Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
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***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2019 Lyssa Kay Adams
There was a reason Gavin Scott rarely drank.
He was bad at it.
As in, face-planted on the carpet while reaching for the bottle bad. And too drunk to see in the dark so might as well stay down bad.
Which is why he didn’t get up when his best friend and Nashville Legends teammate, Delray Hicks, pounded on the door to his hotel room, a fourth-floor state of depression that reminded him every minute that he could at least screw up like a champion.
“Izz open,” Gavin slurred.
The door swung wide. Del flipped on a blinding overhead light and immediately swore. “Shit. Man down.” He turned and spoke to someone else. “Help me.”
Del and another giant human lumbered toward him until their four massive hands grabbed his shoulders. In an instant, he was upright and leaning against the shitty couch that had come with the room. The ceiling spun, and his head fell back against the cushions.
“Come on.” Del smacked his cheek. “Look alive.”
Gavin sucked on air and managed to lift his head. He blinked twice but then ground the heels of his hands into his eye sockets. “I’m drunk.”
“No shit,” Del said. “What have you been drinking?”
Gavin lifted his hand to point at the bottle of craft bourbon on the coffee table. It had been a gift from a local distillery to every member of the team at the end of their season a few weeks ago. Del swore again. “Shit, man. Why not just pour grain alcohol down your throat?”
“Didn’t have any.”
“I’ll get some water,” said the other guy—whose blurry face sort of resembled Braden Mack, owner of several Nashville night clubs, but that made zero sense. Why would he be there? They’d only met once at a charity golf thing. Since when were he and Del friends?
A third man suddenly walked in, and this time Gavin recognized him. It was one of his teammates, Yan Feliciano. “Como es el?”
How is he? Gavin understood that. Holy shit, he could speak Spanish when he was drunk.
Del shook his head. “He’s about one shot away from listening to Ed Sheeran.”
Gavin hiccupped. “No me gusta Ed Sheeran.”
“Shut up,” Del said.
“I don’t stutter when I’m Spanish.” Gavin hiccupped again. Something sour came up with it this time. “When ‘m drunk.”
Yan swore. “Que paso?”
“Thea asked for a divorce,” Del said.
Yan made a sound of disbelief. “My wife said there was a rumor about them having trouble, but I didn’t believe it.”
“Bleeveve it,” Gavin groaned, dropping his head against the couch. A divorce. His wife of three years, the mother of his twin daughters, the woman who made him realize there really was a thing called love at first sight, was done with him. And it was his own fucking fault.
“Drink this,” Del said, handing Gavin a bottle of water. And then, speaking to Yan again, said, “He’s been staying here for the past two weeks.”
“She kicked me out,” Gavin said, dropping the unopened water.
“Because you’ve been acting like a douchebag.”
Del shook his head. “I warned you, man.”
“I told you she’d get sick of your ass if you didn’t get your head out of it.”
“I know.” Gavin growled it this time, lifting his head. Too fast. He did it too fast. A wave of nausea warned that the bourbon was making a run for the nearest exit. Gavin swallowed and drew in a deep breath, but, oh shit . . . sweat dampened his forehead and his armpits.
“Oh fuck, he’s turning green,” Might-Be-Braden-Mack yelled.
Massive hands grabbed him again and hauled him to his feet. They barely touched the floor as Del and Pretty-Sure-It-Was-Mack dragged him to the bathroom. Gavin stumbled to the toilet just as something the color of bad decisions exploded from his mouth. Mack swore with a gag and bolted. Del stayed, even when Gavin grunted like a tennis player in her backswing and heaved several more times.
“You never could handle the hard stuff,” Del said.
“I’m dying,” Gavin groaned, falling to one knee.
“You’re not dying.”
“Then put me out of my mishery.”
“Trust me. I’m tempted.”
Gavin fell onto his ass and leaned against the beige bathroom wall. His knee collided with the beige tub hidden by a plastic, beige shower curtain. He made $15 million a year and was stuck in a shittier hotel room than his days as a minor leaguer. He could afford way better, but this was punishment. Self-imposed. He’d let his pride ruin the best thing that ever happened to him.
Del flushed the toilet and closed it. He walked out and returned a moment later with the water. “Drink. I mean it this time.”
Gavin opened the bottle and sucked down half. After a few minutes, the room was no longer spinning. “What are they doing here?”
“You’ll find out.” Del sat down on the lid of the toilet and leaned forward, elbows on knees. “You all right?”
“No.” Gavin’s throat convulsed. Shit. He was going to lose it in front of Del. He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed the pad of his thumb into the space between his eyebrows.
“You go ahead and cry, man,” Del said, tapping Gavin’s foot with the toe of his sneaker. “No shame in that.”
Gavin propped his head against the wall as twin tears rolled down his cheeks. “I can’t believe I lost her.”
“You’re not going to lose her.”
“She w-w-wants a divorce, asshole.”
Del didn’t react to his stutter. No one on the team did anymore, mostly because Gavin had stopped trying to fight it around them. Which was one more in a long list of things he had Thea to thank for. Before he met her, he was self-conscious, hesitant to speak even in front of people he knew. But Thea was completely unfazed the first time he stuttered in front of her. She didn’t try to finish his sentence, didn’t look away in discomfort. She just waited until he got the words out. No one else besides his family had ever made him feel like he was more than just an awkward, stammering jock.
Which made it that much more of a betrayal when he discovered her lie a month ago. And that’s what it felt like. A lie.
His wife had been faking it in bed their entire marriage.
“Did she say that?” Del asked. “Or did she say she thinks it’s time to think about divorce?”
“What’s the fucking difference?”
“One means she’s definitely done with you. The other means you might still have a chance.”
Gavin rolled his head against the wall in sloppy disagreement. “There’s no chance. You didn’t hear her voice. It was like talking to a stranger.”
Del stood and towered over him. “Do you want to fight for your marriage?”
“Yes.” Jesus, yes. More than anything. And shit, now his throat was closing again.
“What are you willing to do?”
“Do you mean that?”
“W-w-what the fuck? Of course, I mean it.”
“Good.” Del offered his hand. “Then come on.”
Gavin let Del pull him to his feet and then followed him back into the main room. His body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds as he stumbled toward the couch and collapsed onto the cushions.
“Nice place you got here, Scott,” Mack said, emerging from the kitchenette area. He polished a green apple on his shoulder and then took a large, loud bite.
“That’s mine,” Gavin grumbled.
“You weren’t eating it.”
“I was going to eat it.”
“Sure. Right after you reached the bottom of that bottle.”
Gavin flipped him off.
“Knock it off,” Del ordered Mack. “We’ve all been where he is.”
Wait. What? What the hell did that mean?
Yan claimed the seat on the opposite end of the couch and clunked his cowboy boots onto the coffee table. Mack leaned against the wall.
Del looked at them both. “What do you guys think?”
