I’ve been a fan of Sarah Mayberry for years now, and although I prefer the stories she writes for the Super Romance line, her Blaze books are just as good. Her Best Worst Mistake manages to mix the best of both worlds and the result is a steamy story full of heart.
This is a sequel to a 2010 Blaze book called Hot Island Nights. Both stories happen simultaneously so they can be read out of order, but if you read this one first, part of the plot of HIN will be spoiled. And since they are both great stories, why not read them in order?
Her Best Worst Mistake marks Ms. Mayberry’s first foray into self-publishing and I think she hit the ball out of the park. I’m certain there are minor mistakes in it, but I was so engrossed by the story that I didn’t notice. Also, she’s no newbie writer, so that obviously helped.
Violet and Martin have been in each other’s lives for over six years. He is engaged to Violet’s best friend, Elizabeth, so they are forced to spend time together. The problem is that they hate each other’s guts. So when Elizabeth breaks the engagement and flees to Australia, Violet is left to pick up the pieces. Actually, no, that’s not really the case. She is happy that technically she doesn’t have to deal with Martin ever again, but she also feels guilty and maybe something else.
Martin is very surprised when Elizabeth breaks up with him. And I say surprised because that’s exactly it, he’s not devastated or heartbroken, just completely flabbergasted. And in the middle of all this confusion, Violet shows and the very unwelcomed attraction he feels towards her comes back with a vengeance. So he gets even more confused and angry. They have sex, really hot, angry sex. And then he leaves in shame. But comes back for more, and suddenly they are together. First as frenemies with benefits, then as something more. But what about Elizabeth? Well, she’s happy as a clam with a sexy new man, but Violet, who has serious issues and deeply loves Elizabeth, feels terrible. So things won’t be easy for these two.
Also, there’s a scene with a Mango.
This book has a tricky trope, because the friend falling for the friend’s ex has a high ick factor. But it’s so obvious that Martin and Elizabeth didn’t work as a couple and the chemistry between Violet and Martin was so powerful that it just felt right. They made sense together.
I loved Violet and I think we need more heroines like her. She’s a bit of a wild child, and part of it is a defense mechanism born out of a difficult childhood. But it’s also who she is and she isn’t embarrassed by it. She was a great friend, willing to sacrifice anything for Elizabeth and although her guilt got a bit excessive at times, I was glad to see such a lovely portrayal of female friendship.
Martin was one of those stuffy, repressed heroes, that once they unleash the beast become scorching hot sexy. This is a guy who only had missionary sex with his girlfriend, but once he’s able to let it all out, well, there’s a scene with a Mango. One of the reasons I enjoyed this story so much was because the characters have very common and stereotypical traits, with very uncommon and fresh results. Martin is straighlaced because he was poor and now lives by the rules in order to be successful. He was engaged to Elizabeth because she was the ideal woman a man like him should have, it was all part of the plan. I have read many heroes just like him, and the same goes for Violet. And yet, they were so layered and well-written that felt unique and original.
To be honest, the only flaw I can see in the book was Violet’s angst and inability to talk to Elizabeth, I found it very annoying. All that stalling, especially considering that it was obvious that Elizabeth was as happy as someone can be, got old fast. But other than that, I found the book very close to perfect. And it’s one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read this year.
Review by Brie
She thinks he's stuffy. He thinks she's spoilt. Then the gloves come off... and so do their clothes!
For six years Violet Sutcliffe has known that Martin St Clair is the wrong man for her best friend. He's stuffy, old before his time, conservative. He drives Violet nuts - and the feeling is entirely mutual. Then, out of nowhere, her friend walks out just weeks before her wedding to Martin, flying to Australia on a mission of self-discovery. Back in London, Violet finds herself feeling sorry for suddenly-single Martin. At least, she tells herself it's pity she feels. Then he comes calling one dark, stormy night and they discover that beneath their mutual dislike there lies a fiery sexual chemistry.
It's crazy and all-consuming - and utterly wrong. Because not only are they chalk and cheese, oil and water, but Martin once belonged to her best friend. A friend Violet is terrified of losing. What future can there be for a relationship with so many strikes against it?
Small Cow Productions. May 3, 2012.