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Surprise Groom

(Marital Bliss #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?

Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort — their home and livelihood — unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest, and Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a
Kindle Edition
Published May 16th 2019
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  146 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I had a difficult time with this story.
It was push and pull the entire time. Pushed me away and then pulled me back in.
I almost gave up and threw in the towel (which is a rarity for me) but I held on.
In the end, I'm glad I didn't give up.
Can I recommend it? I'm not so sure....
Things wavered from 2 stars to 3.5. Overall, I think I can settle on 3.
Why the 2?
Well, frequently I had a hard time believing things.
For example...if my best friend left and 10 or 12 years passed I can't imagine NOT r
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a joy that was! I think this has just jumped to the top of the list for my favourite DJ Jamison reads.

It's a common trope but here given a bit of twist with an old friend, confused feelings, a devious father and a slow burn friendship rekindled which just worked perfectly.

I loved everything about this, from prickly Julian realising that Caleb might be more than just a way to get back on his feet, to Caleb realising he probably had feelings for Julian way back when they were just a pair of y
BWT (Belen)
Surprise Groom is a dual POV, marriage contract turns real romance, with amazing character arcs, smart dialogue, hot sex, a great supporting cast including a gross villain ready to ruin everything, and a happy ending.

I absolutely loved the first 85% of Surprise Groom. (view spoiler)
One of my secret passions is a good "marriage of convenience" romance. It's probably from cutting my teeth on Barbara Cartland and all those virginal governesses and strong silent men in tight breeches. DJ Jamison does a stellar job of taking a standard trope and updating it into a tale of two boyhood friends who marry - Caleb to save the family wedding business on Bliss Island, and Julien to settle his debts, end his career as a go-go-dancer, and mostly to stand up to the father who threw him o ...more
Joyfully Jay
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sammy
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

D.J. Jamison is a new author to me and this latest release, Surprise Groom, has definitely cemented the idea that I will be checking out this author’s other work as soon as possible. Before anyone worries, this is not a “gay for you” trope, but rather a story about a man who had a pretty traumatic experience in his teens that caused him to bury his attraction to men for quite some time. Caleb is bisexual and it takes reconnecting with his childhood best friend, Ju
Serena Yates
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019, gay, bisexual
‘Surprise Groom’ is a wonderful variation on the fake marriage/marriage of convenience idea, a story filled with family drama and personal revenge, and a very entertaining look at two best friends who lost touch only to find themselves reunited twelve years later. “Fake it till you make it” is a central theme and puts this much-praised skill (and sometimes well-meant advice) in a new light. The idea is to pretend to be self-confident and able to do something in order to make people believe you a ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a free copy to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This was a fast read that had a sweet story and a beautiful setting. I liked both Caleb and Julian but I honestly didn't feel the chemistry that I thought I would or was expecting. Besides Julian's crazy dad, there wasn't much angst to this book. If you like the fake marriage trope than you will enjoy this book. The setting is by far my favorite part of the book, I could imagine Bliss Island and wanted to be there and see it for myself.
This was a fantastic read! I started this book feeling a little unsure. The cover is gorgeous and the blurb was interesting, but I’ve read A LOT of fake marriage/fake romance novels over the years, to the point where I feel like I find them a little repetitive and unoriginal at this point. But honestly? When I saw the cover and read the blurb I thought “I really have to give this one a go!” And boy am I glad I did, because I enjoyed it so much!

For the first few pages, I wasn’t sure where this wa
Natosha Wilson
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing about a lot of drama. This book is full of it but in a very good way. One straight man...,one gay man...., a debt to be paid...., and a marriage contract to pay the debt....., What could possibly go wrong????? Well to answer that question, soooo much. But that is what made this such an incredible read. And I am so glad that this is going to be a series because I will definitely be reading the next book after reading this one.

Caleb has found himself in a no win situation. When his dad
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Marriage of convenience books tend to be lighter, fun reads with a good dose of chemistry, and I was excited to read Surprise Groom after seeing the blurb. Although there was a lot to like about the first book in the author’s new Marital Bliss series, it had ups and downs for me. That said, I think this book will end up being a win with many readers because the characters are great, the setting unique, and the story interesting.