Mack took another bite and spoke with his mouth full. “I don’t know. You really think he can handle it?”
Gavin dragged his hand down his face. He felt like he’d walked into the middle of a movie. A crappy one. “Can someone please explain to me wh-what’s going on?”
Del crossed his arms. “We’re going to save your marriage.”
Gavin snorted, but the three pairs of eyes looking back at him were serious. He groaned. “I’m screwed.”
“You said you were willing to do anything to get Thea back,” Del said.
“Yes,” Gavin mumbled.
“Then I need you to be honest.”
Gavin tensed. Del lowered himself onto the coffee table. It protested under his six-four frame.
“Tell us what happened.”
“I told you. She said—”
“I don’t mean tonight. What happened?”
Gavin darted a glance at all three men. Even if Yan and Eating-My-Apple-Mack weren’t there, Gavin wouldn’t talk about that. It was too humiliating. It would be bad enough to admit that he couldn’t satisfy his own wife in bed, but to also have to own up to the special kind of dumbfuckery that made him freak out, move into the guest room, punish his wife with the silent treatment, and refuse to hear her explanations because his ego was too fucking fragile to handle it? Yeah, no. He’d keep that to himself, thank you very much.
“I can’t tell you,” he finally mumbled.
“We’re talking about your marriage. Of course, it’s personal,” Del said.
“But this is too—”
Mack cut him off with a frustrated noise. “He’s asking if you cheated on her, slapnuts.”
Gavin swiveled his head to glare at Del. “Is that what you think? You actually think I would cheat on her?” Just the thought made him want to bend over the toilet again and evacuate what remained of his liquid dinner.
“No,” Del said. “But we have to ask. It’s a rule. We don’t help cheaters.”
“Who the hell is we? What the fuck is going on?”
“You said she seemed like a stranger last night,” Del said. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe she is a stranger?”
Gavin shot him a what the fuck look.
“All spouses become strangers to each other at some point in a marriage,” Del said. “All human beings are a work in progress, and we don’t all change at the same pace. Who knows how many people have gotten divorced simply because they failed to recognize that what they thought were insurmountable problems were actually just temporary phases?” Del spread his hands wide. “But hell, you two? It’s a wonder you two ever got to know each other at all.”
“Is this supposed to be making me feel b-b-better?”
“You guys dated, what, four months before she got pregnant?”
Mack coughed into his hand. It sounded like the word shotgun.
“Right,” Del continued. “And the next thing you knew, you were getting married on a whim in a courthouse, and before the twins were even born you got called up to the bigs? Hell, Gavin, you’ve been on the road most of your marriage while she’s been raising those girls practically on her own in a strange city. You think she’s going to be the same person after all that?”
No, but dammit, that wasn’t the problem with him and Thea. Sure, she had changed. So had he. But they were good parents, and they were happy. At least, he thought they were happy.
Del shrugged casually and sat up straight. “Look, all I’m saying is that our careers are hard enough on couples who date for years and know exactly what they’re in for before getting married. But you two jumped into the deep end of the pool with no life jackets. No marriage can survive that, even in the best circumstances. Not without some help.”
“It’s a little late for counsheling.”
“No, it’s not. But that’s not what I’m talking about, anyway.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
Del ignored him and instead eyed Yan and Mack again. “Well?”
“I say yes,” Yan said. “He’ll be useless to us next season if we don’t get them back together.”
Mack shrugged. “I’m good, if only to get him out of here. Because goddamn, dude.” He gestured widely at the room.
Gavin slumped toward Yan. “How do I say fuck off in Spanish?”
Mack took a final bite of the apple and tossed the core over his shoulder. It landed perfectly in the sink. Gavin hated him more than anyone else in the entire world. “My daughters gave me that apple.”
“Oops,” Mack said.
“Listen up,” Del said. “Sleep this off tonight. Tomorrow night, you’ll meet us for your first official meeting.”
“First official meeting of what?”
“The solution to all your problems.”
They stared at him as if that explained everything. “That’s it?”
“One more thing,” Del said. “Under no circumstances are you to go see your wife.”
Nothing on Earth is as strong as a woman who’s good and fed up.
Of all the bits of folksy wisdom her Gran Gran had imparted over the years, Thea Scott hoped at least that one was true because, holy crap, this sledgehammer weighed a ton. Four attempts to hit her mark had only resulted in a minor dent in the wall and a major pulled muscle in her back. But dammit, Thea was not giving up. Three years they’d lived in this house, and for three years she’d been fantasizing about knocking this wall down.
Seeing how her marriage had officially come crumbling down yesterday, it only seemed fair that today it should be the wall’s turn.
Besides, Thea really, really needed to hit something.
She swung the sledgehammer one more time with a grunt. Finally, the heavy end connected with a satisfying thud and left a gaping hole. With a whoop of victory, Thea yanked the hammer free and poked her face into her handiwork. She could almost feel the light from the other side just waiting to burst free from its sensibly beige prison. Who the hell would put a wall there, anyway? What architect in their right mind would separate the living room from the dining room and block all that glorious light from flowing through the downstairs?
Thea swung again, and a second hole joined the first. A chunk of drywall dropped to her feet as dust coughed into the air and coated her arms. Holy crap, that felt good.
Panting from exertion, Thea let the hammer fall to the plastic tarp she’d bought to protect the hardwood floor. Massaging her shoulder with one hand, she turned and surveyed the living room. Yes. Right here. Right by the French doors to the backyard. This was the perfect spot for her easel and paints. Someday, after finishing her degree, maybe she’d have her own art studio. But for now, she’d be satisfied just to paint again. She hadn’t touched a blank canvas since the girls were born. Her greatest creative accomplishment these days was dyeing her white T-shirts to make the stains seem intentional.
She’d tried to make it work, the wall. She’d hung family photos in quirky patterns. Framed the girls’ handprints and artwork. Displayed Gavin’s favorite bat from high school. All with the idea that someday she’d fix it. Someday she would paint it a more vibrant color. Or maybe add built-ins. Or someday just knock the entire damn thing down and start over.
Thea knew someday had arrived the instant she woke up this morning, eyes still swollen from a weak moment in the middle of the night when she’d cried in the bathroom with a fist pressed against her mouth to smother the sound.
Tears were pointless. Regrets wouldn’t help her start over. There was only one way to move forward, and that was to come out swinging.
So after breakfast, Thea sent the girls off to dance class with her sister, Liv, who’d been living with her since Gavin left. And then Thea dug out her old paint overalls, drove to the local hardware, and bought the sledgehammer.
“You know how to use this?” the man at the counter asked. His arched eyebrow screamed mansplainer.
Thea curled her lips into a semblance of a smile. “Yep.”
“Make sure your strongest hand is at the butt of the handle.”
“Yep. I got it.” Thea shoved the change in her pocket.
The man tugged on his suspenders. “Whatcha knockin’ down?”
“Patriarchal power structures.”
