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A Very Merry Bromance

A Very Merry Bromance

by Lyssa Kay Adams

Narrated by Andrew Eiden

Unabridged — 9 hours, 41 minutes

Lyssa Kay Adams
A Very Merry Bromance

A Very Merry Bromance

by Lyssa Kay Adams

Narrated by Andrew Eiden

Unabridged — 9 hours, 41 minutes

Lyssa Kay Adams

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Lyssa Kay Adams is now five books into her Bromance Book Club series. Just as many books deserve to be re-read Adams shows us that love deserves a second chance as well. Turn the pages – swoon & repeat. Who says you can’t learn anything from a book?

A USA TODAY BESTSELLER

'Tis the season for a Bromance Book Club matchmaking mission! This time, they're pulling out the mistletoe for everyone's favorite country music star, Colton, and his second chance at love.


Country music's golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren't about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he'd be wallowing in self-pity. 
 
It's hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she's unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family's whiskey brand. No big deal¿
 
Colton agrees to consider Gretchen's offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there's a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

08/29/2022

It’s time for the famous men of Nashville’s Bromance Book Club, who last appeared in Adams’s Isn’t it Bromantic?, to read a Christmas romance in this fun holiday romp. Country music superstar Colton Wheeler would be excited, if only his career weren’t at a standstill—and if he weren’t nursing heartache over immigration lawyer Gretchen Winthrop. After meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding, the pair spent one unforgettable night together—which, to Colton’s mind, was not enough. When they’re thrown back together by Gretchen’s immensely privileged family, Colton finally has a chance to show her how much more they could have. Gretchen’s finding it difficult to enjoy the Christmas season while her clients are struggling just to stay in the country, and Colton is determined to raise her spirits—with help from the book club and the knowledge they’ve gleaned from their Christmas romance “manual.” Slowly, his easy charm and enthusiasm for the Christmas traditions she never experienced with her cold, distant family warm her chilly heart. The romance-loving men that give the series its name are a reliable joy, and fans will be especially pleased by all the cameos from past heroes. The result is cute, funny, and heartfelt. Agent: Tara Gelsomino, One Track Literary. (Nov.)

From the Publisher

"One of the most compelling and clever rom-com writers in the biz."—#1 New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey

A Very Merry Bromance is pacy, racy and full of heart. Lyssa Kay Adams writes witty fast paced dialogue that had me reading way past my bedtime! I couldn't put it down and now I want more!”—Jenny Bayliss, author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas

"Heartfelt and hopeful, steamy sunshine and grump goodness, A Very Merry Bromance is festive and as fun as it is full of feels—a touching, timely next installment in one of my all-time favorite series. I adored it!"—Chloe Liese, author of Two Wrongs Make a Right

"The romance-loving men that give the series its name are a reliable joy, and fans will be especially pleased by all the cameos from past heroes. The result is cute, funny, and heartfelt."—Publishers Weekly

A Christmas Hallmark movie on steroids (in the best way!), A Very Merry Bromance is yet another hit from Lyssa Kay Adams, and even more proof that we need to get her series —- and her other romance books —- into the hands of every man as soon as possible."—BookReporter.com

…if you’re in the mood for a grumpy-sunshine (or should I say Grinchy-sunshine) romance that is filled with book club bros and their shenanigans, as well as Lyssa Kay Adams’ signature wit and humor, you can’t go wrong with A Very Merry Bromance!”—The Booklish Libra

"The resulting love story is heart-wrenching but with lots of humor. It has plenty to offer for returning fans of the series and new readers alike."Library Journal on Isn't It Bromantic?

