Genre: Romance, Adult
Trigger warnings: Sex, alcohol use, being left at the altar, workplace racism and sexism mention
At the age of 25, Carolina Santos was left at the altar by her then fiancé due to a drunken conversation he had with his younger brother, the best man. Three years later, Lina is Over It, looking past insignificant things like looking for love, and running a successful wedding planner business (irony duly noted). Lina’s skill at her job lands her and opportunity of a lifetime but to beat out the competition she is forced to collaborate with aforementioned best man and almost brother-in-law.
Max Hartley works at his mother’s marketing firm and is forced to collaborate with his elder brother despite the animosity and competitiveness that is constantly brewing between them. He is determined to prove that he can take on a leading role by setting himself apart with a hotel client. Unfortunately the client has him working with his brother’s ex fiancée who loathes him.
Lina is ready to exact petty revenge on Max for the drunken conversation while Max does his best to get past the animosity knowing that their teamwork will land them on top. As they’re forced into partnership that tension goes from animosity to sparks of interest. But can they get past the massive elephant in the room??
^^ attempt at writing my own summary.. Successful? y/n pls share because quoting goodreads might be easier but this was also kinda fun.
I picked up the book based off hype from twitter friends and did not read the summary so when I started this I fully thought that Max was Andrew’s younger SISTER not brother so that was a full two pages of delighted confusion… sapphics?!?!?! yes please!! But alas. Moving on.
Some things off the top of my head…
The book is told in dual perspective, alternating between Max and Lina so we get sappy dialogue from both of them. Best case scenario where one of the characters is a chocolate loving doofus and the other is a meanie on the outside but soft serve ice cream on the inside. The balance that this provided the story was really nice. When things got too emotionally tense with one character, it would switch so that I as a reader got some space from all the tension but could also see how Max or Lina was being perceived from the outside.
I get so easily embarrassed by dumb things characters do, awkward run ins, anticipating someone walking in when compromising things are happening, absolutely all of it. This book thankfully balanced that out with a whole lot of humour. I was able to laugh through through the tension because the awkwardness wasn’t left to fester. The only time the tension was allowed to build was during the obvious emotional climax when hasty decisions were being made. That made full sense with the story because emotions were running high for both Max and Lina and at that point in the book I was unable to put it down anyways.
On to characters…
Right off the bat, Lina stood out as a no nonsense business boss bitch and I LOVED HER SO MUCH. She’s been through some shit as an emotional person and has learnt to keep her feelings locked up, only to be let loose in public restrooms or at home where absolutely no one can witness that she’s the biggest goddamn softie there is. As a Black-Latina, Brazilian American, she feels not only society’s pressure on her to keep calm but also her family’s expectations for her to be successful. A lot is riding on her ability to not lose face in tough situations. Just that amount of nuance to her character made her so incredibly interesting!! Reading her internal struggles and then seeing her calm exterior through Max’s eyes was such a nice juxtaposition and really solidified her character. I also love how slowly she opened up and started emoting more. It wasn’t a complete 180 to the point of speaking her mind but she was able to talk through her feelings with her friends and allow Max to witness her vulnerable side. I could cry at that character development!!!
Max was bland until he started talking about eating cake. That’s when I knew he’d be a star. A fit ass white boy with a corporate job and unabashed love for marble cake, YAS BABIE THAT IS WHAT I LIKE TO SEEEE!!!! He isn’t in Lina’s good books from the beginning but he tries to apologize and at least set up a functioning professional relationship with her which I appreciated. As he started to fall for Lina homeboy said, and I quote, “I’d take better care of [your secrets]” and when I tell you I hollered!!!!!!!! Who does that!!!! What!!!! This soft boy realized that Lina is guarded with her past and promised to earn her secrets and take care of them!!! YOUR WHITE BOY COULD NEVER!!!!! UGHHHHHHHH What a moment. All the sex scenes can throw themselves out I’d reread that one scene for eternity.
Lina and Max have this fascinating dynamic of Super Professional+Subterfuge Flirting+I Will Kill You Don’t Try Me and it’s so unbelievable perfect. They play off each other so well. Without spelling it out on the page I could feel their opinions of each other changing slowly. Absolute genius work by Mia Sosa.
There’s also a scene during their one day fake dating scenario (YEAH. We got some fake dating AND bed sharing. *chefs kiss*) where during a wee relationship therapy session Max asks Lina to be more open. Homegirl had the choice of high tailing it out but she took the moment to talk about how emotional vulnerability as a Black Latina woman in the workplace and in life has had major detrimental effects to her career and her relationships with people. It’s beautifully explained and Max takes that in stride, promptly apologizing which,,,,,folks here’s a white boy with some sense of awareness. He’s one of the good fictional white boys. That scene was so super important and I profusely thank Mia Sosa for putting it in the book. She didn’t have to but she took the time. TYVM.
Natalia, Jeslene, Tia Viviane, Lina’s mother, Max’s best friend Dean, and (begrudgingly) Andrew the ex were all well developed side characters. Lina’s family dynamics were super fun to read. I could picture myself in all the chaos of join family life, everyone talking at once, code switching, language switching, silent communication, all of it. It made for a well rounded cast of characters and I found myself eager to read about them and enjoy their banter on the page.
Dean and Max also have a really fun dynamic. Their bond is devoid of toxic manliness and they casually talk about love and relationships, meet each other at the drop of a hat, and sleep over and share a bed. WE LOVE THAT FOR THEM!!!! Soft boys being bffs with healthy expectations for each other. Love to see it.
I would have actually loved to see Lina interact with Dean tbh. Max gets flamed alive by Lina’s entire family and makes it out in once piece. Iconic for a white boy. Lina deserved the same level of best friend vetting and I badly wanted to see it on the page.
The sex scenes were fun. As is typical I spent most of that time trying to figure out the logistics of their positions and the How’s and Why’s and Where’s of intercourse. I also had a good number of loud cackles during these scenes so that they were additionally entertaining.
Definitely put this book on your tbr if you’re on the prowl for a fun romance because OOOOH THIS WAS GOOD!!!!
Let me know your thoughts if you’ve already read it!! Byeeeeeee