“Make sure it’s not load-bearing first.”
The need to hit something surged again like a bad case of Twitter rage. Thea hoisted the sledgehammer onto her shoulder, but just as she started to swing, the front door flew open. The girls ran inside, their tutus bouncing over little pink tights and their blonde pigtails swinging in unison. Their golden retriever, Butter Ball, patiently followed behind like a K9 nanny. Her sister, Liv, brought up the rear, holding Butter’s leash.
“Mommy, what are you doing?” Amelia asked, screeching to a halt, a combination of awe and trepidation in her tiny voice. Thea didn’t blame her. Mommy probably didn’t look like Mommy right now.
“I’m knocking down a wall,” Thea said, keeping her voice light.
“Aw, yeah,” Liv said, rubbing her hands together. “I’m getting in on this action.” Dropping Butter’s leash, she crossed the room and reached for the sledgehammer. “Can I pretend it’s his face?”
“Liv,” Thea warned quietly. She knew her sister wouldn’t intentionally say anything bad about Gavin in front of the girls. They’d both learned the hard way that the only people who suffer when one parent badmouths the other are the children. But Liv’s mouth had a way of acting on its own sometimes. Like now.
“Whose face, Aunt Livvie?” Amelia asked.
Thea shot an I told you so look at her sister.
“My boss,” Liv answered quickly. Liv worked for a notoriously tyrannical celebrity chef at a famous Nashville restaurant. Liv complained about him enough that the girls didn’t question whether Liv was telling the truth or not.
“Can we hit the wall too?” Amelia asked.
“This is dangerous grown-up work,” Thea said. “But you can watch.”
Liv swung hard with a Tarzan cry and knocked another chunk of drywall to the floor. The girls cheered and jumped up and down. Ava let out a whoop and karate kicked the air. Amelia attempted a cartwheel. It was officially on in the living room.
“Damn, that felt good,” Liv said, handing the sledgehammer back to Thea. “We need music for this.”
As Thea took possession of the tool once again, Liv dug out her cell phone, swiped the screen a few times, and then the Bluetooth speakers throughout the house blared with the voice of Aretha Franklin demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Liv grabbed Gavin’s bat from the floor, held it like a microphone, and started belting out the lyrics. She extended her hand to Thea, so Thea joined in for the girls’ benefit, who laughed as if the impromptu concert was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.
And just like that, she and Liv were teenagers again, singing at the top of their lungs in the stuffy bedroom they shared at Gran Gran’s house. It was there, while their mother was off finding herself in a haze of anger and alimony and their father was too busy cheating on wife number two to pay attention to his daughters, that they memorized P!nk songs and promised to never trust a man, to never be as weak as their mother or as selfish as their father, and to always protect each other.
It was them against the world. Always.
And now again. Only this time, Thea didn’t just have a little sister to protect. She had to protect the girls. And she would. No matter what it took. She would make sure they never knew what it was like to grow up surrounded by tension or as the pawn between two warring parents.
A swell of sudden emotion stung the corners of Thea’s eyes as an ache spread through her chest. Her voice caught on the lyrics as her throat convulsed. Spinning away from the girls, she swiped at her face.
Liv casually covered for her. “Hey, girls. Run upstairs and change your clothes, OK? First one to the stairs gets to pick the movie tonight.”
The promise of competition sent the girls scrambling toward the stairs. Seconds later, the song quieted.
“You OK?” Liv asked.
A painful lump blocked Thea’s voice. “What if I’ve already hurt them?”
“You haven’t,” Liv said sharply. “You are the best mom I have ever known.”
“All I wanted, have ever wanted, was to give them a life that we never had. To give them safety and security and—”
Liv grabbed Thea’s shoulders and turned her around. “He’s the one who moved out.”
“Yes, because I told him to go.” She hadn’t been able to take one more minute of the cold shoulder after nearly a month of him refusing to talk about anything and pouting in the guest room. Two toddlers in the household were her limit.
“And he couldn’t go fast enough,” Liv said.
True. Still, guilt gnawed at Thea’s edges. There were things Liv didn’t know. Gavin was wrong to react the way he did when he discovered Thea had been faking it in bed, but Thea shouldn’t have let him find out that way. “It takes two people to ruin a relationship.”
Liv tilted her head. “Sure, but I’m your sister, which means I’m biologically predisposed to only take your side.”
They stared quietly at each other, silently thanking God once again that they had at least one person they could always count on.
Thea once thought Gavin was that person too.
Damn him! Thea retrieved the sledgehammer. It was time to stand on her own two feet. To pick up where she left off when she gave up everything for him and his career. Time to start living up to the promises she and Liv made all those years ago.
Thea swung, and another hole broke the wall.
Liv laughed. “I’m not the only one picturing his face now, am I?”
“No,” Thea growled, swinging again.
“Good. Get it out. You’re a badass who doesn’t need a man.”
The speakers blared an angry Taylor Swift song about burning pictures.
Liv grabbed Gavin’s bat from the floor again. “Watch out. I’m coming in.”
“Wait! That’s his favorite bat!”
“If he wanted it, he should’ve taken it with him,” Liv said.
Thea ducked as Liv swung. There was a loud bang as it connected with the drywall.
Thea dropped the sledgehammer and wrenched the bat from Liv’s hands. “We can’t break that.”
“It’s just a bat.”
“He won the state high school championship with it.”
Liv rolled her eyes. “Men and their wood.”
“It’s important to him,” Thea said.
“Isn’t that the problem?” Liv snapped. “Baseball was always more important than you.”
“No, it wasn’t.” The sudden deep timbre of Gavin’s voice sent them both whipping around.
He stood ten feet away, as if their conversation had summoned him out of thin air. Butter barked and jogged toward him traitorously with a happy wag.
A tremor shook Thea from the inside out as she watched Gavin drop a hand on Butter’s head for a distracted ear scratch. He wore a pair of faded jeans and a plain gray T-shirt. His damp hair stood askew, as if he’d raced through a shower and simply rubbed a towel over his head. His hazel eyes were bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles. At least two days’ worth of brownish blonde stubble darkened his jaw.
But he still somehow managed to look irresistibly, unfairly sexy.
Liv turned the music down and crossed her arms. “What do you want, asshole?”
“Liv,” Thea warned again. Then to Gavin, she said, “You don’t live here anymore, Gavin. You can’t just walk in.”
He motioned to the door behind him. “I tried knocking.” His eyes darted between the broken wall and the sledgehammer on the floor. “What—what are you doing?”
“Tearing down the wall.”
“I see that,” Gavin said slowly. “Why exactly?”
“Because I hate this wall.”
Gavin’s eyes pulled together. “Is that my bat?”
Something hot and petty burned a path through her common sense. “Yep. Works great.” Thea turned and slammed the bat into the wall.
Gavin ducked instinctively.
“I’m going to set up my easel here,” Thea said. She slammed the bat again. “This stupid wall blocks all the good light.”
