A one-night stand slowly evolves into a long-term relationship in Guillory’s (The Proposal, 2018, etc.) third book featuring an interconnected group of friends.
Maddie Forest and Theo Stephens have never liked each other. Maddie thinks Theo is annoying and arrogant, and he thinks she’s a vapid party girl. However, having the same best friend, Alexa Monroe (heroine of The Wedding Date, 2018), means they have no choice but to see each other socially. After years of terse interactions, Maddie and Theo have a one-night stand after his birthday party. The beginning crackles with promise, but then they drift into a monotonous monthslong secret affair which consists solely of them hanging out in Theo’s apartment, eating pizza, and having sex. Neither Theo nor Maddie wants to tell Alexa they’re hooking up, and when she asks both of them to be members of her wedding party, they decide the wedding will be the end point for their affair. As time passes, they share with one another their professional hopes and aspirations about making the world a better place. Theo is working to pass a statewide pre-K initiative, and Maddie dreams of landing a gig as a TV stylist for women re-entering the workforce after having gone through homelessness or rehabilitation. When Theo’s pre-K rally takes an implausible turn, they double down on secrecy even though it's clear their feelings have changed. Ultimately, the characters display a perplexing lack of initiative as romantic partners: Everything happens to them, they rarely stop to examine their feelings, and they are too afraid to share the truth in their hearts. The sheer lack of action brings the romance to a grinding halt as Maddie and Theo wait for someone else to arrive and propel them into the next stage of their relationship.
Likable characters trapped in a plodding, directionless romance.