Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, large print, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance
Series: Wedding Date #2
Published by Berkley Books on October 30, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn't turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own...
When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people.
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...
Like the couple in the previous book in this series, the absolutely awesome The Wedding Date, this one begins with a meet-cute, although in this case the meet starts out definitely not so cute.
Consider the opening of this story as a public service announcement. If you have never even discussed whether or not your “significant” other actually is significant, and if so how much, do not propose on the JumboTron at a major sporting event. Particularly when you can’t be bothered to get your prospective spouse’s name spelled right. Also don’t do this if you know so little about the other person that you don’t even know whether or not they’ll want to be the center of this much attention, even if the answer to your proposal might otherwise be yes.
In this case, Nikole’s about-to-be-ex is completely clueless on all counts. Or so completely self-centered that he’s only thinking about how good it looks for him (he’s an actor after all) to be on the JumboTron looking so handsome and being so romantic. When she rightfully says “No” he storms off in a temper tantrum with all of his buddies, leaving her to face the hungry sharks of the press all alone.
And that’s where Carlos Ibarra and his sister Angie step in. They’re sitting right behind the drama, and they heard it all. They also saw the paparazzi closing in on the still shell-shocked Nikole. So they elbow the press out of the way and pretend to be long-lost besties, sweeping Nikole up and getting her the hell out of Dodge. Or at least out of Dodger Stadium.
Neither Nikole nor Carlos are looking for a relationship. They’re both invested in their careers, they both have active social lives with friends, family and/or family-of-choice. But that doesn’t mean that they can manage to stop thinking about each other. And they get along so well that they are both on exactly the same page.
They both want a casual relationship with lots of laughs (and lots of great sex!) but no commitment. They both have bad experiences with commitment, and aren’t looking to repeat any of them.
But as the occasional date turns into two or three nights every week and texting all day long, it begins to look more and more like a real relationship to everyone except the two participants. Until Carlos finally figures out that love has snuck up on him after all.
Except that Nikole is having none of it, and in the ensuing fight decides that she’s having none of him anymore, either, especially after he storms out of his own house in his own temper tantrum, after saying a whole bunch of things that should have been left not just unsaid, but absolutely unthought.
The course of true love never does run smooth, but this time it’s going to take an epic breakthrough in the sour cream aisle to get the relationship back on track!
Escape Rating B: I liked The Proposal, but it just doesn’t have the sheer compulsive devourability of The Wedding Date, in spite of the epic number of scenes in Nik’s friend’s cupcakery.
In short, The Wedding Date was awesome, while The Proposal is merely good. After the first book, I was just expecting more.
Admittedly, this one does start out with quite the bang. That blindsiding JumboTron proposal scene should be a classic on multiple levels – all of them in a class on how and why not to pull such a stunt unless you are damn sure both that he or she will say yes and that they won’t change their minds about you after you make them the center of all that attention. Some people love that kind of thing, but others don’t even like to let restaurants know it’s their birthday so no one makes a fuss.
Carlos’ revelation that he loves Nik – or at least the way he went about it – should probably also be considered a PSA. If you are a morning person, do not spring this kind of surprise on your hopefully significant other the moment they wake up – especially if they are absolutely NOT a morning person. This was bound to go wrong, the only question was how badly wrong.
At the same time, one of the things that made The Wedding Date such a treat, and that also works well here, is that the problems that do arise between Nik and Carlos are not a misunderstandammit. This isn’t something that a simple conversation could have fixed. In fact, they had the simple conversation and both agreed that they were not on this page at all. Then Carlos suddenly changed the rules and Nik started floundering. She has commitment issues from prior relationships that she really needs to get over, but they had both agreed that this wasn’t going to be a relationship – until it suddenly was.
I liked both Nik and Carlos a lot, along with all of their friends and family. (Carlos is the best friend and soon-to-be best man at Drew and Alexa’s wedding, the couple from The Wedding Date). Nik’s two besties, just like Alexa’s friends in the first book are both wonderfully supportive and refreshingly blunt as required. We all need friends like them in our lives.
I think the reason why this book wasn’t as compelling a read as the first one is that except for the definitely resolved sexual tension between Carlos and Nik, there wasn’t a lot of other kinds of tension. Their road to a relationship is surprisingly smooth – at least until they figure out that they are in the relationship they both said they didn’t want. So the story doesn’t have as much drive to it as the previous book.
In the end, a sweet love story between two people who are interesting to be around and really deserve their HEA. And I am still more than curious enough to see the actual wedding between Drew and Alexa that I’m still looking forward to the final book in this trilogy, The Wedding Party. I loved The Wedding Date so much that I really want to see this series stick the dismount.