“Maybe we should talk about this before you—” Gavin winced as Thea swung the bat a third time.
“Maybe we should have talked about a lot of things,” Thea snapped, stepping away from the wall. She wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead.
A sudden squeal from the stairs interrupted them. “Daddy!” Amelia leapt from the bottom stair and raced toward Gavin. She threw her arms around his legs. “Mommy is breaking the wall!” she laughed, raising her hands to be picked up.
Gavin, still staring warily at Thea, hoisted her in his arms. Amelia instantly cocked her head. “Are you sick, Daddy?”
“Uh, no, honey,” Gavin said. “I just didn’t sleep very well last night.” He kissed her cheek. “You smell like syrup. Did Mommy make special Saturday pancakes for breakfast?”
“Yeah, with chocolate chips!” It came out chocate thips.
Gavin met Thea’s eyes, and for a moment they stopped being combatants and just became parents. Amelia had been showing signs of a lisp the past several months, and Gavin feared it was the beginning of a permanent speech problem like his. Thea offered a soft smile. “It’s just a lisp,” she said quietly.
Gavin reached his other arm toward Ava, who had shuffled slowly behind her sister. “Hey, squirt.”
Ava wouldn’t go near him and instead came to stand next to Thea. It was an act of instinctive protectiveness that broke Thea’s heart, even more so when Ava lifted her chin in a bold tilt and declared, “Mommy cried.”
Oh, no. Ava had been climbing into bed with her in the middle of the night ever since Gavin left. Had she heard Thea sneak into the bathroom last night? She didn’t want the girls to ever hear her cry.
Gavin swallowed slowly. His eyes moved across Thea’s face as if he’d never seen her before, stopping on freckles and blemishes she hadn’t bothered to cover with makeup before he met her eyes again. Thea flushed under the weight of his stare. Why the hell was he looking at her like that?
“Can we take Butter for a walk?” Amelia said. That was their thing—taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Or, at least, it used to be when Gavin still lived there.
“Another time, sweetie,” Gavin said. “I need to talk to Mommy.”
Amelia made a pouty face—a new, devastatingly effective technique she’d recently discovered. Gavin swallowed hard, and Thea almost felt sorry for him. “I’ll be at your school musical Monday,” he said. “Maybe we can walk Butter after that?”
“I’ll take them for a walk,” Liv said, putting just enough fuck you in her voice to make a point.
Butter danced at the door as Liv reattached his leash and helped the girls into their fleece coats. She walked out but then ducked her head back in the room. “Don’t take too long. We still need to set up your online dating profile.”
The screen door slammed.
Gavin made an indecipherable noise.
Thea hid a smile.
“You’re not answering your phone,” Gavin said as soon as the girls were out of earshot.
“The battery died last night. I didn’t feel like charging it.”
He stepped closer, his eyes softening with concern. “Are you OK?”
Thea ignored the tiny ping-pong of her heart. “I’m not the one who smells like he spent the night on the whiskey trail.”
“I got drunk last night.”
Thea turned toward the wall, ready for another blow. “Celebrating your freedom?”
“If you actually think that, I’ve fucked up worse than I thought.”
The crunch of bat against wall wasn’t as satisfying this time. “Well, that’s kind of a problem, Gavin, because you fucked up pretty bad.”
He didn’t argue. “Are you really setting up an online dating profile?”
“God, no,” Thea snorted, wiping a hand across her forehead. “That’s the last thing I need.” Another man in her life? More promises that couldn’t be trusted? No thanks.
Gavin nodded, relief plain on his features.
“If you’re here to pick up some of your stuff, make it quick because the girls won’t be gone long.”
“I’m not here for my stuff.”
“I w-w-w . . .”
Thea’s heart did the ping-pong thing again as she watched him fight against the muscles of his throat.
Gavin finally rushed into his sentence. “I want to talk.”
“There’s nothing left to say.”
“Please, Thea.” Goddamn ping-ponging heart. “Fine.” Thea shoved his bat at him and stomped toward the kitchen. She turned her back on him to fill a glass of water from the tap and silently seethed as she studied the massive whiteboard calendar that covered a four-foot square of wall space beside the refrigerator. Thea used to relish being impulsive and carefree, but now she lived and breathed by the color-coded control center where she scheduled every minute of their lives—dance lessons, dentist appointments, dinner menus, preschool volunteer days, and, in red letters to denote status-level FORGET THIS AT YOUR PERIL, reminders to find Ava’s favorite tights before Monday’s school musical.
The calendar also used to be full of charitable and social engagements as an official member of the Nashville Legends’ WAGs’—wives and girlfriends—club, but ever since rumors began circulating that she and Gavin were struggling, many of the wives and girlfriends had started to distance themselves from her. They didn’t even invite her to their stupid luncheon this month, and that was before she’d asked for a divorce.
She’d never felt like she belonged, anyway, no matter how much she tried. Thea could never shake the feeling when she was around them that she was perpetually that one—the girl they all secretly suspected had gotten pregnant on purpose to trap herself a rich, professional athlete.
Little did they know that the very last thing in the world Thea would ever marry for was money. She’d seen firsthand growing up how money corrupted and corroded everything around it.
Nope. She had married Gavin for love.
But seeing how well that turned out, she might have been better off marrying for the cash.
Thea had been completely unprepared for life as a baseball wife. Being a Legends WAG brought its own kind of celebrity and responsibility. Between the charity events and promotional appearances, it was like being yanked into a sorority she never meant to rush. She didn’t have anything against sororities. She’d even been in one in college—an artsy collection of theater majors and music majors and feminist studies students who protested cuts to the women’s center.
But this sorority was different. This one demanded conformity and total obedience—the opposite of everything Thea once stood for. But Thea had had to figure it all out on her own with infant twins because Gavin was gone more than he was home. And somehow in the process, she got lost until she no longer even recognized herself. How had Southern Lifestyle magazine described her last summer in a feature about Tennessee’s pro athletes and their families? Wholesomely pastel. That was it. And they were right. Her entire Lilly Pulitzer wardrobe had become a walking tribute to cotton candy. She used to wear vintage Depeche Mode T-shirts and black Chucks, for God’s sake.
The article was like a bucket of cold water over her head. A wake-up call. She’d sputtered and stumbled and realized she’d become everything she once despised. And Gavin either hadn’t noticed or hadn’t cared that she had morphed into some kind of sanitized version of herself.
Or, worse, he preferred the sanitized Thea.
At the sound of his clearing throat, Thea finally turned around. The shadows beneath his eyes were more pronounced under the kitchen lights, like twin bruises. He really did look awful. Gavin could never handle the hard stuff. And she didn’t just mean the alcohol.
She slid her glass across the island toward him. “Do you want an aspirin?”
“Already took some.”
