No Weddings by Kat Bastion & Stone Bastion
Series: No Weddings #1
Source: Review by Request
ARC Provided by the Publisher
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Award-winning author Kat Bastion teams with her husband, Stone Bastion, in this first book in the No Weddings Series about Cade Michaelson, a successful man with his sights set on a new venture in business, and Hannah Martin, the woman who makes it personal.
I think I have my act together as a successful bar owner, my master’s degree within reach, and a list of no-strings-attached women warming my bed. Turns out, I don’t.
Hannah believes she has safeguarded her wounded heart by shunning men and focusing on her new baking business. The thing is, she hasn’t.
When my three sisters and I form an event-planning business with Hannah as our baker, I have no idea how my life is about to change. As Hannah and I work closely together, the attraction between us becomes irresistible. And complicated. I’ve promised my sisters I wouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But I’ve never been one to follow the rules.
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Adorable and unexpected…
“…Real love is messy. It’s fights, but more about the making up. It’s pulling apart to find our own paths, but running together and holding on tight, refusing to let go. Love is the calm in the middle of the storm.”
Don’t freak out over what I’m about to tell you…
There was NO SEX in this book.
This is still a 4+ Star read with fabulous romance, witty dialogue, a fun cast of characters… And most importantly, it made me want to read the rest of the series.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a book that didn’t have some sex in it. I’m a Professional Reader of Erotica. I don’t usually receive a copy of a book unless someone’s rod-A winds up in someone else’s slot-B.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book and all it had to offer.
Superficial pleasure helped burry the pain. Had the rules of the game changed? Maybe. Perhaps enough time had passed for me to reassess what the fuck I’d been doing with my life.
The entire book is told from Cade’s POV. He is the youngest of five children, and the only boy. His relationship with his older sisters was a joy to watch – their lovable banter and antics were a fabulous addition to this story.
Cade starts off as your classic man-whore character. Scarred by a past relationship, he shuns emotional commitment in favor of regular sexual encounters with a list of women. Literally. He keeps a list.
He is a brilliant businessman who already has a few successful ventures, even though he is still studying for his MBA. The newest project: Staring an Event Planning company with his sisters called Invitation Only. There are two important rules in this new company – they don’t do weddings, and Cade has to keep it in his pants. Now they just need to find the perfect baker…
Enter Hanna, who is an amazingly talented artist. She’s exactly the kind of baker needed to compliment their trendy new company. Unfortunately, the “No Weddings” rule might be a deal breaker for a woman who makes beautiful cakes for a living. She’s playing hardball, and Cade suddenly becomes responsible for getting her to sign on the dotted line…
…a girl I’d never seen coming, one I’d never thought existed behind her ice-queen mask, had breached my outer defenses. Unaware if the danger, I’d let someone unexpected into my heart. And it scared the fuck out of me to lose the ground we gained, but the temptation of an even greater possibility kept gnawing at me.
Hannah is also guarding her heart, a devastating betrayal left her hiding behind emotional walls and a frosty demeanor. She’s been focused on opening her bakery (called Sweet Dreams) where she creates artistic confections with ease, but could really use some help on the business end of things…
Enter Cade, who is offering her an exclusive contract with Invitation Only, and lessons in marketing for her growing business. Their strategy sessions lead to a warm friendship, and a hard-to-ignore sexual attraction.
I really felt the love growing between these two…
There’s something to be said for a romance where the main characters believably fall in love before falling into bed… I know that’s probably some sort of sacrilege, and I love book sex as much as the next chick… But seriously.
Sex will always be more vibrant when honest emotion is involved.
All too often characters will have a wild sexy night and the rest of the book winds up being about the guy proving that he’s not a player anymore… you can practically hear the thought process: “Hey, this is a really awesome vagina, I think I’ll stay here”
That’s not what I found in the pages of this book. The friendship and sexual chemistry led to some serious UST, but it also made me believe that these two are perfect for each other.
Respect but not worship – There is a difference. Cade respects Hannah as a friend and business partner; he doesn’t place her on a pedestal of perfection. Both characters are human: flawed and broken, but not irreparably so. Neither believes that they are unworthy or incapable of love or anything ridiculous like that. They just need to take the time to find the path together…
I can’t wait to continue the series and see how these crazy kids balance their blossoming romance as well as their growing business!
“You’re not nervous, are you?”
Her head began to shake, but then turned into a nod.
