Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.
TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?
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Maybe This Time: A Whiskey and Weddings Novel
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Jen Mackenzie is anything but traditional – she’s smart-mouthed, snarky, bold, sexual, and determined not to show any weakness. She’s also insecure, vulnerable, a terrible money manager, and very proud. She has had a thing for TJ for the last fifteen years or so, ever since high school, but hides her feelings behind biting remarks. Now a twist of fate has Jen working at the Stag Distillery, where TJ is one of her bosses.
Trevor “TJ” Laughlin is determined to find his own success, rather than depend on his well-to-do family, and his part ownership in Stag Distillery is paying off. Having to see Jen every day at work is both pleasure and pain, as he’s also longed for a relationship with her since their high school days. Back then, TJ’s crowd didn’t hang around with Jen, who was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.
When a point comes when both Jen and TJ are free, he finally gets the courage to approach Jen about dating and a relationship. Their romance takes an uneven path with lots of highs and lows, due, I think, to how different they basically are. TJ is your typical good guy, who has his act together. He’s responsible, kind, and a gentleman. Jen flaunts her overt sexuality and unconventionality and enjoys saying shocking things. She has been very irresponsible in handling her finances, though she’s made an effort to improve. To some extent, her rocky relationship with her mother had a big part in shaping the person she is, and now that her mother is seriously ill, Jen is making an effort to mend fences. Still, I couldn’t totally warm up to Jen and the chip she carried on her shoulder.
Though MAYBE THIS TIME concludes with Jen and TJ committed to each other, I’m not feeling confident their love is forever, at least not on Jen’s part. Her self-proclaimed free spirited nature and her past actions lead me to feel she’ll become bored and want to move on. If you’re looking for a sweet, small-town romance, this is not for you. However, if you like a modern, bold, sexy story that ends with happy-for-now, MAYBE THIS TIME fills the bill. ~Rose