Author: Erin Nicholas
Series: Book #4 in the Promise Harbor Wedding series
Release Date: 30 April 2013
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Source: review copy provided by the author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Samhain, B&N, Read an excerpt
Grade: 4 stars
Goodreads appetizer: And she thought the bridesmaids dresses were her biggest problem…Allison Ralston would rather be anywhere other than this wedding. Even if the wedding is hers Especially since the wedding is hers.But Allie’s determined to restore her family’s happiness, and if tying the knot with longtime family friend, Josh Brewster, is the way to do it, then she’ll walk down that aisle, toss that bouquet and drink that champagne. Oh, she’ll definitely drink the champagne.There’s only one thing that could get Gavin Montgomery back to Promise Harbor. And she’s about to say I do to another man. Now he’s back to claim what’s his—even if he has to do it in the middle of her wedding.Allie is shocked—and okay, a little turned on—when Gavin literally sweeps her off her feet. Safe in his arms, she succumbs to fatigue, stress, and yes, the champagne, only to wake up in his bed. In Alaska.Now that he’s put four thousand miles between Allie and all her responsibilities, Gavin’s determined to show her that they can make a life together. If he has his way, the next wedding Allie will be planning will be theirs.Warning: Contains a guy so in love he’s willing to break up the wedding of the season, a bride who just needs to get to, well, anywhere else, and enough hot sex to take them from New England to Alaska and back again.
My Thoughts: Hitched is the 4th and final instalment of the Promise Harbor Wedding series (you might remember seeing my reviews of Jilted by Kelly Jamieson, Bolted by Meg Benjamin and Busted by Sydney Somers on the blog in the past couple of weeks).
After the groom, the matron of honour and the best man, we finally get to see the bride's version of the events in Hitched is, and I have to tell you I started Hitched with some trepidation because of Allie, the runaway bride and the heroine of Hitched. Why you might ask. Well for two reasons: 1) she left her fiancé, a nice guy through and through at the altar and disappeared for weeks without word to anyone, and 2) because she was about to get married with her ex-best friend's true love. But let's see if Hitched managed to redeem Allie in my eyes by showing us her side of the story...
From the previous instalments I already suspected that Allie and Josh's match was rather a marriage of convenience based on friendship and affection rather than passionate love, and here we were really shown how that was exactly the case. To Allie Josh acted more like a responsible, reliable big brother coming to the rescue, who was always there to lend his support and strength when the going got tough, and poor Allie didn't have it easy by losing her mom to cancer and having to take care of her family despite her own grief. I could see and understand how she took Josh as her escape from all the tiring responsibilities weighing her down, how nice it was to share her load with someone sympathetic and kind. I get that he was her rock and I even get why they would decide to get married, but they had absolutely no chemistry at all. It was like they were siblings or cousins.
As for the unforgivable breach of the Girlfriend Code by hooking up and almost marrying her best friend's love I have to say that Allie is acquitted: Josh was there as a shoulder to cry on and carry her burdens after her mom's death, and before developing anything with him she asked Devon whether it bothered her if she got together with Josh. Since Allie was in a daze following her mom's death she didn't pick up on the subtle clues in Devon's answer, when Devon said it was fine by her, she took that at face value. So in that aspect I absolve her as well.
But, somehow despite her justifying these offences, Allie was still a heroine I didn't grow to like much. She had that odd mixture of martyr and egocentric whining/vulnerability that although telegraphed to my brain that I should feel sorry for her (or at least be sympathetic) since she didn't have it easy, just didn't resonate with my heart and she mostly frustrated/irritated me.
Gavin, the hero on the other hand was a dream come true. He was wonderfully intense, determined and dedicated in showing and convincing Allie that he has become the man she needed. He was warm-hearted, tender and his powerful love, devotion and need to be there for Allie moved me.
“Being with you, right now, is better than anything I’ve had for a really long time,” she told him honestly. Couldn’t that be enough?
“I know.” His confidence was another thing that had always drawn her. That and his laid-back attitude. “But I don’t just want to be better. I want to be the best.”