“Not really.” He cocked a half smile. His hand wrapped around the glass she’d just shared, his thumb rubbing up and down the cool condensation. There was no holding back the zing of surprised longing that made certain parts of her ache and other parts tingle. She had either reached pathetic level bless her heart or was just starved for affection if the sight of his thumb distractedly stroking a glass of water could make her pink parts stand at attention. He hadn’t touched her since that night—the night of the Big O-No. But despite what he apparently believed, she had always loved being touched by him. She had never faked that.
Damn him. “I want to keep the house.”
Gavin cocked his head as if he didn’t hear her correctly. Like a dog. “W-what?”
“I know it’s a lot to ask, but I won’t need as much child support if you’re willing to pay it off for the girls and me. I’ll work, obviously, but—”
Gavin pushed the glass away. “Thea—”
“I think things would have been easier for Liv and me if Dad hadn’t sold the house after he left Mom. And since this is the only house the girls have ever known—” Her voice caught. She sucked in a breath to cover it up. “We need to tell them together. I’m not sure when the right time is, though. Before the holidays? After the holidays? I don’t know. I don’t even know if they’ll understand what it means. They still think you’re just off playing baseball, but that’s not going to hold much longer—”
The staccato of his voice was as jarring as it was atypical. Thea jumped in her own skin. “Stop what?”
“I don’t want this.”
“No! Fuck!” He dragged his hands across his hair. “I mean, yes. I want the house. I w-w-want you and the girls in the house.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I want you!”
Thea’s mouth dropped open. Surprise stole her voice for a moment before cynicism gave it back. “Stop, Gavin. It’s too late for this.”
Gavin squeezed the edge of the counter until veins protruded from his thick forearms.
“No, it’s not.”
“It’s best to do this now while the girls are still young and won’t remember . . .” She couldn’t finish the sentence over a sudden thickness in her throat. She didn’t have time for this emotional crap.
Gavin’s face hardened. “Remember what? That their parents were ever married?”
“I’d rather they never remember that than be forced to endure the pain of their family being torn apart.”
“Then let’s keep our family together.”
“You tore it apart the minute you moved out.”
“You told me to leave, Thea!”
“And you couldn’t go fast enough.”
His mouth opened and closed for a moment before he blurted, “I needed time to think.”
“And now you’ll have all the time you need.”
Gavin bent, dropped his elbows on the island, and held his head in his hands. “This isn’t going the way I w-wanted.”
Thea bolted away from the counter. “Really? How exactly did you imagine this going? Because you seem to think that all you had to do was show up here, and I’d just smile and pretend everything was fine. I’ve been doing that for three years, Gavin. I’m done.”
She headed back to the wall. She needed to hit something again.
“Wh-what the hell does that mean?” he asked, following closely behind.
“It means that orgasms were the least of our problems!” That’s what pissed her off the most. He was mad at her for faking it in bed, but didn’t he know she’d been faking everything for years?
Thea picked up the bat and swung as hard as she could. Another hole appeared in the wall.
“Thea, wait,” Gavin said, wrapping his fingers around the bat to stop her from swinging again. “Please, just listen to me for a second.”
She spun around. “We’re beyond the listening stage, Gavin. I’ve asked you to listen to me a thousand times since that night, and you refused!”
“Not everything about that night was awful, Thea.”
Thea advanced on him, propelled by pent-up rage. “Are you kidding me? You think now is a good time to remind me of your glorious grand slam?”
It would be funny if it weren’t so not funny. The perfect pun. The night of his greatest career achievement—a walk-off grand slam in the sixth game of the American League Championship series—was the night of an even bigger home run in bed for Thea.
“I’m talking about what we did after the game,” Gavin said, closing the distance between them, lowering his voice to a seductive tone. “That wasn’t awful.”
“Then why did you move into the guest room afterwards?”
Gavin held his hands up in a truce-like gesture. “Because I overreacted and fucked up, OK? I know that. And I w-w . . .”
His mouth worked to push out words that his muscles were determined to hold in. He dragged his hand along his jaw and then gripped the back of his neck. He finally looked at the floor with a growl, frustration tugging his lips into a frown.
The front door suddenly flew open for the second time that morning. Gavin bit back a curse as Amelia and Butter ran into the house with Ava and Liv following slowly behind. Amelia stopped in the hallway and held a dog treat as high in the air as her little arm could reach. “Daddy, look!”
Amelia commanded Butter to jump. The dog merely lifted his head and took the treat from Amelia’s fingers, but Amelia squealed as if she’d taught Butter to talk.
Gavin smiled softly. “Very cool, baby,” he said, voice strained.
Liv caught Thea’s eye as she walked into the kitchen. A few seconds later, “All the Single Ladies” blared from the Bluetooth speakers.
“She’s subtle,” Gavin said quietly.
“No one is as loyal as a little sister.”
“We’re going to go jump on the trampoline,” Liv said, picking up on the still-unresolved tension in the room.
She turned up the music before going out back with the girls.
Gavin approached Thea cautiously. “Just tell me what it w-w-will take. What do I need to do?”
His face conveyed a beseeching plea that reminded her way too much of the fake baby, please tone her father would use whenever he begged her mother for a second chance. Or a third or a fourth. How many times did her mother believe her father’s promises and take him back? Too many. Thea wasn’t going to make that mistake.
“It’s too late for this, Gavin,” Thea sighed, repeating her words from earlier.
Gavin’s face blanched. “Just give me a chance.”
She shook her head.
His eyes pinched at the corners. With a strangled noise, he spun around, hands stacked on top of his head. His T-shirt tugged over taut back muscles that bunched and bulged as he battled his thoughts. A moment fraught with tension passed before he spun back around. Determination drove his steps as he ate the distance between them. “I’ll do anything, Thea. Please.”
“Why, Gavin? After all this time, why?”
His eyes dropped to her lips, and, oh my God, was he going to—
Gavin let out a growl, slid one hand to the back of her head, and slanted his mouth over hers. Thea stumbled back and grabbed the back of the couch to keep from falling, but she didn’t need to because Gavin wrapped an arm around her back. A strong, protective, bulging, masculine arm that held her against his hard body. His mouth plundered hers. Over and over. And when his tongue swept between her lips, she couldn’t stop herself from responding. She curled her fingers into the front of his shirt and opened wider for him with a sigh. He tasted like toothpaste and whiskey and a shot of long-lost dreams.
But the shot came with a chaser of confusion and betrayal. Was she really this easy? One wild kiss and she was literally weak in his arms? One kiss and she forgot everything that had happened between them?
Thea wrenched her mouth away. “What the hell are you doing?”
“You asked why,” Gavin panted, eyes dark. “That’s why.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review Guys reading romance novels in an attempt to save their relationships. Sounds like it would be a great read full of hilarious attempts which result in falling in love all over again. I've read several of these second chance books lately and this is where I had to put down and walk away from. I found that I disliked the wife in the story from the first scene she was introduced with her sister obviously upset that the husband moved out after she told him to leave because...reasons. We find out how their relationship begins and I couldn't help but feel like maybe you guys should have seen a counselor about this sooner? The Bros were hilarious and they got me through it. But I have to agree that the book itself seems to take this process way to seriously for the premise they outlined. I ended up stopping and reading the end just to find out how they were going to wrap it up and left it at that.
