This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
I guess you could say I was a damsel in distress, and he was my knight in shining armor.
But more accurately, I was a girl with a lot of bad luck, and he was a guy with a lot of muscles and tattoos.
Jude “Lucky” Lucketti wasn’t just a sexy, brooding construction worker. He was my own personal hero who seemed to be in all the right places at the right times. Like when my car broke down and I needed a ride home, and when I face planted on the sidewalk right in front of him and had to be taken to the emergency room.
Those weren’t exactly my best moments, but they were his.
We became friends, and it didn’t matter that he was sixteen years older than me. We had a lot in common—like our love of old rock music and vintage fast cars, and our aversion to relationships.
When he approached me with a crazy idea to help me out, I couldn’t say no.
The arrangement was supposed to be temporary. A marriage on paper and nothing else.
It should’ve been easy, but it wasn’t.
Because here I am, eighteen years-old, still in high school, and married to a man I was never supposed to fall in love with.
We had just one rule—no kissing the bride.
But we broke that rule, and it sealed our fate forever.
I’m not sure how he does it. Somehow, he makes me feel like every molecule in my body has learned how to smile. I like it. I like him.
Don’t Kiss The Bride is a standalone by Carian Cole. I think the reason I chose this book was that it wasn’t part of a series but also this book has been the most raved about. I was first introduced to this book by Bree from In Love and Words and I was so captivated that I have been meaning to try this author for the longest time. I will admit at first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book and it’s a bigger book at 500 pages, however, I fell in love quite quickly. While the pacing is off at first, once you reach about fifteen percent, you will be so drawn into the story. What really impressed me was that this was taboo but it didn’t feel taboo. That is very rare to see in a romance when dealing with certain topics and when an author can make it feel so genuine, it just makes the story shine beautifully. I was stunned in how this story just made me feel to the heart, and in a way that was genuine and slowly built that worked in the best of ways.
After a few seconds, he gently squeezes my hand, then pulls his from mine. It’s a tiny, affectionate gesture, that squeeze. But us girls know what it is. A hand hug.
Skylar and Judge meet in the most unlikely of moments and he rescued her when her car was having the worst of issues. And for a while, it seems like he watches out for her and they start building a slow friendship with each other. But then one day everything changes…..when Jude sees the truth of her situation and how horrible things are for Skylar he offers her a deal. To marry him, so that she can have safety and security and access to medical aide which she really needs or her health will deteriorate. He reassures her this would be completely platonic and Skylar agrees to it. Even though she hasn’t known Jude for very long, there is a building trust that she is coming to have faith in. But what starts out as a platonic relationship, with friends caring for each other starts to build into something more. Jude knows that its wrong to have these feelings for Skylar, because while she is eighteen she is still in high school and he is in his thirties. But there is a passion and beautiful love that blossoms that is naturally building and both Judge and Skylar are willing to take the risk on these intense feelings. But learning to accept what they are together isn’t going to be so easy for either of them and learning to trust in the heart can be a bigger challenge than either of them expected.
Connecting with someone doesn’t always have to be pretty and beautiful. It can be raw and ugly and infected with need. I want all of him—the good and the bad.
What I Loved
There was SO much to love about this book. First off, all the combination of these tropes just seemed to work so well within this story. We have an age gap (May to December), Friends to Lovers, Forbidden Love, and Marriage of Convenience. I will admit that at first, I was curious to see how this author would handle such a taboo topic. You never know in these situations is how authors will handle them and I was highly impressed with the natural progression of their story. It can feel the slow burn at times as well, as it does slowly build and it’s not like they are having sex from the first few chapters haha Yeah nope that doesn’t happen. But what I really respected is the talent that this author showed in having a taboo topic and having it written in a way that didn’t seem so taboo and I just admire that ability so well. The character development that grows within this story was truly wonderful. I adored both Jude and Skylar and their differing personalities but how accepting they are of each other. Jude has a history of drug abuse, and screams bad boy with his muscle and tatts, but has a heart of gold. He has overcome so much in his life while not receiving much good in his life but being so generous to others. Skylar suffers from a mental illness and struggles in eating many foods as she had some food/meal-based trauma when she was a child. Seeing the way that these two connect in the small moments that only capitalizes on their love story as a whole was superb. I experienced so many delights in the slow-built romance that has such an emotional attachment that pulls you even further into the story.
Marriage has nothing to do with rings or vows or a fuckin’ piece of paper. None of that shit binds people together,” he said. “Marriage—being in love—is a choice to stay every day, and keep staying, no matter what. You don’t lie, you don’t cheat, you don’t leave, and you don’t give up. You stay.
What I Struggled With
There wasn’t much I struggled with, the only thing I would have changed would be the first 15%, it was a slow start and I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get into this, but I was thankful. But it’s the only aspect of the story I would change to get it to a five-star rating.
Don’t Kiss The Bride is a heart-achingly written romance that is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings in the unexpected moments that will entrench you into this captivating love affair that is guaranteed to make you feel like you are falling in love for the first time.
Since we met, every touch, every kiss, every talk between us has come naturally. Effortless in every way. Without motive or expectation.
Title: Don’t Kiss The Bride
Author: Carian Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Self Published
Length: 516 Pages
Storytelling Quality: 4.5
Story Itself: 4.5
Character Development: 5
World Building 4.25
Feels + The Romantic Heart 5
Cover Art 5
Overall Rating of the Book
Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.