"The Bromance Book Club is a gloriously tongue-in-cheek celebration of all the things that make romance so entertaining. Entertainment Weekly

"Adams’s words help you believe that the right people find the right people."—Shondaland

"Blending comedy, romance and social commentary, Undercover Bromance is an adorable, ambitious success for a rising star in the genre."Book Page (starred review)

“Adams’s latest combines humorous elements that balance the heavier themes of workplace harassment, resulting in a fast-paced romance that offers both laughs and greater social relevance.”Library Journal on Undercover Bromance

“Adams weaves in humor, complex emotions, and excerpts from the motivational story itself to create a satisfying courtship. A strong supporting cast, including Gavin’s book clubmates and his tiny, adorable twin daughters, helps flesh out the Legends community.”Publishers Weekly on The Bromance Book Club

“A fun, sexy, and heartfelt love story that's equal parts romance and bromance.”Kirkus Reviews on The Bromance Book Club

“Readers will look forward to more books in the Bromance Book Club series after this promising start.”Booklist on The Bromance Book Club

Library Journal

09/01/2022

Country music star Colton Wheeler can't believe Gretchen Winthrop ran away. After a night of the best sex he'd ever had, he wanted to see more of her, but Gretchen left Colton's bed in a panic when he started talking about a future with her. Gretchen's family is a special level of rotten, and she had to protect him from that. Now, a year later, she reappears, asking him to be the new face of her family's whiskey brand since gaining Colton's endorsement could net Gretchen a seat on her family's foundation board. Colton doesn't care about the multimillion-dollar endorsement, but he does want to see more of Gretchen. He makes her a counter proposal: three dates, and he'll consider saying yes. In this amusing, heartwarming romance, the protagonists are well developed with emotional depth and deep backstories that are reflected in their actions and reactions. VERDICT Fans of Adams's "Bromance Book Club" series will clamor for this latest installment (following Isn't It Bromantic?), which can easily be read as a stand-alone and will also bring in new readers looking for an unputdownable holiday romance.—Heather Miller Cover

Kirkus Reviews

2022-08-31
Another member of the Bromance Book Club finds love in this fifth series outing.

Country star Colton Wheeler can’t get Gretchen Winthrop out of his head. A year ago, they had a steamy, satisfying one-night stand after a wedding, but when Colton asked to see her again, Gretchen bolted out the door. Gretchen comes from the wealthiest family in Tennessee but has turned her back on her family’s money and influence to start her own small practice providing legal expertise for immigrants. When her oldest brother asks her to reach out to Colton to be the brand ambassador to her family’s whiskey distillery, she agrees; in return, she asks for her rightful seat on the family’s charitable foundation board. When Gretchen approaches Colton, she’s surprised that he has some conditions of his own. He agrees to consider her offer if she’ll go out on three dates with him. When Colton discovers that Gretchen is a verifiable Scrooge, he's determined to use their dates to show her the joy of the Christmas season. With the help and advice of his buddies in the Bromance Book Club, Colton will show Gretchen his sunshiny personality is the perfect match for her grumpy one. Longtime readers of the series won’t be surprised when the plot takes a turn toward more serious and somber topics. In this case, Colton discovers that Gretchen is aloof and prickly as a coping mechanism from having grown up in an abusive home. Colton’s instant love and devotion for Gretchen is a fact of the book rather than something that develops over time, and the result is a relationship that doesn't feel fully developed. The novel is jammed full of scenes with characters from earlier installments and charming meetings of the Bromance Book Club, which will please fans of the series.

A solid but unremarkable effort in this long-running series about men who read romance.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178477823
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 11/01/2022
Series: Bromance Book Club , #5
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 613,334

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

One year later

Colton Wheeler lived by very few hard and fast rules, but one of them was when someone asked you to keep a secret, you took it to your grave. So it was with no small gut punch of betrayal that he realized that these guys, of all people, would go back on their word to him. They were supposed to be his best friends.

Colton adjusted the strap of his duffel bag on his shoulder with an annoyed jerk. "You swore you wouldn't tell anyone."

"Come on, man," said Gavin Scott, a yoga mat tucked under his arm. He wore a sleeveless training shirt that showed off the line across his bicep that separated pasty-white shoulder from perpetual farmer's tan. "It's not like we told total strangers."

"It doesn't matter who they are. I promised her I would keep this quiet."

