Without a doubt, the best in the series!!! Lauren Layne’s writing is always great, but friends to lovers romance is where she really shines. I loved the easy connection these two share, the banter and chemistry that steals the show from the beginning. While I’ve sometimes found the characters in this series to be difficult to connect to – their lives are just so incredibly different from the world I know – it was easy to sit back and enjoy this romance as it unfolded. I binged this in one sitting, and it wrapped up the series on such a high note.
The story follows Audrey, a Manhattanite who earns a living (not that she needs to) as a social media influencer. We met her in the previous books in the series – which are not required reading but enhance the story. After discovering that the man she thought she’d marry was already married to someone else, her foundation was rocked. Audrey’s no longer sure that she’s deserving of a real relationship, and when her best guy friend, Clarke, uses her to get his overbearing mother off his back by claiming they are engaged, she decides to just embrace it for awhile. Though Audrey and Clarke have the kind of friendship that only comes from years of knowing and loving each other, they’ve never considered crossing the line into more. But somehow talking about their fake wedding and sharing not-so-fake touches feels much more natural than either one expected – and that’s scary in its own right.
I love Layne’s books because they’re consistently solid reads, but this is truly the best in the series. I appreciated how much of the story is told from Clarke’s perspective, because it gave insight into this complex relationship and made it easier to follow along with how they were each feeling as things progressed. Since these two are already lifelong friends, the intimacy they share is palpable and continues to grow as they get closer. It’s a relationship with depth that far exceeds that of many you’ll find in other romance novels. I loved it from start to finish. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this friends to lovers romance.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.
Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.
But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?
Haven’t read the first two books in the series? Reviews here. They can easily be read as standalones but are richer together.