Surprise Groom hooked me early on. I liked Caleb right away and wan
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This book is both highly entertaining and completely ridiculous. A complicated and completely implausible set of circumstances force Caleb to propose a fake marriage to Julien, his childhood friend and current Miami go-go dancer. Julien’s father makes for a dastardly villain and flamboyant Julien makes a lasting impression on Caleb’s high society friends in Maine.

Whew. Even the story premise is exhausting. Honestly? The book on
Emily Seelye
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This lovely story is made up of a combination of some of my favorite tropes: marriage of convenience and best friends to lovers.

When Caleb finds out there is a way to erase his father’s debt by marrying an old business associate’s offspring, he tracks down the son and strikes a deal to try and save his home.

He doesn’t plan on falling in love with his former best friend, in fact he’s quite surprised by his attraction the other man.

This is a well written and enjoyable story.


*ARC pr
Ravenclaw Silverstripe
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this one. Fake marriage tropes can go either way, but this one went in all the best ways. I loved the pacing, the chemistry, the dialogue, and the build up to something real. Definitely recommend this one!

*ARC in exchange for honest review*
Dieter Moitzi
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-book-reviews
More accurately, it's 4.5 stars.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This review has been originally posted at Gay Book Reviews - check it out!

I read the blurb and thought, “DJ Jamison, do I see you coming!” There might have been some eye-rolling from me as well, if I remember correctly. Then the ARC arrived, I started reading. And was most pleasantly surprised. Not that the friends-to-lovers trope was heavily improved or changed in an innovating way. But “Surprise
Mari Cardenas ~ Bayou Book Junkie
4 Stars!

Surprise Groom is the first book in this new series by DJ Jamison and as such, it's a pretty good start for it. I'm intrigued by what other scenarios/tropes Ms. Jamison might concoct with Bliss Island as a backdrop.

I really liked Caleb and I thought his journey from straight-guy to maybe-not-so-straight-after-all to bisexual was very well done. I loved that he was so determined to find a way to keep Bliss Island and frankly, I thought he came up with a very good idea to achieve it. I lik
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some might say that "fake marriage turns into true love" is a trope that has been done before and they'd be right. Of course, pretty much every trope has been done many, many times across all genres since stories have been told. It doesn't really matter how many times a trope or plot has been done, what matters is how well its been written. DJ Jamison has done an exceptional job with "fake turned true" in Surprise Groom and there's plenty of twists and turns for the unexpected couple throughout ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Book: 3.5/5
Book cover: 2.8/5

I'll get the superficial (not really) out of the way. I can't believe someone was paid for this book cover. Anyone could do better with 20 minutes of free PS online tutorials and 10 minutes using PS. It isn't irrelevant since so many people are attracted to book covers and conversely are turned off by them. I keep seeing these low quality covers for m/m books, some of which are well-written so it's a disappointment that the covers are so amateurish and of poor quality
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where to start about this book?
Should I start with just how amazing Julien and Caleb are?
How about Caleb's mom and the rest on Bliss Island? Oh! how about Sophie, Julien's sister who can certainly hold her own, kick butt and take names? Then I could mention Julien's (ICK) father. Nahh! I let you discover THAT for yourself.
So many colorful characters make it SO enjoyable.
Let's focus on the wonderful story that is Julien and Caleb. Best friends from childhood, torn apart by evil, brought back t
Kendra T
Caleb owns a resort island with his mom, but his father left them in severe debt. Julien's dad used to be friends with Caleb's parents, but he is actually a jerk of epic proportions. He kicked Julien out when he was a kid for being gay and he is about to collect the island as payment on a loan that Caleb and his mom didn't know about. In order to save the island, the father tells Caleb that he needs to marry his daughter, but Caleb sees the contract just says "child", so off he goes to find Juli ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great story written by D.J. Jamison!
I really like fake marriage theme and this one is amazing!
Caleb is just perfect, I want to marry him!

