The Best Man Plan
by Jaci Burton
Boots & Bouquets - Book 1
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Three days before Erin Bellini's wedding, her fiancé breaks up with her--in an email! Hurt and embarrassed, she decides to have a fling with veterinarian Jason Callum, who's both the best man and the hottest guy she knows. But Jason wants a lot more than just a one-night stand with the woman he's cared about for years. So he's taking things slow. And hot. And showing Erin what real love can look like.
Suddenly Erin finds herself spending a lot more time with Jason than she intended. Feelings she never planned on having again are wrapping around her heart, refusing to let go. Erin isn't sure she can trust her instincts, though. After all, she made a terrible choice with her ex-fiancé. But Jason intends to convince her that he's the best man for her, and that what they have together is a real love that will last forever.
If that adorable cover hadn't convinced me to give this book a try, the blurb would have. Best friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes but Burton takes it a step further in this first book of her new Boots & Bouquets contemporary romance series. Not only do we have best friends to lovers, we also have a jilted bride, and a bit of a love triangle. With the three main characters (jilted bride, jilting groom, and best man) all being best friends since childhood, it has the potential for a whole lot of emotion, chaos, and hurt feelings. Burton manages to avoid expected pitfalls, keeping things realistic while also creating a fun, sexy, and heartwarming romance that, in the end, secures a happy ending for two of the friends, without permanently alienating the third. And even making me forgive, and hope for a happy ending, for a character that I spent most of the book actively disliking.
I adored Jason and was in his corner from the beginning. I loved his staunch support of Erin and his determination to not take advantage of her. He's such a good guy, a good friend, a great puppy dad, and sexy as all get out. And he cooks! My feelings for Erin evolved along with her character. I appreciated the time she was given to work through her emotions concerning both Jason and Owen. I liked her and while I didn't always agree with her actions, I understood them. I loved Erin and Jason together, enjoying both the sweet and the sexy times as their friendship slowly transitioned to new territory. By the end of the book, I was fully confident in the love between them that had been tested and emerged strong and sure.
I love the Bellini's Italian-Irish family dynamic and am looking forward to getting to know all of them better, especially Erin's sisters. I have hopes for a match between one of the sisters and a certain Irishman and am curious to see if my thoughts about the other sister also pan out.
I'm not sure when book two will be released but after finishing this one I did some searching and discovered a novella, The Matchmaker's Mistletoe Mission, that introduces this series with the story of Clay and Alice, two of my favorite secondary characters from The Best Man Plan. I've already downloaded it and am ready to dive in while I wait for the next Red Moss Vineyard couple to take center stage.