Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: The Wedding Favor by Cara Connelly

I don't generally like cowboys in my romances. They are not the kind of romantic hero that makes my heart beat a little faster. A cowboy hat, jeans, and boots have nothing on elegantly folded cravats in my imagination. But sometimes my predictable little world needs shaking up. So I grabbed Cara Connelly's contemporary romance, The Wedding Favor, with a lawyer and a cowboy as the hero and heroine and settled in.

Victoria Westin is a lawyer. She's just lost a big case for a lot of money.  Her opponent in the case, Tyrell Brown, has come to some conclusions about the petite blonde as a result of her demeanor during the trial that dredged up horrific memories of his beloved wife's terrible, drawn out death. He thinks Victoria's got ice in her veins and that she is, plain and simple, a horrible, cold bitch. So he's more than put out to discover that he is trapped on a plane from Houston to Paris next to this woman he loathes. Vicky is equally appalled to discover that Ty is her seatmate. She's still trying to process the fact that she lost the case and let down her toxic mother. The case was supposed to be a walk in the park with an unpolished cowboy as her opponent but Ty is more than just some rube. He's smart (a PhD) and gorgeous (women melt at the sight of him) and the jury had no trouble believing his very real relived anguish over his young wife's death at the hands of a spoiled drunk driver. He's harboring real animosity towards Vicky for her questioning of him despite the fact that she was just doing her job.

What should have been an incredibly uncomfortable and long flight to Paris was mellowed by the fact that Ty got screamingly drunk, Vicky's hormones did cartwheels in his presence, and she confided in him a bit about her difficult mother and cheating ex-fiance. But things didn't progress as they might have and once the plane lands, Ty can't wait to get out of her sight until it turns out that both of them are in France for the same reason. Vicky's younger half-brother, Matt, is marrying Ty's good friend and ex, Isabelle. So they can't avoid each other. In a bid to keep their antagonistic, professional relationship from Matt and Isabelle, they agree to pretend not to have met before. And Ty even agrees to flirt with Vicky to make Isabelle happy. But the flirting gets intense as both Ty and Vicky find it hard to keep their hands off of each other.

Their potential physical relationship is complicated by so many things. There's the appeal on the case Vicky lost and the chance for the appearance of impropriety. Her mother, Adrianna, wants Vicky to give her slimeball, cheating ex another chance and has invited him to the wedding in order to force the issue, plus she never loses a chance to diminish Vicky if she can. There's another bridesmaid who works as a stripper and who has set her sights on the delicious Ty. There's Vicky's fear that she's frigid. And there's Ty's fear that he can't give her a future, that everyone he loves is doomed and that she'd be better off without him.

As all of the outside influences pile up, Vicky and Ty's sexual chemistry is still explosive. They banter back and forth and the zingers fly. Both have some substantial emotional baggage to overcome in order to be together. But there are definitely some things in the end that come too easily. Vicky's lifelong, contentious relationship with her mother is healed with just one small vote of support. Ty has the perfect opportunity fall into his lap to be close to Vicky in NYC thanks to a character who has not appeared in the book until the moment he needs to go and personally apologize to Vicky. I like a happily ever after as much as anyone, but this one was unbelievable and out of character. Luckily, the humor and the sparring and the entertaining situations generally override the problems in the last bit of the story and the sparks and Ty's honeyed drawl make for a seriously sexy read if you can forgive the easy redemption of the ending.

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