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Marriage on Madison Avenue
by Lauren Layne
Series: Central Park Pact
Category: Contemporary Romance
Tags: Friends to Lovers, Fake Relationship
Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Apple Books
Marriage on Madison Avenue was a sweet, friends-to-lovers story completing the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne. Although this features Audrey’s happily-ever-after, the third woman in the pact, this book can also be read as a standalone.
It Starts With a Pact
If you’re new to the Central Park Pact – here’s a quick update to fill you in. Imagine being with a guy and then upon his death come to find out that not only was he married, but he also had a steady girlfriend and a mistress on the side. YIKES!
What’s even crazier is that these three woman all end up ditching said wanker’s funeral and meeting each other on a Central Park bench whereby they end up forming a friendship (just go with it) and a pact to always look out for one another from that day forward and make sure that they don’t fall for the likes of another man like the one who duped them all.
The pact has worked out well for Naomi and Claire in the previous two books, and now it’s Audrey’s turn to need the help of the pact to find her happily-ever-after.
The problem however is that poor Audrey, who was the girlfriend of the wanker, has sworn off finding her Prince Charming as she doesn’t believe she deserves him given her past nor does she want to risk her heart again. And who can blame this woman? I’m not sure I’d trust my taste in men either.
But even if Audrey doesn’t see marriage in her future any more, she’s thrust into the idea when her “engagement” is announced in some high society rumor rag.
Ironically, her fake engagement is to her best friend since childhood, Clarke West, and it’s not their first fake engagement. Deciding to go with the fake engagement for her own reasons, this sets things in motion where both Audrey and Clarke begin to see their best friend in a whole new light.
I’m always a fan of friends-to-lovers romance books because I love that there is already an established history between the two main characters.
Even from the previous two books in the series you could see what a close bond and easy friendship Audrey and Clarke had which I think can actually be pretty rare.
A Fake Engagement That’s Maybe Not So Fake
They lucked out in this story because although it was Clarke to “out” their fake relationship, they had others along the way who helped them to keep up the rouse which eventually got them to open their eyes and actually see their best friend beyond friendship.
Nothing like a meddling mother who plans an engagement party and sets up a wedding planner, or an already planned ski trip, or a gossiping internet site to force proximity and intimacy.
So even though I found some of that a bit far fetched as for reasons why to continue the rouse, I went with it because fake relationships are kind of my catnip in romances too. Plus, the moment when he tries to perfect her morning cup of coffee- priceless!
What Was Missing
I was disappointed, however, in that when things finally turned the corner in their relationship from friends to lovers, we were just told that they did the deed. It’s like, “OK we did the deed last night and now we’ve done the deed like 9 times in 3 days,” but moving on…. Umm….so I don’t need bedroom scenes explicitly spelled out for me in every romance book that I read but I felt like we needed more in this one.
If I’m to believe that Audrey and Clarke have been thick as thieves, best friends for years and ONLY friends then I need to really understand their chemistry to be sold on their change of feelings. I mean, they’ve been so blind to each other for so long that even her new friends could see their connection and love for one another before they could.
It wasn’t enough for me to just be told that they started sleeping together and now there are feelings when introducing the bedroom into a friendship has the potential to really change things for the good and bad.
I just felt like I needed to understand more of their physical connection or at least have them talk about it more to each other to really believe and trust in their newly developed feelings.
But I gather that this and Lauren Layne’s recent books are now gearing toward a more moderate, main stream audience so bedroom scenes are maybe a no-no. Whether or not that’s true, it seems like a trend lately in her books. I also think we could have gotten more in the epilogue since this was the final book to the series.
That aside, I would definitely recommend this read as it was a great completion to a fun series.
Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for this advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.
Do you have a favorite in the Central Park Pact series or a favorite Lauren Layne book? Share in the comments below.
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