The Pact was my last book for 2014. It was marketed or tagged as a standalone, friends-to-lovers romance. Here’s the thing: I love the friends-to-lovers trope. It’s my catnip. No lie. Just look at my Goodreads read shelf and you’ll know how much I love them. Three of my favorite books last year involved characters who were friends first before becoming lovers. I usually devour them and they always — well, almost always work for me. It’s fairly hard for me to dislike a book with this trope because no matter how silly or improbable the situations are, I’d always end up liking them. In other words, I don’t think I could ever dislike a book with this trope. It’s almost impossible.
I was wrong. The Pact just proved it.
So what’s this book about?
It all started with a pinky swear…
Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.
Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.
But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.
Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them were in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.
It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.
The pact is about to change everything.
It was a great set-up, yes? Based off of that blurb alone, I was ready to fall in love with this book. Now, here’s my problem. First off, I didn’t feel any connection between Linden and Steph. Nada. I didn’t feel the connection between them as friends, I certainly didn’t feel a connection between them as lovers.
For this trope to work for me, I have to be convinced of their friendship. That is imperative for me. I have to feel their connection as friends or else the friends-to-lovers tag is kind of a moot point, isn’t it? Linden and Steph as friends was just not there. No matter how much the book was telling me that they have a very close friendship, I just didn’t see it, which made their transition to lovers even more awkward.
Second, speaking of awkward, the whole ‘I like you and want you but I cannot be with you’ shtick they had going throughout the book was a joke. I mean, seriously? They were definitely hot for each other. That much was evident right on the first page but they’re not together because what exactly? Because of James? It’s fuckin’ juvenile. I could understand their wariness of going into a relationship and ruining their friendship if the relationship doesn’t work. But that’s not their reason at all. Their reason was this person who, for all intents and purposes, was a douche to them throughout the whole book. It doesn’t make sense that they based their decision of being together off of him. It doesn’t. I don’t buy it.
Third, which happens to be the reason why I couldn’t get into this book, was they spent more than 40% of the book banging other people. More than 40%!! This isn’t a friends-to-lovers book, more like friends-with-other-lovers. Again, it would have been an easier pill to swallow had I felt the friendship connection between Linden and Steph. I didn’t. Suffice it say, my enthusiasm was pretty much shot after that. Honestly, I had to force myself to finish this.
And just when they had gotten their act together halfway through the book, for some inexplicable reason, they decided to keep it a secret. It was maddening because, again, the reason for the secrecy was another person. It was so juvenile. I had to remind myself that these were 30-year old characters because their reason for keeping their relationship a secret was so eye-roll worthy. I mean, really?
And then there is the pact, which wasn’t the exact pact after all. Remember how Linded extracted a promise from Steph that they marry if they reach the age of 30 and they are not with other people? Turns out, they were just going to sleep with each other and try it out and see where it leads them. Not exactly what the blurb said. It would have probably been more interesting if they truly got married at the start of the book and go from there.
As of the time of posting, the Pact is still at $0.99 over at Amazon. And with that, I’m out.
Rating: 1.5 stars!