Caleb is in debt because of is father. An old contract force him to marry if he wants a chance to save his Island resort.
Julien was discarded by his father at 15 for being gay. At 18 he became go-go dancer and almost 10 years later he doesn't like dancing as much as before.
When Caleb arrived from his past and proposed to him, he accepts in the hope o
Denise GremoryKohta
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the things that make me such s fan of this author is how well thought out and researched her work is. Every aspect and connection is expertly detailed without being too much or distracting. You see the character’ thought process that led to the steps taken. Of course in true DJ Jamison style you sometimes have to wait for it. With characters you love and some you love to hate, her books always make me happy. Caleb and Julien are very lovable. Even better is the fact that their issues were ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When presented with an ultimatum to marry the sister of his childhood friend or face foreclosure on his family’s debt, Caleb Taylor finds a loophole in the loan agreement and travels to Florida to convince Julien, the friend whom he hasn’t seen in many years, to marry him. A fake relationship for two years, it will be a simple business arrangement, and advantageous to both of them… Caleb will keep his family business and private island on the New England coast, and Julien will improve his situat ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great story from this author! We start off with a fake romance in order to save the family business in an arrangement between childhood friends Caleb and Julien. They hadn't seen each other for years and were on very different paths. It builds into so much more and is done in such a way that you can't help loving both men and the family around them. There are the requisite bad guys that we have several reasons to dislike and each man has their own issues to deal with regarding their past ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and engaging love story that has all the feels for me! I just so enjoyed the story-line because it was creative yet felt authentic to me. Best friends in childhood who lose contact and then necessity brings them together as adults. I really connected with the MC's in this plot, they are multi-dimensional and likable. The writing flowed and the plot was was well laid-out.

Julien and Caleb's connection and attraction sets the stage for a wonderful journey into their developing relations
Isa Tis
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Surprise Groom est un petit roman feel-good sans prétention qui m'a fait passer un moment agréable. Le thème n'a certes rien d'original, celui d'un mariage blanc qui évoluera en grand amour, mais j'ai particulièrement aimé le fait que cela se joue entre deux amis qui se sont perdus de vue depuis des années. Le cadre, celui de l'île de Bliss Island, est charmant aussi et nous donne la sensation d'être plongé dans une bulle.
Alors, c'est vrai que c'est un peu farfelu et j'avoue que je n'ai pas vrai
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really, really enjoyed reading about this fake marriage.

Julian and Caleb are childhood best friends, estranged when Julien was kicked out his home by his father for being gay. Caleb is in danger of losing his livelihood due to a debt his family has with Julien’s father, and a clause that states that a marriage between the two families would erase the debt seems to be the perfect solution.
Caleb, supposedly straight (or…) decides to track down his former best friend instead of asking his sister
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, awesome-saga
Where to even start?? This one is an absolute winner!! I love this book so much.

Fake relationship and marriage of convenience/contract with dual POV. Can it get any better? It's one of my favourite tropes and this book is one of my favourite reads.

I adore Julien and Caleb. They are so perfect for each other. I just wanted to wrap up Julien and hug him so bad. I loved how their relationship grew from rekindled friendship to love.

The secondary characters are amazing. Loved Sofia and Caleb's mothe
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the fake relationship trope and this is a gem. Caleb and his mum run a wedding resort on a private island and when a loan that they didn't know about becomes due they are faced with a dilemma, either they loose the resort or he marries one of the children of the investor, Louis Chastain.
While Louis is determined that Caleb marry his daughter, Caleb decides to look up his old best friend, Julian Chastain.
Julian was disowned by his father when he was a teenager because he was gay and Caleb
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fake Husband MM Romance

3 stars!

This is the first book in the new marital bliss series which is likely to have 4 books.

First,I LOVE a fake husband romance! For me there is nothing better which made this an immediate pick up. I love the drama of the bad dad and the secrets of island.

What I think could have been improved was the pacing of the story. The first 60% was slow. The author was building the story and relationship which was nice but maybe too much at times. Maybe it was that not a lot of
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love fake relationship turn real stories. I adored Julien and felt like I got to know his character better than Caleb's, but that does not mean I felt disconnected from Caleb. There were just more history details for Julien that were revealed. Julien and Caleb were great together, and when they really connected, they were hot.

The Louis, and Topher, drama added to the story, but sometimes it seemed a bit much or forced. It served a purpose, though, so it was necessary to an extent. Having said
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DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing novellas centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources, and their readers.

When she's not laboring over her works of fiction, she's blogging and tweeting about books, reading books or doing that other dreaded thing: her d