An invitation to an ex-fiancé’s destination wedding and a whimsical decision to fill out the invite with a check in the plus-one box leads to a passionate and sassy second chance at romance.
Saylor ended a six-year relationship right before her wedding and can’t really give a solid reason why- that is, beyond the obvious that she doesn’t love him. She has focused on her bakery and tried to keep her head down after the fall-out of ditching a man from one of the most powerful, wealthy families in town. Now, she has an invitation- an invitation that she picked out- for a wedding she planned, but her name is not in the bride’s spot.
One impulsive move later brings her around to actually attending the wedding with her first love and now box office favorite Hayes Whitley pretending to be her boyfriend. Her brother pushed her to go to save her reputation and her business. She is going for closure, but it is Hayes’ reasons that have her all stirred up after all this time. He said he loved her and then he walked away without a backward glance to pursue his dreams. Now he wants to do this fake boyfriend role as a belated apology and to resurrect their friendship.
But once the event is over, Saylor knows the score. Hayes will go back to Hollywood, she’ll return to her bakery, and life must go forward without him. She doesn’t dare let him close or accept him back, but he’s Hayes and her heart might not give her a choice.
Alright, this one started out quite amusing. Saylor impulsively fills out the invitation and her bakery assistant mails it by mistake. I couldn’t believe the audacity and venom that would have someone from the wedding party of her ex-fiancé sending her the invitation. Add to that, a man who walked away from love for his career and a woman with a terrible, impulsive temper coming together to fake a relationship at the wedding and it was fixing up to be something interesting.
This was my first encounter with the author and that, too, played a part in me wanting to read this one since I’ve heard wonderful things about her books.
So anticipation was strong and maybe it was too strong. I didn’t get far into this one before I was no longer excited, but having to adjust expectation. The story had a lot of fluff with the substance. It bogged down the pace and obscured the plot to a certain extent. Mostly this was Saylor’s monologues that covered the same ground or took a long time to arrive at a point. I also struggled with Saylor’s temper. I suppose it was meant to make her look sassy, but most of the time, she unleashed it without cause and it caused extra drama. I thought it was ironic that she deliberated so long in her head, but still managed to go off half-cocked and uninformed.
But beyond my issues with the pacing and Saylor, this was still an enjoyable, passionate romance full of sweetness and spice. I appreciate it especially when a writer tackles a second chance romance and shows that the romance needed time to season and grow. Saylor and Hayes were high school sweethearts. They were truly in love at the time, but were young and not as ready as Saylor wanted to believe. Hayes made the decision to go after his dream of acting, but he wasn’t old enough to handle it right with Saylor. She took longer to pursue her dream of owning her own bakery. By the time of this story, they have both figured out who they are and what they want. Their personalities are so different, but they meshed well. Hayes got Saylor like few people could and appreciated all her qualities including her temper while at the same time Saylor saw beyond the fame and the roles to the simple guy that was Hayes.
This was only my second opportunity to listen to dual narrators and my first time for Andi Arendt and Sebastian York. I have had both recommended as audio book storytellers and now I can see why. They did a fantastic job with this story and I had no trouble picturing the characters and scenes in my mind. I would definitely listen to more of their work.
In summary, once I toned down my expectation, I ended up enjoying the story and rooting for Saylor and Hayes to have their second chance and deal with her ex (and his, for that matter). I hope her brother gets his story at some point because he was a favorite. I think readers who love the fake relationships and second chances should pick this up and give it a go- but fair warning, you will crave cupcakes like nobody’s business.
My thanks to Audible for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #385 CR
New to Me #146 author