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Heart-Felt and Intimate: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

by Lauren Layne

Series: The Central Park Pact #2

Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: January 28th 2020 by Gallery Books
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via Mail

Rating: ★★★★
Goodreads | Amazon
Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?
Marriage on Madison Avenue is definitely the most intimate and heart-felt story in the series of Central Park Pact.

Audrey's outlook on marriage got tainted when she discovered the man she was dating had a wife. Now he's dead and Audrey is friends with the wife and the other other woman from her dead boyfriend. Love has worked so well for her two friends, but not for Audrey. Things take an interesting turn when her she finds out her best friend has announced they are engaged for the third time now. Audrey is willing to do it for Clarke, to get his mom off his back, and for herself, so social media can stop calling her a homewrecker.

I feel like this last installment was the most adventurous, yet intimate out of the three novels in this series. Clarke and Audrey have known each other since they were kids, but had never considered dating each other for real, only pretending. Neither lets themselves realize that they have feelings and that they are perfect for each other. This is where it got slightly frustrating me to me. I really was wanting more romance, more of them actually being together without the pretend aspect attached to it. Still, the slow-burn was so good! It almost killed me.

I still liked their dynamic and how they interacted with one another. I loved the wedding planning and seeing them tackling it all together. I absolutely loved seeing Alexis from The Wedding Belles series and Jarod from 21 Wall Street make cameos in this novel. I was beyond excited to see those names in the story and how well it all fitted.

One of the key components of this series was ever-present in this novel and that was the friendship between Naomi, Claire and Audrey. These girls have shown that they will be there for one another no matter what. I still love Naomi's personality so much. She always brings me joy when I read about her and unfiltered mouth when it comes to sex.

Overall, this was a beautiful conclusion to the Central Park Pact series. I loved the intimacy, the heart-warming feelings, the friendship. Another swoony success by the amazing queen of Contemporary Romance.

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