The Best Man’s Baby
by Victoria James
Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she's adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime...
Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook's daughter pregnant wasn't part of any life plan, but he won't run from his responsibilities. He'll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn't have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn't with anyone--the truth and his heart.
Claire Holbrook has been the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect girl. She had been very nice to everyone all her life, she never wanted anything more than Jake Manning. She had nursed her feelings far too long. Until one night, she got reckless, and threw cautions into the wind when she decided to spend one night with him. But the morning after, he flew and never called her.
Six weeks later, Claire handed Jake the biggest surprise of his life in front of his family, in the most surprising gesture you can ever imagine. (This was one of my favorite parts, I swear!!!) Claire decided she had it with playing nice to everyone, she decided to live her life, fight for what she wants and take care of the baby whether Jake wanted to be a part of it or not. For a very long time, she had envisioned Jake proposing to her – only that it includes hearts and flowers, and of course a ring. Not a baby.
She was Holly’s best friend. She was Minister Holbrook’s daughter. She was the good-girl. And there wasn’t a good bone in his entire body.
Getting Claire pregnant wasn’t a part of his plan. But the moment she dropped the bomb on him, he knew he had to man up and face his responsibilities. After all, this was Claire, Minister’s Holbrook’s daughter. His heart ached when Claire had it all planned without him in the picture. After all, he could not blame her, he ran away from her before the sperm even fertilized the egg. This was different now, he wanted to be a part of the child’s life – he would insist on it. Spending time with Claire, knowing her more just makes him want to get closer. No matter how hard he resist her – this perfect girl, who is too perfect, too good for him might just have stolen his heart before he knew what was happening. His past, however, is hanging above them. Will he be able to be the perfect husband and father or will he allow his dark past to ruin it all for him?
These two characters made a surprisingly pleasant change as story goes. Claire had become feisty, brave, knows what she wants and is not afraid to go for it. Jake, on the other hand, is pretty much amazing! He got scared after that night and purposely ran off, but after she told him about the baby, he wants nothing else but to be a part of it, a part of their lives. He had been a lonely boy for a long time, keeping a painful secret that has been crushing him to pieces. His life is finally getting better, his plans are in order, he has a future, a legacy to offer his child. She tried to fight him off, but the long-standing attraction and her long-time feelings for him were stronger.
The secondary characters were great as well, especially Holly, Jake’s brother and Quinn. They might have relentlessly teased him about the barbeque-incident, but they have his back all the time. I might have started hating Claire’s mom at the beginning, but you are in for a big surprise in the end. I’m totally sure that you will adore her as well.
I laughed out loud, cried a little, broke my heart and fell in love. Theirs was a story I desperately wanted a happy ending for. The both of them deserved it after all that they have been through in the past. Victoria James made a remarkable novel that will make you swoon, sigh and giddy with romance. This might have been an old plot, but Victoria James will surprise you with its twists, and turns. She made sure I (and I’m sure every readers) will remember The Best Man’s Baby for a long, long time. (Most especially when I’m eating burger.)
*ARC Copy was given in exchange for an honest review.
“I never had you pegged as a whiskey drinker,” a deep voice said close to her ear. Her body and mind recognized that voice at the exact same time. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
He’d come back. Jake was the only man who could fill the void that was threatening to consume her tonight. She could feel the heat emanating off his body. He was standing directly behind her, close enough that if she leaned back an inch or so, she would be against Jake Manning’s hard chest. She slowly turned around, heart hammering, senses buzzing, and looked up into his blue eyes. Try to be cool, Claire. Sultry. “And what kind of drink do you think I would have ordered?”
A leisurely smile graced his handsome face, revealing straight white teeth. “A Shirley Temple.”
Her mouth dropped open. The man thought she was a child. “Thanks,” she muttered, determined tonight she would change his opinion of her. “I bet you your Harley you don’t know a thing about me.” She finished off the remains of her whiskey and licked the moisture from her lips. Jake’s gaze went from her mouth to her eyes, and then he took a drink. He placed his empty glass on the counter, his arm brushing against her bare shoulder.
“Can I buy you another one?”
“It’s an open bar, but I guess old habits die hard. Woman at bar. Buy drink. Score,” she said, tapping her finger against his hard chest.
“I’ll have you know it takes a lot more skill than that,” he murmured, his voice low and delicious, each syllable resonating inside her body.
“I’ve seen the women you hang out with. I’m sure it doesn’t.”
“I wasn’t aware you were keeping tabs on me.”
Victoria James always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples) and a cardboard cover and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.
In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill the dream of writing romantic fiction.
Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after's for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she's quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.
Victoria loves connecting with readers, you can find her online at www.victoriajames.ca and on Twitter: @vicjames101