I was nervous going into LIKE LOVERS DO by Tracey Livesay. Friends to lovers is a hard trope to pull off in a romance novel. Readers want to see the chemistry between the characters, and I’ve found some friends to lovers books lack that spark. Well, let me assure you, Dr. Nicole Allen and Benjamin Reed Van Mont have chemistry in SPADES. Whew, I am sweating just thinking about all the fire between Nicole and Ben. Thank you for that, Ms. Livesay!
In addition to friends to lovers, this book explores fake dating and forced proximity. YES. Give me all the tropes. Nicole, and extremely driven and gifted doctor, is about to start her orthopedics fellowship when a mishap at work puts her career in jeopardy. Her best friend and landlord, Ben, agrees to talk to his influential doctor parents for her, and in exchange, she offers to be his plus one for a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, where his annoying ex is planning on ambushing him.
I love that Livesay doesn’t shy away from serious topics in her romance novels. Wealth disparity, privilege, race, and many other weighty issues are woven throughout a beautifully crafted romance. Ben was such a dream boyfriend. He’s kind, thoughtful, and driven and loves Nicole to pieces by the end of the book. Nicole was just as wonderful, if a bit prickly, but I loved that she was willing to stand up for herself – always. She is such an inspirational character! I thought the conflict between them, and why they friend-zoned each other, felt realistic and thoughtfully resolved by the end of the book.
The book did start a little slow, it took me a little while to warm up to Nicole and understand Ben’s depths, but it was worth the wait! I also got a bit uncomfortable with all the other woman drama, but even that wasn’t enough to impact my enjoyment too much.
Overall, I am a big fan of this series! Livesay has a great series base with these strong and independent friends who prioritize their unique careers and life and each other. Plus, her love scenes are SO HOT. Whew. I’m sweating. Hammock sex, anyone??
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**