*** This review contains slight spoilers. ***
- Review by Cindi
- Review by Cindi
3.5 out of 5 stars
Spencer and Blaine are introduced in A Betting Man. You can find my review of that one here. Blaine had made a bet with his business partner Kent that he could not make the next person (male or female) fall in love with him. The next person Kent sees is a bicycle messenger, Terry. Kent and Terry's relationship is based on deception from the start (by both) but it all ends with one big happily-ever-after. Blaine was the perfect bastard. He was obnoxious, snobby, pretentious. A character a reader loves to hate. But he did have chemistry with Terry's boss Spencer so I was expecting to see their story soon and that's what we have in A Marrying Man. The Blaine in A Marrying Man is nowhere near the one in A Betting Man. It's like the author wrote about two totally different people. I will come back to that.
Blaine and Spencer don't seem to like each other much. Spencer makes it his mission to embarrass Blaine and Blaine gets tongue-tied every time Spencer is around. Throwing the two together to plan a wedding does not seem like the smartest thing to do but they agree to do it because they love their friends. The normally strong and confident Blaine turns to mush every time Spencer is around. In reality they want each other... bad. Blaine knows that Spencer had been married (to a woman) in the past so he is convinced that he's straight. When the two are caught together in the middle of the day by Terry (when they should never be together), Spencer makes a move to throw Terry off and this confuses Blaine who has been holding onto a crush since the first time he saw Spencer many, many years earlier. One kiss is all it takes for that crush to slap Blaine in the face.
There is a lot of back and forth with this book once Terry accepts the proposal and the planning gets going behind his back. Spencer keeps touching or kissing Blaine. At first, it's to keep Terry from finding out why they are together but then Spencer continues to do it and this leaves Blaine confused. Only later does Spencer confess that he is bisexual and is interested in more than a ruse to throw Terry off. They begin a tentative relationship with Blaine insecure because he doesn't believe that Spencer really wants him.
There is a nice group of secondary characters. Some I fell in love with, some not. Spencer has an eight-year-old daughter that even Terry didn't know about, Valerie. I adored this child immediately. His ex wife Vanessa is the perfect bitch and the author wrote her well.... until the end. Without giving it away I will say that I didn't even come close to buying what happened with Vanessa at the end and that completely took away from the story for me. The same thing occurred with Porsche, a former girlfriend of Blaine's (and Kent's too, if I'm recalling correctly). In my opinion, the author should have left both females as they were and not tried to change their characters. It was extremely unrealistic and again, I don't buy it with either of them.
I love all sets of parents with the exception of Blaine's. Unrealistic again and there is one scene in the book that went a bit beyond what I needed to see. I adored Spencer's, Terry's and once again we got to see Kent's hilarious southern parents. My huge gratitude to the author for leaving out the southern-speak in this one as compared to A Betting Man. That had been my biggest issue with that particular book and thankfully, it is kept to a minimum this go 'round (I was actually called out... nicely and privately... by other fans over my comments in regards to southern-speak in my review of A Betting Man. I still, months later, stand by what I said). There is a bit of joking back and forth between them and Terry's British parents but I found that to be charming. Spencer's brother Slater is an absolute blast as are Casper (Blaine's assistant) and Drakon (Spencer's). Slater and Casper have chemistry so no doubt they will have their book soon. I'm also holding out hope for Drakon and Blaine and Kent's boss. I am looking forward to both, especially Slater and Casper's. Slater is annoying but you seriously can't help but love him.
The story is told in first person with each chapter alternating between Blaine and Spencer. There are issues with Vanessa and Spencer (and the custody of Valerie) that added to the story though (going back to what I said about Vanessa above) I am not a fan of how that played out. It all came together a bit too nicely. The same applies to a couple of other things in the book but I won't elaborate as it would be too telling. There is also a major overuse of exclamation points that I found distracting.
Overall, it was a a good story. Much better than A Betting Man in my opinion, though if you read that one you will not believe by reading A Marrying Man that Blaine is even the same person. Had I read A Marrying Man as a stand-alone my rating would most likely be higher because I actually liked Blaine in this one and I was prepared to hate him, for at least a little bit. I wanted to hate him because of his actions in the previous book. I understand him changing after his guilt over the bet but I don't get him going in a completely different direction. I wanted to see the obnoxious snob from before. I didn't want to see him going from being a pretentious prick to quickly being a quiet "pretty boy" who doesn't have the confidence to speak up and turns into a blushing schoolgirl every time Spencer is around. I liked his pretentious personality. Granted, I wanted to see him redeem himself but I wanted to see him work for it. Because his change occurred off page in between books I feel that I, the reader, missed a lot of the story. The ending was nice and I enjoyed revisiting the characters from the first book.
I love the cover.
This book was provided by Wilde City Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.