Ok, so this book deserves all the good things I've heard about it. It was SO GOOD. The book club guys are hilarious and they are so supportive. I also really appreciated that it was about a married couple trying to work things out after a whirlwind of start. The other thing I enjoyed was the story within the story. Those are always fun. On a personal aspect, this book made me realize a lot of things about what I want in a partner. It's also made me reflect on past relationships and how those went wrong. The next man I date will need to meet standards set by this book, so good luck to them! Who needs self-help or personal growth books when you have romance novels? Thank you, Lyssa!
ludicrous, yet very sweet.
Not enough words to describe how awsome this book was to read. I AM looking forward to the next book very much which I will definitely buy. This book had it all, laughter with the men of the bromance club, tears at times over rocky relationship of the couple, and amazed at how some parts of regency romance included as Gavin read a book. This was worth every penny, best I have read in awhile. Definitely a new favorite author.
This book was wonderful! Gavin and Thea are a married couple having problems, just like real life, except that Gavin is a professional baseball player. Thea came from a broken home and has never really dealt with the emotional toll it took on her and her younger sister Liv. Gavin also has problems expressing himself, partly because he stutters and partly because he is afraid. These are things that happen in everyday life and it was interesting to see how they dealt with their problems. This book had me laughing out loud, brought tears to my eyes, made me smile, and also made me think. I can't wait to read the next book in this series! I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This book was so much fun, and the perfect read when I just wanted to relax while feeling under the weather. Gavin is reeling after his wife asks him for a divorce. When his best friend shows up with a few other macho guys offering him a way to save his marriage, he’s all for it: until he finds out that their plan involves reading romance novels. Unsure, but ultimately willing to try anything, Gavin joins the book club and starts listening to their advice. This is a fun second chance romance with two characters that are under 30 (no, not middle-aged!!) They have to get to know and appreciate each other, baring all with an honesty to help them support each other. Then there is the book club. What can be better than a bunch of macho guys turning to romance novels to help them navigate their love lives and understand the women that are important in their lives? The character development was wonderful, and there was more to this novel than appears on the surface. Both Gavin and Thea had emotional things in their past that they needed to face to understand how they got to the point of walking away from their marriage. #TheBromanceBookClub #BerkleyRomance #BerkleyPublishing #LyssaKayAddams
The Bromance Book club is like a pain au chocolat: most of it is light and flaky but there’s a chocolate core. The book is premised on the idea of a group of men learning to be better husbands and partners by reading romance novels. The book itself, while focused on the modern-day couple, has some chapters excerpted from the book the leading man is reading. While most of the book is just fun, it touches on deeper themes and gets into the character’s backstories to explore their motivations. All in all, it’s a great beach read, winter read, or honestly it’s perfect for anytime you want to feel happier.
Gavin and Thea have the perfect life...well so it seems. Gavin is a professional baseball player; he and Thea have a pair of beautiful twin daughters together. Except...as it turns out, Thea has been faking IT for their entire marriage. As you can imagine the shock and embarrassment of discovering this causes Gavin to re-evaluate their entire marriage but not before pouting and moving into the guest room until Thea asks him for a divorce. This leads to the best discovery of Gavin’s life: the Bromance Book Club. The book club is filled with Gavin’s teammates and other professional athletes who have been in the same shoes as Gavin. They introduce him to the insight that comes from reading romance novels: learning to express his feelings and desires for his wife in a way that she understands and gives voice to the thoughts he previously hadn’t known needed to be said aloud. The story is well-written and the characters lack that perfection that can be irritating in many romance novels. Adams knows the complications of marriage and portrays them with accuracy and heart. The Bromance Book Club is filled with love and humor. I cannot wait to read the next installment!
Laugh out loud funny! Gavin is the prefect imperfect hero
Gavin finds out his wife has been faking it. They have just barely checked in to their marriage recently, and now Thea is checking out. She has asked him for a divorce, and he is unsettled by this. He truly loves her and wants to get back to the hot and heavy he thought they were. Thea is fed up about it all. She is sick of being taken for granted. Sick of the other wives and girlfriends of her husbands team shunning her. Sick of her husband not wanting to be with her the way they used to. She wants to get back to the happy, but must first find what was lost. Stories about married couples can be tricky. I loved that this one was not afraid to go there. Both characters really had to come out of their shell and be honest. The sexy times get lively, and heavy in the heat. The story is solid and the pace is steady. I loved that these MC's had to work for it. I really hated the female lead for about 90% of the book. I was so pleased I shouted when the storyline caught up with what I thought. Nicely played.
Gavin Scott’s life looks perfect from the outside: major league baseball player, beautiful loving wife, and adorable twin girls. All that comes to a screeching halt when he finds out his wife, Thea, has been faking a lot of things in order to be the perfect wife. She gave up just about everyone of her dreams to support his career. He had been so self-absorbed that Gavin totally missed Thea’s unhappiness until everything about their marriage and life implodes. Gavin’s teammates and friends, some of them irritating like Mack, come to his rescue with an unlikely plan that at first, seems too ludicrous to be believed. They have a very secret men only book club that uses romance novels to figure out what the women they love truly desire in a relationship. Gavin is less than enthusiastic but agrees giving it a try as a last-ditch effort to save his marriage. The story within the story is a Regency novel Gavin is tasked with reading called COURTING THE COUNTESS making for an interesting juxtaposition for the modern day man. Thea comes from a very hurtful background parent-wise so she has no good role models for dealing with problems in a marriage. Her sister, Liv, who has been staying in the house since Gavin left, has a very dim view of men adding a kind of toxic element to the mix. Though they are very close, Liv is as much a hindrance as a help to Thea. Both Gavin and Thea have some major baggage to deal with before they can ever move forward or recapture the early magic of their relationship. Several challenges abound including their quick marriage after only being together a short time because Thea got pregnant and then Gavin’s career took off foisting them into a public life. Thea also has to put up with being in the women’s team support group which is filled with unkind, gossiping mean girls who give all of us a bad name. This story is quite cleverly done, so much so in many respects, it makes me wish this book club was a reality more than humorous fiction. How often have we women wished men understood why romance books call to us so strongly? Ms. Adams story has a lot to recommend for it including clever writing, an imaginative story line, and laugh out loud moments. I very much look forward to the caustic Liz and equally annoying Mack’s story. I think readers will be in for a real treat.