"We didn't mean to put you in a bad position," said Del Hicks, jumping in. "Honestly."

"And we didn't even think you'd be here anyway," Gavin added, officially pouting.

"Why wouldn't I be here?"

"Because of the meeting. Isn't that today?"

Ah, yes. The Meeting. It had taken on such infamous significance that it was now preceded only by the followed by a capital M. The Meeting in which he would find out if he still had a career left. But his friends didn't know that. They only knew he was meeting with the music label to discuss his next album after a two-year recording hiatus.

And now he was the one who felt guilty, an emotion he'd become all too familiar with in the past year. How could he expect these guys to live up to some standard of friendship when he was betraying them every single day with the things he'd been keeping from them?

For a global music star, true friendships were hard to come by. The more famous he got over the years, the lonelier life became. It was hard to trust who really wanted to be in his life and who just wanted the bragging rights of being associated with a superstar.

But these guys, they were the real deal. The best friends he'd ever had. And they'd met in the unlikeliest of ways-through romance novels. They called themselves the Bromance Book Club, a group of men who read romance novels to learn how to see the world through a less toxic lens than the ones that all cisgender heterosexual men are taught to look through. Braden Mack was the one who had started it all and pulled Colton into it. He'd been skeptical, as most of the guys were when they first joined the book club. But Colton quickly learned it was about a lot more than books. It was about camaraderie and brotherhood. The lessons of romance novels had taught them all how to be better men, better partners, and better friends to one another.

"It's okay," Colton finally sighed. "I'll talk to-"

"Mr. Wheeler, what is the meaning of this?"

-her.

Shit. Colton steeled himself as he turned around and looked straight into the eyes of one of the most intimidating people he'd ever met. Peggy Porth. Retired elementary school principal. Certified ballbuster.

Silver Sneakers instructor.

"Hey, Mrs. Porth." Colton's voice squeaked like the time in fifth grade when he'd been caught selling PokŽmon cards during recess for twice their market value. In his defense, he'd needed the money for Christmas presents for his siblings.

Mrs. Porth stood just five foot three but somehow managed to look down at him when she spoke. "Need I remind you, Mr. Wheeler, that when you asked if you and a couple of friends could attend our classes, I agreed to just a small group. This class is supposed to be for people over fifty exclusively, but you talked me into it. But now I see three others standing by the door waiting to come in."

The others in question were huddled in a nervous circle a few feet away, occasionally casting furtive glances as if to gauge whether they were about to be tossed out by a bouncer. Colton knew them, of course, but not well, and only because they were Gavin's and Del's teammates on the Nashville Legends professional baseball team. His circle of friends included several athletes. Besides Gavin and Del, there was Yan Feliciano, another Legends player. And Vlad Konnikov, a player for the Nashville NHL team, and Malcolm James, who played for the city's NFL franchise. Which was why Colton had invited them in on this secret in the first place. Silver Sneakers was the most effective workout he'd ever had. He'd never been as strong, fit, or flexible, and it had all started by accident. He'd thought he was taking a Six-Pack Abs class but had gotten the room wrong and instead found himself sweating his balls off as he tried to keep up with the sixty-something-year-old women who made step aerobics look like a mere jaunt through the park. He'd been sore for days but kept coming back because, damn, but also because no one in the room gave a single flying fuck who he was.

Turns out, he was sort of into not being fawned over because he was Colton Wheeler.

It was one of the things that had attracted him to . . . Fuck. The Number of Days Since I Thought About Gretchen Winthrop board in his mind went back to zero.

"It's our f-fault, Mrs. Porth," Gavin said, his lifelong stutter emerging in fear of the woman. "We just wanted to share it because our teammates are getting jealous of how flexible we've become."

To prove it, he dropped his yoga mat and sprang into a deep lunge that would've sent Colton straight to the emergency room.

"See," Gavin grunted, voice strained. "I could practically play first base now if I wanted."

