I requested this book from NetGalley to read and review. This was a different kind of story, both characters have past relations they would prefer to forget and some personal issues. Charlotte is a wedding photographer and very successful at her craft. But she’s never getting married again. Five hears ago, she was abandoned by her fiancé on her wedding day, when she was already dressed and at the church. So, no weddings for her, she’s now very cynical about the happily ever after. Dean feels the same way. When he and his ex-wife had problems conceiving, she started cheating on him and they had a nasty divorce. The aftermath was so painful he has no desire to repeat the story. Also, his own parents had a nasty divorce which further cemented the no-marriage decision.
Dean, TJ and Jake own the Stag, a whiskey and vodka distillery building, that had beautiful historical features. The second floor is a perfect wedding venue, so they started to rent it out while their business was still young, to help business until their aged liquors could be sold. So Charlotte uses it frequently, and whenever Charlotte has a wedding in the Stag venue, Dean makes sure to be the attending owner, just to be with her. They enjoy a very fun, flirty, teasing friendship, where they crave but don’t take action.
Dean has a younger sister, from his mother’s second marriage. She’s fifteen years younger, and when her parents died, Dean took her in to live with him and his wife. Later on, Alexis enlisted in the Army and Dean got divorced. Now his sister, still deployed in the Army, is taking an assignment in Italy and asked Dean to plan her wedding to her boyfriend Nathan. Instead of asking his ex-wife, who is still close to Alexis, he asked Charlotte to help him in this endeavor. Charlotte is very happy to spend more time with Dean, so they tackle this assignation with gusto.
Two things about this book: 1) The writing, the author wrote a very well-developed book, with well-developed characters. Great pace, not too fast, not too slow, and it never dragged, a plus in my camp; 2) I loved Charlotte, she was a generous, kind, talented woman. Apart from wedding photos, she also did cover photos for romance books. Authors would call her to take photos of half-nude yummy hot men for their book covers. This is such a cool extra for a romance novel. And 3) I didn’t love Dean. I found him insecure, hesitant, full of complexes. He failed to act at important moments, and although he apologized, there was no good reason for his actions. At one point, he exposes that his insecurities arise from being abandoned by his mother, who left his father for a younger man, but I was not convinced. I think he was insecure, deep down, and he failed. I felt Charlotte was too forgiving. Also, he had a thing about being so much older than Charlotte. Please, he was forty-one years old! Charlotte was almost thirty, so she wasn’t a spry chicken either. A difference of eleven years at their stage of life was not an important matter and when Dean kept harping on it I wanted to hit him on the head with a hammer.
Apart from my not loving Dean, I did love reading this book because it was so very entertaining.