Happily Never After

Berkley. Mar. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780593638019. pap. $18. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sophie Steinbeck is at the altar about to say “I do” to her cheating boyfriend, Stuart Lauren, albeit begrudgingly, because she can’t see any other way out of her situation. When their officiant asks the requisite question about anyone objecting to the union, a handsome stranger stands up to state his case: Stu has been unfaithful. Sophie later discovers that her best friend paid the handsome stranger, Max Parks, to object to the marriage, freeing Sophie from her predicament. It’s an occasional gig for Max, and he enlists Sophie’s help at the next wedding. The two agree to a platonic friendship as they work together, even though their chemistry is undeniable. Neither will admit that their romance is more than lust, but they are about to learn that love can find its way into the hearts of even its toughest critics.
VERDICT A rom-com for the cynics, Painter’s (The Love Wager) latest is peppered with sarcasm while the heat remains at a low sizzle. The supporting cast is equally funny and helps to round out an entertaining yarn that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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