Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ARC Review: Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay 7) by Anne Tenino


Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her Man of Honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the Best Man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.

Dani's rating:

I have been waiting for this book since I read the prequel in the Lights, Camera, Cupid Valentine's Day anthology. In my review of that anthology, I stated that I LOVED this story until the end, when I realized that it was. The. End. And then I went into full-on angst mode. Because this is surely only the beginning of a story. I need MORE!

Well, I'm happy to report that I got my MORE, and what a MORE it was.

In Helping Hand, the short story prequel, Gabe and Lucas are still boys. Lucas is nearly out of high school and planning a future away from the small Washington town where he was raised ... and away from Gabe.

Gabe and Lucas' relationship begins with a misunderstanding twelve years before they reconnect in Wedding Favors.

After breaking up with his cheating boyfriend, Lucas, now 30, returns home to be the Man of Honor at his best friend Audrey's wedding. Audrey is marrying Lucas' older brother, Zach, who also happens to be Gabe's best friend, and Gabe is Zach's Best Man.

The plot thickens!

The slow burn, longing, and sexual tension between Gabe and Lucas are palpable.

Lucas is an artist: raw, tactile, sensual. Gabe is a beefy, ginger lumberjack who has put down roots and wants someone with whom he can share a life.

I liked Lucas, but I adored Gabe. He is patient, loyal, and understanding, exactly the man flighty, insecure Lucas needs to bring him down to earth.

There are plenty of sexy times here. Lucas is a kinky boy, and Gabe likes him that way.

I really liked Audrey and Zach, and didn't think the side story of their wedding detracted from the story. The scenes with Lucas' "reformed" father were funny, and Gabe's mom was pretty cool too.

The focus here is on the men's relationship, on forgiveness, on coming home. Neither Lucas nor Gabe wants to admit that they want their wedding-planning fling to become something permanent.

Lucas stammers and hedges, and Gabe lashes out. I despaired of them ever talking it all out, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief in the last chapter. Because the ending? Oh, yeah. It's all passion and JOY.

This is my favorite book in the Bluewater Bay series thus far. I loved the humour, the sexy sweentess, and the engaging writing.

But I still want MORE. What can I say? I'm demanding like that.

Perhaps these two can have a wedding of their own?

P.S. While Helping Hand is a lovely prequel, you do not have to read it to enjoy Wedding Favors. This book is part of the Bluewater Bay universe but, like the other books in this series, can be read as a standalone.

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An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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