(ARC Review) This is a fun friends-to-lovers holiday themed book with typical Max Monroe humor and tons of Billionaire cameos from previous books.
It is pretty slow burn and the pacing was a little odd to me. The first half of the book was her dating other men, we were very far into the book before either realized they had feelings for the other. If there were more longing or unrequited love, maybe a spark from a brush of the hand, the slow burn wouldn’t have been a problem but it felt off as is because the feelings came very quickly and late into the story.
The second half had all the action, steam and holiday events and I loved it once the pace picked up! Overall I did like it since it’s funny throughout and the second half was lovely.
Goal: Find a boyfriend, get married, buy a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and pop out 2.5 kids.
Deadline: Sixty days.
That’s possible, right?
I’m kidding. Well, kind of. I mean, I’m not going to attempt a shotgun wedding or try to get knocked up by some guy I met on the internet, but there is no doubt that, this year, home for the holidaystakes on a whole new, terrifying meaning.
I have to travel from New York City—my home and safe haven for the last fifteen years—to my tiny hometown in Vermont for Christmas, my baby sister’s wedding, and my high school reunion.
Talk about a trifecta of single-doom.
Throw in Callie Camden—aka my high school class’s version of Regina George—and it’s a recipe for certified disaster.
Especially since my mouth ran away from me when she asked me if I’d be bringing someone to our reunion, and I told her to put me down for two.
Gah. Now I can’t go alone.
But the online dating world is a cesspool of bad manners, speedy hookups, and outright weirdos.
Handsome, single, successful—that’s what I’m looking for.
And it just so happens that my best friend Luke London fits all of the criteria.
The only problem is best friends don’t kiss…
But maybe it doesn’t count if it’s pretend?
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I only get two steps toward my door when my phone starts ringing from inside my purse. I dig it back out again to find an unknown number with a Vermont area code flashing on the screen.
I know I should let it roll to voice mail, but Aunt Poppy called me from jail one time, and I never heard the end of how I wasted her one phone call by not answering.
Reluctantly, I hit the green button and put it to my ear.
“Ava! It’s Callie!”
Damn Aunt Poppy and her fascination with streaking!
“Oh, uh…hi, Callie…”
“Sorry to bother you, but I had one more question to ask, and since I now have your number, I figured I’d just call you really quick!”
Greattt. “Sure thing,” I say with saccharine sweetness.
“Since I have to finalize the head count for the venue by tomorrow, I need to know if I should just put you down as a single,” she begins. “Pretty sure your mom told me you weren’t married or engaged or dating anyone, but I just want to double-check that you’re still single. Honestly, I think you’re one of only ten people from our high school that isn’t married yet!” she exclaims through an amused giggle.
I put my phone on speaker, drop it down on my entry table, and give it the double finger with as much gusto as I can manage.
Obviously unaware of my display, she continues. “So crazy that most of us have reached the age where we’re married, and some with kids now. Which, by the way, I can’t believe your baby sister Kate is getting married before you. Soon, you’re going to be the only single Lucie left!”
My tongue is tied by an imaginary angry fist, but it doesn’t matter. One of the only positive qualities Callie possesses is the ability to carry on an entire conversation herself.
“By the way, you’re the best for helping me plan the reunion!”
“That’s me.” The best people-pleasing lunatic in NYC who really should look into finding a good therapist to help me work through all of this before I have to head home to Vermont to watch my baby sister get married in the same week I get to attend a fifteen-year high school reunion I somehow got roped into helping plan. With the Regina George of my high school class. In less than two short months from now.
Okay. So, I don’t need to find a therapist; I need to find Jesus. I just hope he lives in Manhattan.
“So…one or two?” Callie asks, pulling me from the deep recesses of my thoughts.
“One or two?”
She giggles again. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. “How many people should I put you down for, silly?”
This is a remake of Nightmare on Elm Street; it has to be. A new Halloween movie or something. Michael Myers himself must be right outside my freaking door. That’s the only way the universe would be cruel enough to add Callie’s interest into the swirling, boiling pot my family already has roasting over the Ava’s Relationship Status fire.
Just like that, it hits me. I cannot go to this reunion and attend my baby sister’s wedding alone in the same damn week. I just…can’t.
I completely break under the fucking pressure of it all, and the words blurt from my lips before I can stop them. “Two.”
“Uh…yeah… I’ll be bringing my…boyfriend.”
You’ll be…what? You don’t have a boyfriend, Looney Tunes!
“Your boyfriend? Oh, how exciting! Your mom didn’t tell me you were seeing someone!”
Yeah, it sure is. It hasn’t even fucking started yet…
Thinking better of my answer, I add to it quickly before Callie can undercut it. “But serious. Really serious, actually. We’ve just been keeping it private so we can enjoy the perfectness by ourselves for a while.”
Dear God, Ava.
“That’s so awesome! What’s his name?”
Yeah, Ava! Tell your old archnemesis all about your imaginary boyfriend!
Panic sets in when I realize there is absolutely no way I can talk myself out of this conversation. So, I do what anyone in my situation would do—avoid it.
Three bangs of my fist to my own freaking door, I end the call in a rush, “Oh shoot, Callie! I have to go. My boyfriend just got here, and we’re already late for a big, fancy Halloween party in SoHo. Talk soon! Bye!” Click.
It’s official. I’m pathetic.
I might as well be Debra Messing’s character in The Wedding Date.
Sure, my sister didn’t have an affair with my ex while I was still dating him, but she is my baby sister whose impending nuptials will make me the oldest and last single Lucie sister. And now, because I let Callie fucking Camden get the best of me with her backhanded bullshit, I told the snooty biotch that I have a boyfriend and I’d help plan the reunion.
Call me crazy, but I highly doubt I can find a hot, Dermot-Mulroney-looking escort in under sixty days.
You know, you could just be an adult about this and tell Callie how you really feel—that you don’t have a boyfriend and you don’t want to help plan that stupid reunion with someone who was a total bitch to you in high school…
That would certainly be the easy way out, wouldn’t it?
Too bad my damn pride is making that feel like an impossible option.
On a heavy sigh, I drop my phone back in my purse, sling my bag over my shoulder, snag the stupid invitation off the counter, head straight out of my apartment, and stride right across the hall, barging through my best friend’s unlocked front door.
I swear, one of the best things Luke and I ever did was rent apartments in the same building—and on the same floor—from his rich uncle Gary. It makes freak-out moments like this a heck of a lot easier to handle.
My go-go boots pound across the hardwood floors as I make a beeline past Luke—who is standing in his living room—dump my purse, and head straight for the kitchen.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where’s the fire?” he says on a laugh. “Please tell me you haven’t gone old-school and brought a hot plate into your apartment.”
“Funny ha-ha, Luke,” I retort but keep it moving to the fridge. “The fire is my life. Everything is shit, I need a drink, and I’m pretty sure we’re already late to the party!”
About Max Monroe
A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.
Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.
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