Y’all this book is definitely in my top of the year and is my favorite contemporary of the year so far. So many things about this book just clicked for me and I’m still in gush mode having finished it the day before writing this review (a few days ago by the time you read this). “You guys read romance novels?” “We call them manuals.” —>charactersplot
A rom-com about a book club where men read romance novels in order to save their marriages - that alone was enough to make me pick up the book! The Bromance Book Club was a fresh take on second chances at romance for married couples. Gavin's marriage is falling apart - he found out his wife was "faking it" and left without a fight when she kicked him out of the house shortly after. He's drunk and miserable, until his friends from the team give him the kick in the pants he needs to fight to save his marriage, in an unorthodox way. Enter the book club - which you don't talk about to anyone outside the book club. The group of men read romance novels, and apply what they learn about what women want to their marriages to become better husbands and lovers. I personally found this book hilarious at times, and I loved the small touches of feminism thrown in here and there. I felt like it was a pretty solid read if you're looking for something romance-y but still pretty lighthearted!
An all-male book club was something I had to read. The Bromance Book Club had me hooked from the first page. Gavin Scott was a sexy stuttering baseball superstar who found out his wife, Thea had been faking the big O their entire marriage. It was hilarious how all these big strapping baseball players were trying to help Gavin save his marriage. The story within the story was just as good. It is refreshing to get the male perspective on love and to see how Gavin struggled to understand his wife. Of course, his ego was bruised. Whose wouldn't and when he and Thea got to the root of their problem, their love evolved. Gavin decided to start courting his wife again, making her kiss him every night and Gavin reading to her was so sweet. Gavin's stuttering was cute and I liked how Thea embraced all of him and didn't hesitate to stick up for him even when she was pissed and disappointed with him. Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Romance books sell more than any other genre, yet they’re often seen as guilty pleasures or dirty little secrets. As Del says in this book, “...toxic masculinity permeates even the most mundane things in life. If masses of women like something, our society automatically begins to mock them. Just like romance novels. If women like them, they must be a joke, right?” Yet, it’s these same books that this group of high-powered men use as self-help manuals to learn how women think, how toxic masculinity can destroy relationships, and how to shed it to win back their wives and girlfriends. The premise of a romance book club for men is laudable for its unique approach although it’s never explained how the group formed, they don’t hold regular meetings, and only half of the members appear throughout the book. Inexplicably, one of them is Braden Mack, a single flirt whose sole purpose seems to be to throw snarky and annoying roadblocks in Gavin’s path. Aside from the club, however, the story follows a standard romantic trope of a couple (Gavin and his wife Thea) who aren’t honest with each other and who will destroy their marriage if they don’t revisit their past (“backstory”) to acknowledge the baggage that stands in their way. It’s a fun and often frustrating read, and romance readers will enjoy the spin. I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Berkley Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
I finally finished! You all might be wondering what took me so long, right!? Well I just needed to take those extra moments to pace myself. I've realized I've been doing that a lot recently with reading and that in doing so, I have a greater appreciation of the book. It was hard for me not to feel a little frustrated with Thea, the heroine. Due to her own experiences as a child, she was extremely jaded and could not overlook the mistakes Gavin made. I feel like he deserved a second chance instantly and I rooted hard for him from beginning to end; however, the story wouldn't have taken the course it did if Thea was quick to give him that chance, sigh. How bittersweet The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams was such a bubbly, laugh-out-loud, second chance romance filled with angst, two cute little girls, and a full batch of emotions!! Enough said about the wonderful characters involved throughout. This book wouldn't have been what it was without them all. That being said I need Mack's book right now, PLEASE. Thank you so much Berkley Romance!
Quirky, humorous, and refreshing! The Bromance Book Club is a lighthearted, charming read that takes us into the life of Gavin Scott, a successful, professional baseball player who after learning his wife wants a divorce decides to do whatever it takes to win her back, including taking advice from his friends, fellow teammates, and the seventh Earl of Latford. The prose is playful and fun. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are amusing, bawdy, and engaging. And the plot told from alternating POVs is a sweet, flirty tale full of tricky situations, tender moments, hilarious mishaps, friendship, family, miscommunication, self-discovery, determination, and a little steamy, regency romance. Overall, The Bromance Book Club is an alluring, easy, spicy read by Adams that has characters you can’t help but root for and a storyline that is highly entertaining.
I really liked this book. This read is a delightful combination of cuteness, sweetness, humor and deep emotions. I found myself fluctuating between laugh out loud moments and instances that will simply have your heart melting. I loved Gavin so much and I thought Thea was easy to connect with and super relatable. In my opinion the things that really made this a book not to be missed were the adorable storyline idea behind it and Gavin. A very, very good read.
First off, this is a super hetero-normative book. And that's the whole point, because it's about the ways that men and women are socialized to conduct themselves in a marriage. While I'm bisexual, I'm a woman married to a man, so this book was intensely relatable. I'm reviewing it from that standpoint, so YMMV. In a recent piece, the author talked about deconstructing toxic masculinity in romance novels and I suggest you read it. The Bromance Book Club is the first in a series about men who read romance novels and help each other to improve the way they relate to women in order to have better relationships. On the surface, you might think it's gimmicky, but then you look under that and wonder why? Why is the idea of men speaking to each other about their relationships a gimmick? Why is the idea of a man working to become a better partner so unimaginable? Thea has just asked for a divorce and Gavin has moved out. Their relationship went from 0-60 really fast due to an unplanned pregnancy (with twins, OMG) and then his baseball career took off. Thea's been parenting largely by herself for three years, losing her identity by slow but steady degrees. Most mothers -- especially stay-at-home parents -- I know have deal with this to some extent, but Gavin is oblivious. When he finds out that Thea's been faking orgasms, it's a HUGE DEAL for his ego. (Ugh, men.) But of course Thea's been faking her entire marriage and life for three years, so she's just done. Gavin has to work hard to save his relationship and he messes up a lot. (Thea has some learning to do as well, but the majority of the work is Gavin's.) This book is funny. I laughed a lot. How rare is that? Pretty dang rare. The book club is funny, but there are also these passages from a regency romance as Gavin reads and then the hero of the story starts calling Gavin these ridiculous insults in Gavin's mind. I really appreciated that Gavin's stutter was never a source of humor, it's just part of who he is. It's also seriously sexy, but I never got the "after all these years they still wanted to bang all over the house and everywhere all the time" feeling that a lot of epilogues contain. All in all, I can strongly recommend this one, but I'm sure it will be more relevant to readers who are in a marriage between a man and a woman. Content Warnings: parental abandonment, narcissistic parent, sex, unplanned pregnancy in the past, hero was bullied in the past for his stutter Suzanne received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
he Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams is the first book in her Bromance Book Club series. I was not sure what to expect, as this is the first time, I have read this author, and the idea of a romance book club for sports alpha men had me questioning whether I would like it. I am happy to say I really did enjoy and get a kick out of this book. Gavin Scott, our hero, is a famous baseball player, who finds his marriage falling apart, as his wife Thea kicks him out of the house and asks for a divorce. Gavin begins to realize that he was unfair to Thea with his disturbing comments, and tries to make amends. Thea Scott, our heroine, is determined to go through with the divorce, and has her sister come live with her to help care for her two daughters. When Gavin tries to apologize, Thea ignores him and tells him that she is going through the divorce. Gavin tells his baseball buddies about his crumbling marriage, and they insist he join them in a meeting that night. What Gavin finds to his total surprise, as all the men at the meeting are part of a club that helps each other find ways to win back their disillusioned wives. They are the Bromance Book club. What do they read? Historical romance novels. Each of the men give Gavin suggestions how to win back Thea, especially to read a novel that is similar to their own predicaments. He must learn how to understand Thea better, and begin courting her again to win her over. What follows is a fun heartwarming second chance romance, with a great couple, and two sweet kids. It was a lot of fun watching these alpha baseball players give Gavin suggestions in flirting with his wife; at times it was downright hilarious. Gavin and Thea did not have an easy road ahead, as they both made mistakes and needed to recognize it was not one person’s fault. Gavin needed to get past his insecurity, and Thea had to get past her troubled childhood. It was nice to see Gavin would do anything to win Thea back. By the last half of the book, I found myself rooting hard for Thea to give in to her feelings and take Gavin back. The Bromance Book Club was a fun story line, a sweet second chance romance, and a fantastic humorous group of alpha’s that had me laughing throughout. Lyssa Kay Adams did a wonderful job writing this fun story, which you need to read. I know I will be waiting for the next book in this series. So much fun.
