Las Vegas Love | Two Romances Betting It All

It might be known as a place for fake marriages, but these two novels make love real in Sin City.

Adams, Sarah. The Rule Book. Dell. Apr. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780593723678. pap. $18. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Nora Mackenzie just landed her first client as a full-time sports agent— unfortunately, he’s her ex-boyfriend, NFL tight end Derek Pender. Derek is less than thrilled when he learns that his new agent is the woman who broke his heart in college. He decides that if Nora really wants to be his agent, she must work for it. Derek puts Nora through the wringer for a bit, and they travel to Vegas after she lands him an amazing endorsement opportunity. But one fun night together ends with Derek and Nora married, and their relationship becomes a media sensation, putting Nora’s job in jeopardy until Derek agrees they should not annul the marriage right away. This keeps them in closer proximity than either is expecting, and their time together makes them aware of their feelings for each other. When a new scandal threatens their second chance, Nora and Derek’s new foundation is rocked, and they must learn to rely on each other without losing sight of their own goals. VERDICT Fans of Sarina Bowen and P. Dangelico will love Adams’s (Practice Makes Perfect) newest laugh-out-loud and heartwarming tale.—Ashli Wells

Forest, Kristina. The Partner Plot. Berkley. Feb. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780593546451. pap. $18. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

A drunken, fake Las Vegas wedding upends the lives of two former high school sweethearts in Forest’s (The Neighbor Favor) enjoyable romantic comedy. After a chance encounter leads jet-setting celebrity stylist Violet Greene and high school teacher and basketball coach Xavier Wright to rekindle their young love, a lot of alcohol causes them to wake up in bed together with a photo of them at a (fake) wedding chapel. They aren’t able to go their separate ways, though, when a little white lie to a reporter about being married becomes grist for the rumor mill in their hometown, and soon Violet and Xavier find their lives entwined once again, under the watchful eyes of a cast of small-town characters. The story hits all the beats of a customary marriage-of-convenience romance and incorporates several of the best tropes, but Violet’s unconventional career raises the stakes in a way that makes the novel feel fresh. Both main characters have believable baggage that keeps them apart, even if their fake-marriage scheme strains credulity. VERDICT A fun, breezy rom-com that will please fans of fake relationship stories.—Jenny Kobiela-Mondor

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