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Book CoverLawson’s review of Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet, book 2) by Nora Roberts
Contemporary romance released by Berkley 27 Oct 09

The second book of the Bride Quartet pairs Emma with Jack, and I’m sure there are many that have been waiting for this book. As cute as Mac and Carter were, Emma and Jack could be explosive (potentially). There is some of that, but also some very subtle insights into what makes a relationship work, between friends, lovers and others in between.

With one of the partners of Vows now engaged, the other members feel a bit jealous, but are very happy for Mac and Carter. Emma Grant has plenty to keep her busy to make her happy in other ways as well. Her flower business as part of Vows is doing extremely well and she’s surrounded by friends, family, and sometimes a new man. What Emma doesn’t expect is the sparks that fly when she gets stranded on the side of the road after a party and Jack Cooke comes to her rescue.

Jack has had an attraction to Emma for years, but he’s never known if she would return it and since she’s his best friend’s honorary sister he’s kept a hands off approach. When the sparks fly after an unexpected kiss, Jack knows it’s his time to try to get closer to Emma, in any way possible. What starts is a casual relationship that defies what Jack has expected of being with a woman and he gets more than comfortable with being with Emma.

With their past as friends as well as his past relationships, Jack works to keep things simple, but when deeper feelings are involved, his as well as Emma’s, Jack knows he has to change is views that overcome his past and work for a happy future.

Emma is one of those nice people that is annoying with her chipperness, but you can’t help but want to be friends with her anyway. Even with a sunny outlook on life, Emma is still a realist. She’s always had men around her, but she keeps things easy and makes sure there are not hurt feelings on either side when she knows things won’t work out. When she realizes she is really attracted to her good friend Jack, she works through her feelings before she jumps in the sack, which is always nice to see.

Jack is similar to Emma, though he’s been protective of himself due to his parent’s divorce. While Emma has had a large family and always seen the true love of her parents, Jack knows that’s rare and sometimes goes out of his way to protect his space. He’s still a great guy, very caring and understanding of Emma and gets surprised by how easy being with her and how necessary she is for his life.

Emma struggles throughout the story with keeping her feelings to herself so she doesn’t scare Jack away. While that makes sense with the way Jack has run from commitment and a friend turned lover would recognize that part of his character, Emma has a bit of an overreaction about his ingrained habits near the end of the book. However, I didn’t care. I completely understand how she felt in that moment and how she’d tried to show her love by caring for him in many different ways. Plus, Emma beat herself up enough and recognized her own faults as well as Jack’s, which made her such a well rounded and wonderful character.

It was a sweet and wonderful love story, not just for the romance between Jack and Emma, but both of their realism towards being in a relationship and the change from friends to lovers. It was also nice to see the continuation of Mac and Carter, as they plan for their wedding, the set up of the next book between Laurel and Del, and meeting Parker’s man (I think). Go get this series ASAP, you won’t be sorry.

Lawsons iconGrade: A-

As little girls MacKensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker spent hours acting out their perfect make believe “I do” moments. Years later their fantasies become reality when they start their own wedding planning company to make every woman’s dream day come true. With perfect flowers, delicious desserts, and joyful moments captured on film, Nora Roberts’s Bride Quartet shares each woman’s emotionally magical journey to romance.

In Bed of Roses, florist Emma Grant is finding career success with her friends at Vows wedding planning company, and her love life appears to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn’t found Mr. Right. And the last place she’s looking is right under her nose.

But that’s just where Jack Cooke is. He’s so close to the women of Vows that he’s practically family, but the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. When Emma returns his passion—kiss for blistering kiss—they must trust in their history…and in their hearts.

Read an excerpt