Gavin Scott is a millionaire baseball star, recently separated from his wife, and mother to his twin daughters, Thea. After three years of marriage Gavin discovers his wife has been faking it in bed, ironically after she has an orgasm. Humiliated Gavin retreated to the spare room, then gave her the silent treatment; which led to the separation. Cornered in his skanky hotel room where he is drowning in a bottle of whisky, Gavin is introduced to the top secret men's book club where they read historical romances and learn how to understand women. Armed with his new-found knowledge, can Gavin woo his own wife? I read several reviews of this before it was released and loved the premise of a group of high-powered businessmen and professional athletes reading historical romances as an insight into what a woman needs. Reading the book did not disappoint, it had everything I would expect from a second-chance sports romance with that added layer of historical romance. I also liked that the blame for the failure of their marriage was spread between Gavin and Thea, not just the wife as so often happens. Overall, I really enjoyed this funny romance and I will definitely be looking to read the second book in the series.
Rating: 4.5 Stars Gavin loved his wife. He was IN LOVE with his wife, but after finding out she had been lying about their sex life, he erected a wall between them. When she asked for a divorce, he realized the error of his ways, and wanted to fight for his marriage. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, he began courting his wife, but was he too late? I love romance, and read a plethora of romance books, but we don't get too many involving a husband and a wife trying to reignite their relationship. That was something I really enjoyed about The Bromance Book Club. I am always sad to hear, when a marriage ends, and therefore, was wholeheartedly behind Gavin's quest to win back Thea's heart. I was also a big fan of how he went about the task. I mean, using a romance novel as a how-to guide was fantastic! As a romance lover, I abhor how the genre is constantly ridiculed. This book celebrates romance books, and actually highlights how wonderful they really are. Adams wove passages from The Book Club's selection into the story, and the placement was brilliant. They either guided Gavin in his attempt to woo his wife or helped him understand his mistakes. I enjoyed moving in and out of the story, and was impressed with how well these passages meshed with Gavin and Thea's tale. When this story began, this marriage was very broken, though, it was difficult to understand why. I mean, it did seem like Gavin let his bruised ego get the most of him, but there was more to that story, and there was a LOT more to Thea's side of the story too. The issues seemed small, but they were complicated, and the way Adams revealed the whole situation, bit by bit, made the naked truth land with a greater impact. My heart broke for both of them, though, I felt like Thea could have spoken up a bit sooner. Whatever the obstacles, I loved seeing these two slowly work their way back to each other. Each relit flame gave me hope, and the payoff was so big. Yes, the romance was lovely, but the bromance was fantastic! What a fun group Adams assembled for us. I always enjoy seeing manly men sharing their feelings and affirming their love and adoration for the women in their lives. Their friendship and support of each other was a thing of beauty, while their interactions were great sources of hilarity. I had the BEST time reading this book! It equal parts fun and touching, and I am overjoyed that we will be gifted with more Bromance books.
This was a fun, cute read. Gavin's marriage is on the rocks and he is headed for a divorce. He needs to win the affection of his wife back, and what better way to do it then by using a romance novel for ideas. I liked all the characters in this book. The relationship between Gavin and his friends was fun to read and I wish there was more of that in the book. Does the couple reunite? Read and find out! Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for this book.
I read the synopsis for The Bromance Book Club, and immediately knew that it was a book I needed to read. A contemporary romance that centers on two married individuals who are having a rough time? Sign me up! You hardly see any romances that deal with married couples, and this book was so refreshing. Thea and Gavin have been married for a few years, but have hit a rough patch in their marriage. Thea is now asking for a divorce and Gavin is feeling completely lost. What happens next is both hilarious and so heartwarming. Gavin's teammates (he's a professional baseball player) and some of their friends initiate Gavin into their book club. This is a secret book club where the men read regency romances to try and find why or where their marriage went wrong. I loved Gavin's reaction when the men in this club try to talk him into the book club. I was laughing out loud so much! The way the regency romance, Courting the Countess, that Gavin is reading mirrored what was happening with his relationship to Thea was so creative and I loved both of the stories. Gavin and Thea's story really resonated with me. Marriage is A LOT of work and these two people who obviously love each other so much can't get past this bump in the road. Communication is the key to any relationship and I loved that both Thea and Gavin had to work on themselves before they could actively work on their marriage together. I immediately fell in love with Lyssa Kay Adams writing style and the "bros" who were part of the book club. To have men discuss relationships and help each other out when one of them is having a rough time was so sweet and also very very funny! There were parts of the book where I was laughing out loud because the situation was so hilarious. But then also parts that had me crying because I felt the anguish that both Thea and Gavin were going through. I can't recommend this book enough, and I am already counting down to the next book in the series - Undercover Bromance. **ARC provided by Edelweiss and Berkley in exchange for my honest opinion**
This was one of my most anticipated books and when I finally got it in my greedy hands, I was a bit afraid that it might not live up to the hype. Love love loved Thea and Gavin. I loved the loyalty and the absolute love between them. I loved how Gavin was ready to absolutely anything to get her back. And...I don’t have words for this group of men who shamelessly read romance to help their relationships. Plot wise, it was everything I wanted. I was happy to see that Thea was trepidatious and didn’t give in right away. The flip between the story and the snippets of the book Gavin was reading was just fantastic. Overall, it was exactly what I wanted to read. I loved these characters and this story and I can’t wait to read it again. **Huge thanks to Berkley for providing the arc free of charge**