Tracey Livesay’s Like Lovers Do is a fantastic friends to lovers romance. I tried so hard to put this book down the night I read it, but I could not. I received this as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dr. Nicole Allen is finishing up her orthopedic surgery residency as Chief Resident at Johns Hopkins and getting ready to start a Fellowship at Duke. Once Nic is through her Fellowship, she will be one of a few Black women in at that level of medical practice. Once she is at that elite level, she will be able to take care of her mother. She is smart and driven to succeed. Her landlord and friend, Ben, is the wayward scion of a family that made it’s wealth in health care. He refused to follow tradition and became a finance guy instead of a physician.
The two have been good, platonic friends for three years. They never pursued anything more because Nic didn’t want to lose focus on her career and Ben wanted a wife who will put family first with him. When an angry wealthy parent and a determined ex-girlfriend start to make trouble for Nic and Ben, they join forces for a week of fake dating in Martha’s Vineyard.
One of the things I liked best about Nic and Ben was that they are fully adults and solid friends at the start of the book. It doesn’t take much of a push to turn their fake relationship into a real fling. Evil ex-girlfriend aside, the barrier between them is their conflicting visions for their futures. But when it comes down to it, they are willing to risk what they want most for the other’s benefit.
I generally don’t like evil other women story lines. Usually they are full of internalized misogyny and used to highlight why one kind of woman is better than the other. Livesay uses the evil ex with intention. She is never a threat to the relationship, friendship or romance, between Nic and Ben. She does bring out things they both have to get past in order to grow as individuals and in order to become a couple. Livesay populates the book with enough other women that the evil ex is one of many kinds of womanhood and not a foil to the female protagonist.
Like Lovers Do is the second book in the Girl Trip series, but it stands on its own.