Mrs. Porth pursed her lips. "Stand up, Mr. Scott. You're making a fool of yourself."

Del grabbed Gavin's elbow and helped him up. Mrs. Porth sighed and looked again at the men waiting nervously by the door. "Fine," she said. "They can join. But let me remind you that if you disturb anyone-"

"They won't," Gavin said quickly. "I mean, we won't. Thank you, Mrs. Porth." Gavin raced to the door and gave the guys the good news.

A moment later, Gavin returned with his teammates in tow, all wearing variations on the standard professional athlete uniform-basketball shorts, moisture-wicking shirt, and kinesiology tape on whatever body part hurt today. After depositing their yoga mats and duffel bags, they shuffled over to Colton.

One of them extended his hand. "Hey, man. Thanks for letting us join. Jake Tamborn. We met at Gavin's birthday party last year."

"I remember," Colton said, accepting the handshake because it was the polite thing to do. He still wasn't thrilled about them being here, but he repeated the gesture with the other two men-Brad Eisenberg and Felix Pinas. Both men were in their midtwenties and had the confident posture of two dudes who had no idea what they were in for.

"Did you warn them?" Colton whispered to Del as the three men walked away.

"That they're about to get their asses kicked? Yeah."

"Did they believe you?"

"Nope."

Colton grinned for the first time since arriving at the gym. "This is going to be fun."

The door to the fitness room opened, and Vlad ran in, flustered. He dumped his yoga mat next to Colton's and shoved a Santa hat on his head. "How does this look?"

"Surprisingly good. Why?"

"Elena says I have to dress up as Santa for our Christmas party to hand out presents to all the kids."

Vlad and his wife, Elena, were hosting their first-ever Christmas party in a couple of weeks. Normally, Vlad would never have had time because of his hockey schedule, but he was still recovering from a broken leg suffered during last year's Stanley Cup playoffs. So when the guys decided to organize a Bromance family holiday party, Vlad jumped at the chance to host it because it might be his only chance.

"I've never played Santa before," Vlad said. "We don't do Santa in Russia."

"No Santa?" Gavin gasped and looked up from stretching his quads as if Vlad had just admitted to barking at the moon on Christmas Eve.

Del smacked the back of Gavin's head. "Damn, dude. Get out of your American bubble every once in a while."

"We call him Grandfather Frost," Vlad said.

Gavin sat all the way down, crossed his legs under him, and began to bounce them butterfly-style. "How is he different from Santa?"

Vlad started stretching as he spoke. "Well, he has a white beard, so that is the same. But he does not wear a red suit. He wears long robes. And he does not have reindeer. His sleigh is driven by three horses. And he is not just about giving gifts. He is about good deeds. He gets cold when he is around bad people."

"I like that. Maybe you should play him, instead," Colton offered. "No reason to change your own traditions."

"But Elena says that will confuse the kids and make them question if Santa Claus is real."

Del shrugged. "Tell them that he and Santa are friends and help each other out."

"I don't know," Gavin said. "I do kind of want to see Vlad in a Santa suit."

Vlad got a panicked look on his face. "What if I screw it up?"

Colton patted him on the back. "You'll do fine. We'll help you get ready. Just practice saying 'Ho, ho, ho.'"

Mrs. Porth clapped her hands loudly and walked to the front of the room. Next to her stood a woman about ten years younger. "Those of you who are new to the class," she said, staring directly at Jake, Felix, and Brad, "can follow a modified version of all of our exercises."

As predicted, the three new guys snorted because, of course, professional athletes would have no reason to follow a modified workout routine. They had no fucking idea what was coming.

The guys spread out in a long line extending from one side of the room to the other. In front of them, roughly thirty-five other exercisers took their places next to their own mats and bottles of water. Later, they would all grab an aerobics step for the part of the class that truly separated the women from the men.

"All right, everyone. We're going to start with some light stretching and warm-up," Mrs. Porth said. The speakers began to play a quiet, calming music, like the kind you'd hear in a day spa. "Let's get those arms loosened up with some nice, easy shoulder shrugs . . . That's it. Now start to roll them back and forward . . . Very good. Now some arm circles."