“No,” he said, pushing himself up off the rug. “But I will be. The best thing in your life, the best thing to ever happen to you.”
“I’m trying to talk you into letting me show you that there’s more to me than roller-skating and eating dessert first.” He wasn’t looking at her but she could see the strain in his face. She’d always loved the roller-skating and dessert part of being with Gavin. But…this seemed important to him. Josh wasn’t a big dessert eater, period.
“But I love dessert,” she said weakly.
“You think of me for fun, but I don’t want to just be the extra stuff. I want to be…the main meal, what you need most. Hell, I want to be your vegetables.”
One of my favourite part of Hitched was reading about Allie and Gavin's history and all the little traditions they had back then, Erin Nicholas' typical chuckle-out-loud humour shone through those memories. It was clear they had lots of fun and that Gavin gave his best to try to cheer Allie up, even when he was younger and had no clue how to go about it:
“Do you remember the time you made up naughty versions of fairy tales for me?” Somehow she could tell he was smiling when he said, “Of course.”
“I especially liked the Cinderella story where she and Prince Charming got it on in the broom closet before midnight.” She felt him turn toward her. “And, of course, how Hansel propositioned the witch to get him and Gretel out of trouble,” she said. Gavin lifted his hand to her head, stroking her hair. Allie kept her eyes shut, breathing deep of his scent, which was even more energizing than the fresh, natural air. “And who could forget what the frog really needed from the princess to turn human?”
“What if I tell you that I’ve come up with a few stories of my own?” she asked.
“It won’t matter.”
“You don’t think I can distract you with a story about Snow White and the seven dwarfs?”
“You’re going to turn a beloved childhood story into a gang bang?” She smiled.
“Well, I hardly think any dwarfs would be grumpy or sleepy if that was going on. You have a dirty mind.” “Yes, I do. More so when you’re around.”
“One of your most endearing traits, in my opinion.” His eyes narrowed slightly.
The chemistry between Allie and Gavin was undeniable. And what pulled at my heartstrings was the deeper, emotional connection they shared, or at least that Gavin wanted to share with Allie:
“What are you doing?” she finally asked, turning to him. “You don’t want to go to Promise Harbor.”
“No, I don’t,” he said honestly.
“Then why are you here?”
The first words that came to mind made the most sense. “Because I need to hold your hand, and I can’t do that unless I’m in Promise Harbor with you.”
Gavin turned his attention fully on Allie. “You will call me,” he said firmly. “I might suck at this at first, but you will call me and give me a chance. And I’ll get better at it.” Something warm spread through her chest, and she felt the vise that had been squeezing her heart loosen. She smiled. “A chance at what?” she teased lightly. She actually really appreciated his honesty about not knowing what he was doing exactly. The bumbling attempt outside his comfort zone meant more than all the perfect words and actions from everyone else in the past two years.
“The chance to be there,” he said with a little grimace.
Verdict: Hitched was a nice conclusion to the series and I was glad to see Allie's side of the story. Although she managed to redeem herself when it came to the charges brought against her in the previous novels since I now understand her reasons and her side of the story better, yet she just isn't a heroine I much liked. On the one hand she acted like a self-sacrificing martyr while on the other hand only seeing the world centred around her (it may sound contradictory but she managed to realize them both). She just read like a weak heroine and I couldn't grow to like her character. However, Gavin, the hero was swoon-worthy. I loved his determination and intensity. His deep love and devotion for Allie is what made Hitched such a great love story. I found that at the end things were tied off way too conveniently with a bow making everyone happy and in love, and thus leaving me with a pinch of disappointment at the easy way out.
Characters: 7/10 - loved Gavin but Allie irritated me too much
Ending: 7/10 - it was tied off way too conveniently with a bow making everyone happy and in love
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.
Book #1 - Jilted by Kelly Jamieson
Book #2 - Bolted by Meg Benjamin
Book #3 - Busted by Syndey Somers
Book #4 - Hitched by Erin Nicholas