This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on March 10, 2020
After having my emotions blown away and my sense of humor tickled by Bromance Book Club, I was all in to get the founding member, Mack, and the man-hating sister of the first heroine, Liv’s story. I knew it was going to be a humdinger and I was not wrong. Cupcakes crash, roosters rumble, and hearts might truly break.
Undercover Bromance is the second in the series and would probably work best read in order since the characters and the world of the series is introduced in book one.
Liv Papandreas is one tough cookie and a fabulous pastry chef, but working for the rotten Royce has her counting down the days until she has the funds and can shove his spatula where the sun don’t shine and start her own restaurant. Unfortunately, one dropped expensive signature dessert and watching Royce sexually assault a co-worker has her fired and threatened that he’ll get her blackballed so she can’t get a job in Nashville. He’s got power and privilege, but she is determined to bring this slimy predator down even if it means teaming up with the annoying Braden Mack who claims he’s irresistible and, the scary part, he may be right.
Braden Mack has studied romance through novels like no other. He founded the Bromance Book Club and has helped a hundred marriages, but his last failed attempt at a relationship and the home truths she game him about trying too hard and being too perfect instead of real has rattled him. Then he feels worse when he was part of the reason Liv got fired. He wants to help, but the prickly pear woman wants him to go away. He discovers her mission and he hates knowing that he had associated with such a sleaze so insists on being her partner and dragging the Bromance Club into the caper with him. Liz hates liars and Braden knows his whole life is a lie. But, she could never love the truth, right?
Undercover Bromance is a book I really hesitated over. Liv was by far one of the most annoying characters I have ever read. She’s a loud mouth man-hater and she worked really hard to break up her sister’s marriage. It was obvious that it was all about her own issues which is what really irritated me. Braden was somewhat annoying in a bouncy, flirty puppy sort of way, too.
But, I did enjoy the author’s writing style and how she told a truly well-done second chance for a married pair. Plus, the guys of the Bromance Book Club- even Mack- are so fun. I gave it a chance and I’m so glad I did.
It helped that her own book got me inside Liv’s head. Her brash manners and ugly attitude were cover. She was so scared to trust and let herself feel. My heart went out to her. Speaking of hearts, she was so generous and brave to go after a powerful man who preyed on women and bullied people to get what he wanted. She knew the costs and charged in anyway.
Braden was also a surprise. All the smarm was hiding his own past pain and vulnerability. He, too, had a big generous heart. I was definitely on board with seeing them work through their issues to a chance at happy.
There was a fun and feisty secondary romance for Liv’s landlady out on the farm and I had a good time meeting both those characters. And, let’s not forget Randy the man-hating, horny rooster.
But, my ever-loving stars, people! I cracked up so hard over the Russian’s lactose-intolerance issues (yes, I have reverted back to grade-school humor) and each meeting with the guys of the club had me grinning especially as they discussed their books and how to apply them to real life relationship issues. ‘The Grand Gesture’ indeed.
As with book one, this romance brought together some deeper issues and showcased them- emotional neglect of a child and also abuse witnessed and felt of a child scarring the adults they became as well as the ugliness of sexual predators and abusive use of power toward employees. It worked into the story well and only gave more depth.
So, all in all, I enjoyed getting my mind changed about the two lead characters, the world of the stories, and the thoughtful, emotional writing. Those who enjoy fun and a little spicy, but also engagingly emotional Contemporary Romances where the guys are the romance students and experts should give this series a go.
My thanks to Berkley for providing the book to read in exchange for an honest review.
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