A friends-to-lovers romance about two roommates and business owners in New York City.
Margaret and Rich are often mistaken for brother and sister—even fraternal twins—but the truth is far more complex. Both are tall, dark-haired, and glamorous, and they both work part-time as models in exotic locales, such as Jamaica. Their real passion, however, is their shared business: the Firehouse, a renovated Manhattan fire station that’s now a popular beer-and-burger hangout. Neither hails from New York, however. Margaret is a debutante from Kentucky who found professional modeling work and a passion for food while working a side gig at the famous Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Rich grew up in Wyoming and played college football in Arizona, where he met his wife, Sandy—who left him and ran off to California. After he moved to the East Coast, he and Margaret developed a friendship over oysters, and eventually a business partnership. Now business is booming, and Margaret and Rich happily cohabitate in the renovated apartment upstairs while keeping their relationship purely hands-off—aside from a few kisses. Margaret and Rich spend nearly every waking moment together and even celebrate holidays with each another’s families, so colleagues and friends wonder why they’re not dating. Then Rich receives bombshell news about his ex-wife and Margaret is forced to confront her feelings. At less than 120 pages in length, Trice’s debut novel offers a quick read. However, it’s one that’s short on plot and character development, and long on inconsequential details, such as what Rich likes to watch on TV (Monday Night Football) and what the pair make for dinner on infrequent nights off (peanut-butter sandwiches). The concept of two friends who clearly have romantic chemistry is rich with potential. However, in this novel, Trice fixates on the elaborate backstories of her hero and heroine, instead of having them explore their complicated emotions about each other. It’s a narrative choice that leaves the novel feeling flat, rather than fiery.
A brisk but unsatisfying romance that’s more concerned with food than feelings.