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. We are two people in an ancient gazebo that I played in as a boy. And all the boy is asking for is a dance.” I extended an arm toward her.
A smile lit her face in the shadows, and she came to me, stepping into my arms. “I am not leaping between the benches like in the movie.”
I pulled her close, and she molded her body into mine, pressing her cheek into my chest. “Never. I wouldn’t dream of it.” Full body contact was all I wanted.
“Too bad it isn’t raining like in the movie.” Her absent-minded comment was toned with innocence.
“Yeah, too bad.” Mine was breathy, tinged with undertones of meaning. Imagining Hannah with her flimsy silk ball gown plastered to her body—her lack of underthings body—did things to me.
I pressed us closer together with my arms, wanting her to know what she did to me. No inhibiting denim held me restrained tonight. And I didn’t wear underthings either.
“You’re…” Her voice had dropped to a breathy whisper.
“You started it.” Yeah. I was twelve. I blamed the gazebo.
Hannah laughed softly. “I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not.”
The slow jazzy song ended. Silence followed. We continued swaying around to our own rhythm. I felt like I could dance with her forever, hidden in our private garden, mixing great memories of my past and present.
My gaze fell on the bottle. In spite of my not wanting an intimate moment to end, the band had taken leave, and there was only so much close proximity a man in need could handle.
“Let’s make a toast to tonight.” On a deep, determined breath, I broke away, striding over to the bottle.
With a few quick twists, I pulled off the wiring and wrapper. Hannah joined me, but eyed the frayed wood on the bench.
I grabbed my jacket from the railing and spread it on the splintering surface. I bowed deeply. “A gentleman covers a puddle for the lady.”
“Most obliged.” She dipped her head and spun around. And although she could’ve sat in the center, she chose to sit closest to me, her silk-covered thigh pressing into my mine.
She looked beautiful. Dark eyes sparkling. Waves of hair tumbling down one shoulder. The barest fabric teasing across a body meant to be…
I took another cleansing breath. Then I gripped the cork steady in my left hand, grabbed the base of the bottle with my right, and slowly twisted the bottle. The cork gave way with a pop! and frothy foam poured out as I tilted it away.
I swallowed hard.
On another breath, I wiped my mind clear and focused on the beautiful woman looking up at me expectantly. I raised the bottle. “To a Julie Andrews musical and childhood memories.”
She reached up, placing her hands over mine. “To new memories. And musicals.”
I pulled the bottle down. “Oh, no. I don’t do musicals.”
She bit her lip, then smiled wide. “Oh, yes. You do.”
I shook my head. “No.”
She nodded, grinning wider. “Yes. It’s a nonnegotiable point.”
I sighed, lowering the Champagne bottle. “One.”
“I can live with that. One.”
I angled my head, glaring at her. “But not on the first date.”
She burst out laughing. “Seriously? Okay. We should make a rule, though.”
“Date rules? Like how far we can go without seeing a musical? Fine. Fifth.” If I had to attend a cheesy musical, it would be at the last possible moment.
“Fourth. And since we’re paralleling date rules? I also mean sex.”
“Done.” Her eyes gleamed with humor.
In the history of dating, I’d be willing to bet no man has ever made an appointment for sex and a musical on the third date. I raised the bottle and took a healthy swig, then passed it to her, casting her a sidelong glance. “Shrewd. I’m impressed.”
Then she wrapped those full lips around the bottle opening.
The third date? I didn’t know how I would make it that long.
Kat & Stone Bastion have graciously offered one signed paperback of this fabulous book to one lucky Smutsonian reader! Open Internationally! You can enter here:
About the Authors:
Award-winning and bestselling romance author Kat Bastion has teamed up with her husband Stone Bastion to create the new contemporary romance series No Weddings.
A few factoids about the writing team…
Kat enjoys her chocolate rich and dark, her music edgy and soul-filling, and her vacations exotic with toes dug into the sand. And she’s wildly, madly, deeply in love with Stone.
Stone likes pounding the trails on a mountain bike, vibrating the sound system with rock music, and down time spent on a stand up paddleboard. And he loves Kat wildly, madly, deeply…and then some.
Together, they’re having a blast bringing fun-filled romantic stories to life and hope you’ll join them in the exciting adventure.
Kat’s first published work, Utterly Loved, was a twentieth anniversary gift of love poems to Stone that they decided to share with the world to benefit charity. Net proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of net proceeds from all their books, go toward charities involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Kat and Stone live amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona.