This didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, but I can see why fans of friends to lovers romances would eat it up. One of my favorite tropes is marriage of convenience, so I was cautiously optimistic that this would be the rare friends to lovers scenario that would resonate with me. And there are some pretty great elements to the story – I loved that the cinnamon roll hero is SO gone for his girl; that was apparent from the first few chapters, and remained one of the best parts for sure. There are some swoony situations that almost melted my heart… but it seemed like something was always getting in the way. For one, the heroine’s reluctance to cross the line was very, very frustrating. There were also tons of time jumps that just completely extinguished all of the chemistry that was building. It’s like the book moves through time so quickly that none of the moments had the depth they needed – making me feel like this had tons of unfulfilled potential.
The story follows Mia, a woman who needs a kidney transplant. She’s been living with chronic illness for the last decade, and that has made her avoid relationships. Mia doesn’t want to burden a loved one with the responsibility of caring for her, so she’s buried her feelings for her best friend (Noah), and has almost convinced herself that they don’t exist. But when an educational opportunity presents itself and Noah suggests that they get married so Mia can have health insurance without needing to work on her own, the offer is tempting. Anyone who has met the two of them knows how deeply they care for each other, but spending time in close proximity is dangerous. Noah has been head over heels for Mia for what feels like forever, and calling her his wife is surely not going to change that.
I always have a tough time with friends to lovers romances because I get distracted with thoughts of the characters’ messy dating histories – and this book leads with that. Mia goes so far as to push Noah towards other women, and that definitely got a bit of a side-eye from me. Noah was steadfast the entire time though, determined to have this time with Mia and support her along the way. I really loved Noah, and he’s what made me want to rate the book higher. Seriously good book boyfriend material, for sure, and their friend bond was very well developed. I think I would’ve had a much easier time settling into the story if it hadn’t constantly been jumping forward a few weeks or a month at a time. It was like every time I would start to feel the chemistry and become invested in the romance, there would be a time jump. So I was left with my frustration over Mia’s attitude or my distraction over their history, and that prevented me from settling into the moment. Which is a real shame, because there’s a whole lot that I liked about this – if it hadn’t bounced between so many different times and subplots, then I think I would’ve really enjoyed it.
Would you rather play it safe in the friend zone, or risk it all with a modern marriage of convenience?
Noah and Mia have always been best friends, and their friendship is the most important thing to them. Life is going great for Noah and he’s up for a promotion in a job he loves. But Mia’s life is on hold as she awaits a kidney transplant. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and, never wanting to be a burden, has sworn off all romance. So when the chance of a lifetime comes to go back to school and pursue her dream, it’s especially painful to pass up. She can’t quit her job or she’ll lose the medical insurance she so desperately needs.
To support her, Noah suggests they get married—in name only—so she can study full-time and still keep the insurance. It’s a risk to both of them, with jobs, health and hearts on the line, and they’ll need to convince suspicious coworkers and nosy roommates that they’re the real deal. But if they can let go of all the baggage holding them back, they might realize that they would rather be together forever.
About the Author:
Allison Ashley is a music-loving, coffee-drinking mom of two who loves love stories. She’s an oncology pharmacist and spends her days focused on helping patients through one of the hardest things life can throw at them. Her escape has always been books—specifically books about happiness, love, and laughter—and it was inevitable that she’d eventually write her own. She promises to always write stories with deep romance, intense connection, and humor…but most of all, that coveted happy ever after.
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