The Love Wager

Berkley. Mar. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780593437285. pap. $17. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Hallie Piper feels like she has hit rock bottom as she finds herself crawling out of a hotel room, without a bra and in squirrel panties, after a drunken and steamy one-night stand. After that, she decides to make over her life with a new full-time job, haircut, wardrobe, apartment, and profile on a dating app. With this fresh start, why does she swipe into her one-night stand, Jack? Swearing they don’t want to date each other, they instead make a friendly wager over who will find true love via app first. Speed dating, with dates that start out as The One but quickly turn sour, Jack and Hallie are there for one another, meeting at a local taco shop to rehash their bad dates. When Hallie needs a date for her sister’s wedding, Jack steps in, agreeing to be her fake boyfriend for the weekend. As any romance fan can guess, this fake dating is the push that the friends-to-lovers couple needs to finally give into their feelings.
VERDICT A fun, flirty, and timely read from Painter (Mr. Wrong Number), with likable characters to boot.
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