Author: Jasmine Guillory
Narrators: Janina Edwards
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 21 minutes
Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.
Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he’s trying to ignore and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she’s also down to earth and considerate, and he can’t help flirting a little…
Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she’s booked her next movie. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation?
But their lighthearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them.
When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?
While We Were Dating is the sixth novel in The Wedding Date companion series. The timeline is continuous from book one to book six and there are some crossover characters, but the novel can be read as a standalone without any prior knowledge of the other stories. For context, The Wedding Date (#1) follows Alexa and Drew. His best friend, Carlos, becomes the main character in book two while Alexa’s two best friends, Maddie and Theo, become the main characters in book three. Maddie’s mother, Vivian, is the main in book four and book five is Alexa’s sister, Olivia. Finally, we arrive at book six where Theo’s brother, Ben, is now the main character. These types of series are always a joy to read as the novels can all be read as standalones and there are endless possibilities for stories while remaining connected to each other.
While I have enjoyed all the novels in the series, this novel stands out as being a top contender for favorite. This novel was interesting as it takes the famous person and non-famous “everyday” person and puts them together. This troupe is always entertaining as there is a lot that each person needs to work through in order to be with the other. This story takes it a step further by the exploration of mental health and even has both characters in therapy. The conversations between the characters and each of their inner thoughts throughout the story were well done and I greatly enjoyed this element. While there are many obstacles in their way before they can officially become a couple, I did appreciate that the characters had great and open communication, for the most part, with each other. It was refreshing that the two characters had open dialogues and tried to work through them together. The characters still make mistakes and are flawed, so it is not smooth sailing. Their developing relationship has multiple obstacles to overcome, but I enjoyed that the basic miscommunication plotline was not the go-to conflict in the story.
Ben Stephens is an adverting expert for a major firm. When his colleagues are stuck at the airport, he must step up and become the main point of contact for a new pitch. The talent starring in this new ad is major movie star, Anna Gardiner, and the other intrigues them. While they are attracted to each other physically, I enjoyed that there are non-physical aspects that initially attract them to the other, as well. Anna agrees to the campaign if Ben is the lead and the two of them begin to get to know each other. Anna’s manager notices their chemistry and comes up with a fake dating plan to increase Anna’s publicity before the premiere of her new movie. This was a refreshing concept as the two characters were already getting to know each other before the fake dating concept is presented.
The story continues to have the author’s flair for enjoyable romances with a nice dash of humor. I enjoyed that Anna was plus-sized and it is briefly touched on throughout the story. I do wish that there was a little more exploration as it was nice to read about a main character, who is famous, and I wanted to learn more about how she deals with it in a Hollywood setting. Another element that I wanted more from is the sibling obstacle for Ben’s character. It does get some attention, but it did not feel like a fully developed subplot, for me. It is a similar feeling with almost all the novels in the series, where I love the main story, but I always feel that there is some pieces missing to make me fully connect. Even with those slight criticisms, I continue to love Jasmine Guillory’s novels. Not only does each feel unique, but also they all have a similar style and feel like they belong in their intended same universe. Overall, this was an entertaining read and I cannot wait to see what couple will be featured next!