Dear Ms. Michaels,
June and June brides are upon us so the second book in your “Second Chance Bridal” series is right on time. After loving “Suddenly A Bride” last month I wanted to see who would get another chance at finding that perfect dress to go with the perfect guy.
Claire Ayers and Nick Barrington have both been down the aisle before and each has the scars to prove it. But neither one is capable of withstanding MaryLou Smith-Bitters when she’s in full matchmaking mode. But have they dealt enough with their separate pasts to hope on a future together?
Nick is so funny in Chessie’s bridal shop from his unease at the spindly furniture to his discomfort with the mannequin -
“And if he looked to his right (which he kept trying not to do), someone had fitted out a mannequin with some sort of corset and tiny panties that made the damn thing look like some guy in town for a business convention should be buying it a cocktail.”
and so great about his enthusiasm for his cousin Barb’s marriage. I think he would actually wear the rosebud bedecked bridal wreath as he escorted her down the aisle if she wanted.
I know a Marylou – swear to God – and she’s a treat. Acts just like your Marylou, dresses like her and has a heart of gold. I love my Marylou. I love your Marylou, too. (Hey, that sentence is a good example for Nick’s “ESL” classes!) And her actions have all the subtlety of a freight train blowing through town at 2am.
It’s nice to actually see Claire doing a little of her job as a physician’s assistant. There is enough to get a flavor for it and to show her dedication without taking over the short length of the book. Ditto Nick and the newspaper job. I liked to see his realistic view of the way that most newspapers are probably going to go and will fess up that I’ve never had a subscription to my local paper. I’m an internet newsie person. And what is with super healthy, exercise people making comments on what you eat in public? Those people annoy me too. I love Claire’s revenge with the yummy smelling Napoleon and her comment about the size zero women just going out to the lawn and grazing after their exercise class is over. Go Claire!
Sean is in the book just enough. He’s actually in my mind more than he’s there since he’s so important to Nick – which I enjoyed seeing too. Yeah, fathers do get extra credit for doing the routine kid stuff. Nick and Sean talk – really talk. They have such a great relationship and you make it feel so real. The closure on his thoughts about his mother is fast but then she hasn’t been a major – well, heck even a minor – part of his life for so many years that I can kinda see that he’d already cut her loose in his thoughts and feelings. But the way Claire helps him to deal with his mother’s quick in-and-out is nice and a bonding chance for them. Thank you for clearing up any thoughts that Sean might like Claire because he just wants a mother, any mother, in his life. Yeah! for Claire being willing to help Cassandra have a place in her son’s life yet being realistic enough to wonder if Cassandra will keep her promises to Sean.
Claire has also reached closure with the issues from her first husband so I could believe her when she tells Nick that Steven is out of her life. Just as with “Can’t Handle the Heat?” I feel that both Nick and Claire have learned from what went wrong in the first marriages and won’t make those same mistakes. What a joy. I do wonder if Claire is deluding herself a little about Steven and his actions. She does have a point about Nick needing to ask the abusive men why they do what they do but she’s a bit too even handed about it all for me to believe. However her reasons for her self-delusion protect what she’s gained in her years of therapy so que sera sera.
The romance in this one is fast and yet I didn’t want to put the brakes on it either. Nick and Claire actually talk – and talk about important things not just how much they lust for each other. They listen and joke and laugh together. Though it doesn’t hurt that the sex is great, it feels like it’s not just rote – not just bodies banging at the appropriate page count, and more like these two really do have a physical connection. I mean, Claire joking about Nick’s first prostate exam is hilarious and shows how comfortable they feel with each other.
I’ve read so many books in which the author tells me that two people are attracted to each other but this one shows me that. I can feel it. I also found myself smiling and laughing while reading the dialogue of Nick and Claire flirting with each other. That means something to me and helps give this series another A grade.