This book was like drinking a glass of champagne, bubbly, fun and intoxicating. Friends to lovers is a difficult challenge for most authors, especially when the main characters both have each other as firmly in the “friend-zone” as Audrey and Clarke. Throughout the first two books, readers witnessed their easy banter and genuine friendship. I really didn’t see any sparks, and neither did the characters. I think that’s what made their transition from buddies to *ahem* more, so much fun.
My favorite part of this book was the slow build between Audrey and Clarke. They’re life-long friends and neither of them suddenly woke up one day in love. They were forced into a fake dating relationship and slowly realized how much they mean to one another, outside of their rock solid friendship. It was masterful plot pacing! Although, I selfishly wanted it to be less of a slow burn, it totally worked for the story.
I think one of the things Lauren Layne does really well is write about jealousy in a relationship. That might sound weird, but it’s a difficult skill for most authors. It’s never an angry or scary jealousy, it usually just helps the characters realize their feelings for each other, and makes me delighted as a reader. This one had an A+ jealousy scene involving a sexy, silver fox billionaire *chef’s kiss*.
I do wish Audrey and Clarke had a little more time as a couple in actual love. An epilogue or “tie it all up in a bow” ending with all the couples wouldn’t have gone amiss. I also thought Audrey and Clarke never quite got to the emotional intimacy I expected of them it was always a little too surface, even the “deep” parts.
Overall, Lauren Layne has written another delightful series. She does the best job writing light and fun contemporary romances that never fail to put a smile on my face. Again, selfishly, I wish she would back away from the “fade to black” scenes, but I’ll take what I can get!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**