Irish on the Rocks (Murphy Brothers #2) by Magan Vernon
Released: September 17, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Reviewed by Keyrsten
My family's whiskey empire needs to keep me as CEO. But thanks to my dad's will, to take my place as rightful head of the company, I need to find a wife. If I could just get my brother Sean's pain-in-the-arse best mate, Grace, out of my head long enough to focus on finding a decent woman.
The woman maddens me, but she's a longtime friend of the family, so giving her a job as my assistant is the only way I can keep everyone off my back. But the more time I spend with her, the more I find myself looking differently at this girl from my past.
Too bad she's decided not to give me the time of day.
Grace is smart as a whip and can toss witty remarks around like its nothing. She has been through quite a lot these last few months, but in spite of that she continues to be determined and as hardworking as ever. After her parents divorced and she lost her job, she found herself believing marriage was a sham and moving out of the country. Dublin isn't where she expected to be living, but she's trying to make the best of it. She is offered an assistant position working for her best friend's older brother, the brother she happened to have a crush on growing up. It wasn't the type of work she was used to, but she decided to put her best foot forward until a publishing opportunity arose. Grace believed her school girl crush on the playboy older brother was long gone, but she can't help but be pulled in by the caring gentleman he grew up to be. Feelings start to blossom, but how can she love a man if she doesn't believe love is real?
Jack believes whole heartedly that he and his brothers are the best fit to run his family's whiskey/pub business. When he was younger he proved to be quite the cocky obnoxious playboy, but as he has gotten older he has grown into a caring gentleman who at times can be crass. He is willing to do everything he can to keep the business in the family, even if that means finding a wife. Despite his reservations, he can't help but be drawn to his new assistant / younger brother's best friend. He knows he should stay away from her, but she is the first woman he has ever been drawn to in such a way. Her touch lights a fire through his otherwise icy disposition. Grace has repeatedly told Jack she doesn't believe in marriage, and even though he needs a wife to keep his company he can't bring himself to let Grace go. Can Jack prove to Grace that love and marriage are worth fighting for, or will he lose his company fighting for the only woman he's ever wanted?
Jack had my heart the moment he started caring for our dear Janey Pawsten. You can really tell a lot about a man by how he treats your fur baby. If I had been Grace I would have dropped down on my knees right here and asked him to marry me. Grandmom put it best, "The sexy Irish hunk with a butt like a sailor? Of course, I could never forget him." It was sweet watching Jack and Grace's relationship bloom. You come to learn that he actually has a big heart for those he cares about, and it was nice to see him show that side of himself to Grace. Of course they had their moments where the argued, but they challenged each other to be better. I understand Grace's reservations, though there were plenty of times I wanted to throttle her and yell, "For lanta's sake woman let him love you!" There is only a taste of smut, but there is a lot of sexual tension. If you want touchy feely more than smutty, than this is the book for you.
Lacey's character arc was bit of a dud for me. There is so much untapped history with her that I think could have propelled our climax to another level if we got to see more of that. Her relationships with both Grace and Jack could have been expanded on a little more to make that plot point hit you harder in the gut. Call me dramatic, but I like my climaxes to rip my heart out and then my resolutions to piece me back together. This was more of a sucker punch in the gut and the culprit ran away laughing. More annoying than heart wrenching.
I feel like Grace's relationship with her father after the divorce would have been an interesting dynamic to add to the story. It is mentioned several times that he devastated her mom, but how did that affect Grace. How did their relationship change? Being a child of divorce myself, I felt like Grace's feelings and relationship with her father was brushed under the rug. Her character dimension could have benefited more with showing that broken piece of her.
The friendships, the kooky grandmother, and the romance was enjoyable to read. I wasn't sure they were a good fit at first, but the more you get to know them the more the just feel right together. They challenge each other to do more and be better. The hearts they both have are so caring, and they were so thoughtful with one another even when they didn't agree with the other one. It isn't always about finding the "perfect" person who agrees with everything you do and believe in. It's about finding the one person you want to argue with forever.
Rating: 4 stars
Give me an alpha male with a woman who aces all forms of sarcasm and I'm putty in you hands -- bonus points if a Reverse Harem is involved. Supernatural esque romance and power plays tend to make my heart go pitter patter. I haven't met a book I wasn't willing to try, so if you've got recommendations email them my way. I'm a foul mouthed makeup addicted with slight wino tendencies.