Colton spread his arms out wide and smacked hands with Felix. Colton gave him a sharp look, and Felix inched sideways with a quiet Sorry.

"Okay, everyone," Mrs. Porth said. "Now for some easy yoga poses to get those legs nice and ready to work."

Colton followed her instructions into goddess pose and several others. A moment later, he looked up from his mat to a disturbing sight. "Dude, get your downward dong out of my face."

"Isn't it called downward dog?" Brad whispered back, his face upside down between his legs.

"Not when you do it."

Brad crab-crawled a few inches away.

"Okay, everyone, excellent job," Mrs. Porth said. "Now, everyone grab your step and place it in front of you. Remember that you can adjust it to whatever height is most comfortable for you."

Mrs. Porth had the highest setting.

A moment later, Jake groaned. "Shit, you didn't tell me it would be this hard."

"What did you expect?" Colton snorted. "This is the Jazzercise generation. They've been kicking asses in leotards since the dawn of MTV."

"So what time is the meeting with the label?" Noah grunted.

"Three."

"You worried?"

Colton glanced over quickly. Did they suspect something? "No. Why would I be worried?"

Noah shrugged. "I don't know. I mean, just that you've never had a meeting like this since I've known you."

"It's just a formality," he said, adopting the no big deal attitude he'd perfected at ten years old. No one wanted to see him worried. Or mad. Or anything other than the carefree, aw-shucks playboy who had sold millions of records around the world.

Because Colton Wheeler had one job, and one job only. To make other people happy.

Even if it killed him.

CHAPTER TWO

"Your honor, may I approach?"

Gretchen Winthrop fought to keep her tone neutral as she waited for the federal judge to respond to her request. Inside, however, she was raging. It never ended, the indignities that her clients were forced to suffer. The judge nodded and waved his fingers in an annoyed make it quick way, and both she and the attorney for the government left their respective tables. The judge looked down from his desk, hand over the microphone that recorded the deportation proceedings of the Memphis Immigration Court.

"Your honor, my client is ill. She has a fever of 102 degrees and can barely sit up."

Judge Wilford raised an eyebrow and looked at Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin McQuistan. "It would seem Ms. Winthrop is correct. Why is the defendant in court sick?"

"Your honor, it is my understanding that-"

Gretchen cut him off. "My client cannot possibly be expected to contribute to her own hearing without proper healthcare. I request a postponement until Ms. Fuentes can be treated properly."

The judge waved them back to their tables. A moment later, he spoke into the record. "The court grants defendant's request for a postponement pending proper medical treatment for Ms. Fuentes."

He banged the gavel, and Gretchen let out the first full breath in over a half hour. She sat down next to her client, Carla, a fifty-six-year-old woman who'd crossed the southern border with her parents at the age of seventeen. Carla's parents had already been deported, and the court had denied her request to stay even though she'd lived in the United States nearly all her life. But she had children now. And grandchildren. A boy and a girl, both under three. An American family who loved and needed her.

Gretchen squeezed her hand. "It's going to be okay. A postponement is good. We're going to get you healed up, and I will bring you proper clothes and shoes."

Tears leaked down Carla's cheeks. "My babies . . ."

"I will request a visitation."

Too quickly, deputies took her away through the door at the side of the courtroom. Back to the detention facility where countless others waited their fate. People who came to the United States out of desperation and found the Land of the Free did not always live up to its ideals. The clerk called the next case as Gretchen shoved her files back into her bag. As she walked out, another lawyer waiting for another client took her place. An endless cycle of cruelty that tore parents from their children, wives from husbands, friends from friends. And for what reason? Because they weren't lucky enough to win the lottery of birth? Because they wanted a better life for the people they loved? Because they were too desperate to stand in the impossibly long line for legal entry while they watched celebrities and athletes and supermodels cut to the front of the line?

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