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Review: Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman

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Title: Kissing the Maid of Honor (Secret Wishes, #1)

Author: Robin Bielman

Genre: Contemporary romance

Length: 230 pages

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Release Date: May 2013

ISBN: 978-162266-0-889

Book Summary: Kissing her best friend’s brother never felt so right…

Sela Sullivan is resolved to be the best maid of honor ever, even if it means tolerating the best man. Arrogant, insufferable, handsome Luke Watters is not only the guy who humiliated her at a kissing booth in high school, but he also happens to be her best friend’s older brother. Sure he still sees her as just an annoyance, Sela vows to focus on her duties and steer clear of the frustrating Luke.

As a world-renowned extreme-sports photographer, Luke is used to undertaking life-risking adventures. Now he’s back in his hometown, surprisingly ready to risk his heart. And of all the women who could spark his desire, it had to be Sela, who it’s clear still hates him for his rejection all those years ago. Luke can’t deny she inspires a passion he’s never known, but can he prove to the maid of honor he’s become a man of honor?

Review: This is my first book by Robin Bielman, who says she’s surrounded by boys. I want to strangle Luke because he doesn’t think the way I want him to. Of course, this is the woman in me talking. And yet Luke is romantic and sweet and clueless about Sela’s animosity toward him. Thank goodness for Bielman’s boys; she nails it!

The conflict within Sela was obvious. At times she wants her pound of flesh, and at others she wants to live happily ever after. It’s been close to ten years, and Sela is still  licking her wounds from Luke’s offhand comment at the high school kissing booth. Yes, she’s grown up, become a respected pediatric nurse, and lives in a Luke-free bubble in her hometown. But when Luke comes home for his sister’s wedding, she is forced to interact with him. She many have grown up on the outside, but when it comes to Luke and the bruising her ego took all those years ago, she’s still a confused teenager. This has shaped her past romantic relationships, causing her to question whether she’s good enough. She still thinks people in town remember Luke’s comment as vividly as she does. And yet, the only person who has not moved on is Sela–mostly for lack of closure. But it is something she must overcome if she is to move forward.

Luke, however, is a changed man. His confidence is shaken, and for the first time in his life he is vulnerable. It is this vulnerability that helps him see Sela as something other than his kid sister’s friend. Sela’s compassionate nature and her competitiveness are what Luke needs to regain his confidence and face his fears. And during the course of their interactions and Sela’s mixed signals, he recognizes that he owes her an apology.

But there is more at play here than just making amends for the past. There are certain rules you just don’t break, and making a play for your best friend’s sister is one of them. Sela is also practically a member of his own family. Even his parents have threatened Luke if he hurts her. The interference of both Sela’s and Luke’s families is selfish, but their intentions are not. A town blog fed by avid busybodies keeps things light with the typical small-town rumor mill.

I enjoyed how Bielman allows Sela to mature. Yes, she still harbors a crush on Luke while hating him at the same time. But as the book progresses, she slowly lets this go and begins to trust him even without an apology. And Luke slowly becomes aware that he needs to make amends with Sela if he ever hopes to move forward with her.

Luke continues to infuriate because of his propensity to humiliate Sela throughout the story. He hasn’t realized his reactions have consequences, especially with Sela’s oversensitive attitude toward him. His ignorance of her feelings frustrates, but it is so wonderfully male that I can’t fault the author for being honest. Both characters take a step backward in their progress because of a simple lack of communication with each other. But this again is so true of human nature. We react first to protect ourselves regardless of whether it is the mature thing to do.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light romance with plenty of laughter and emotion. I intent to read more books by this author in the future.

(I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

Robin Bielman’s links: 

Website: http://www.robinbielman.com
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