the whole thing. Followed up by an epilogue that seems to be about two completely different people.
Which is a shame, because at times I really enjoyed this. I liked Miranda (until she became irrational, because hormones!) and I mostly liked Cal (who had no emotions, because parental issues!) and I loved their wider group of friends (despite their collective blindness when it came to these two). The plot is often baffling in its lack of likelihood and sense, but at its heart it’s a good old M&B/HQN style romance, it’s just that Mira isn’t a mistress but a high-powered lawyer with a brain, while Cal isn’t actually an 18th century rake, but he’s still fighting off the inheritance issues anyway.
If you come into this book with those sorts of things in mind, then the daft plot and fast emotional turn arounds won’t be so much of a surprise and will probably make for a fun, enjoyable read. I wasn’t expecting it, which is why I’m a little disappointed, but I’m pretty sure that if I read this again in the future I’ll be able to enjoy it for the quick, sexy romp and slightly ridiculous emotional rollercoaster ride that it is.
Just Married is Out Now.
Visit Jenna Bayley-Burke for more details.