Just Married by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 6th August 2016
Just Married by Jenna Bayley-BurkeJust Married by Jenna Bayley-Burke
Published by Swerve on August 30th 2016
Pages: 148
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two-stars

Seattle attorney Miranda Rose arrives in Las Vegas determined to keep her best friend-with-benefits from making a costly mistake – marrying some stranger just to save his family trust. But once there, Miranda discovers she’s the surprise bride! One red-hot honeymoon later, they’re back to their over-scheduled lives on opposite coasts. But a marriage of convenience with regularly scheduled sexytimes turns complicated when Miranda gets the shock of a lifetime: she's pregnant...with twins.
Miranda has always wanted a family of her own, but her infertility made it impossible. Besides, Callum’s difficult upbringing places him adamantly in the no-kid zone. Now she must decide between the man she’s been in love with for years and the children she’s longed for. Or will Callum surprise her yet again and come through when it matters most?

This story confounded me from the start, raising questions for which I simply couldn’t logically answer, unless we’re talking about the romance genre’s reliance on the well-known cliché that emotional behaviour is mostly irrational. Which kind of self-respecting woman would carry on a friends-with-benefits situation without doing a thing about her hidden love for her man for ten years (ten years!) because of the lack of time? Why the heck would a man set up such a roundabout nasty marriage surprise for his best friend just to keep his inheritance?

What follows is a way around this marriage of convenience, until an unexpected pregnancy throws a spanner in the works. Much of the book is filled with domestic dispute, the push-pull arguments of which party really wants best for whom, coupled with pregnancy hormones and negotiations that lie on the side of hysterical and selfish. Much of it is also, feels like a (lopsided) argument in favour of Miranda’s stance as she works to separate her so-called best friend from her life the moment she finds out about her pregnancy and his not wanting children. And to be fair, I felt more for Callum than I did Miranda after her reading for the umpteenth time, her faulty reasoning of loving someone so much but it’s best to let Callum leave because it’s better not to have a father like him after all.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a difficult topic to get into when everything from the beginning convinced me that I was looking into a rather toxic relationship where both sides sort of knew what they wanted but with strings only they could define…if they were truly honest with themselves. But I spent the rest of the book frustrated because they weren’t, especially when it came to Miranda, whose drastic changes gave me whiplash as much as it did Callum. The conflict mostly revolved around that particular stalemate and the unwillingness to budge, until a switch flipped for Callum and then we’re suddenly en route to an expected HEA. It isn’t that the story’s badly written, only that the subject matter just didn’t resonate with me. Instead, I felt irked and unsatisfied by the end – and guilty to an extent for not liking a book that has so kindly been granted in advance to me.

two-stars

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