Destination wedding planner Gussie McBain needs a man . . . specifically, a wedding photographer. Just her luck that the shutterbug she runs into is more used to snapping pictures of glamorous models in couture gowns than brides in white lace. But Gussie’s never been one to let bad odds stop her from a good gamble, so she asks for a favor she never dreams superstar TJ DeMille will actually grant.
Tom DeMille lives his life exactly as he pleases—always alone. In fact, he’s got that motto tattooed in Greek on his arm. But when Tom is suddenly saddled with guardianship of his twelve-year-old niece, he’ll lose more than his freedom if he can’t figure out how to take care of her. Then an alluring young woman with pink hair and a sassy mouth shows up at his door, and he agrees to do the unthinkable . . . photograph a wedding in exchange for some help with his niece.
As they work together, Tom begins to take down the walls Gussie has erected around herself to discover a truly beautiful and tender woman he knows he could love. But will his own heartache and refusal to lay down roots prevent him from giving Gussie the family life she craves . . . or could she be the one woman who can finally break his vow of solitude?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Ever since I picked up my first St. Claire book, I’ve been a huge fan. I really enjoyed her Barefoot series, so when she added a new trilogy about wedding planners, I was super excited to read more!
Gussie loves the world of fashion, so when she runs into one of her favorite photographers, she can’t believe how lucky she is. But getting Tom to agree to show a wedding when he is used to shooting the covers of Vogue, is harder than Gussie expected. Lucky enough, Gussie has something Tom wants, the ability to connect with his niece.
Tom never wanted to settle down, but getting custody of his sister’s only child sends him into a tailspin. The only person able to reach her is Gussie, so Tom is desperate to get Gussie to help anyway she can. But the more time they spend together, the more Tom falls for Gussie and makes him want to change his traveling ways.
I’m enjoying this wedding planner series, and can’t wait to read the next one. I think the relationship between the three best friends and heroines is absolutely fabulous. I love to read about strong women who support each other and love each other, and these three have it in spades. They push one another to be better, to be open to things that will change their lives, and to find happiness anywhere and everywhere they can. I love seeing that bond play out on the pages and hope that it continues to grow as the series continues.
I was really excited to learn more about Gussie, especially since she always made it a point to cover herself with wigs and extensive make-up. Getting to hear her backstory, and see the way she handled dealing with all of it was so perfect. I love the way that St. Claire was able to wrap up some of her history and give her the kind of happy ending that she never imagined possible. I was rooting for Gussie non-stop, so getting to see all of her issues come to a happy conclusion was amazing.
As for Tom, while there were a lot of things I liked about him, there were a few things I didn’t. He came across as so cold and closed off, especially after learning more about his backstory. Without giving too much away, I thought for sure that someone who had gone through his life experiences would be able to at least attempt to find common ground with his niece who just lost her mother. I expected more from him, and was a little disappointed that it took him so long to get to the point where he could open his heart.
The romance between Tom and Gussie was one that definitely took its time developing. There was no jumping into bed for these two. They took the time to build up their friendship, and I liked that Gussie was able to recognize that Tom couldn’t give her what she needed. It made me respect her a hell of a lot more that she was mature enough to deal with that. I liked their slowburn romance, and have to admit that their big issue at the end had me in tears.
All in all, I really enjoyed the second book in the Barefoot Bay Brides series. Despite the fact that I wanted and needed a little more from Tom, I adored Gussie and thought their romance was pretty solid. I’m interested to see how the final book in the trilogy plays out, and where St. Claire will take the series next.
I give Barefoot in Lace a B-