REVIEW: Plays Well With Others by Lauren Blakely


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Am I fake dating my best friend? Hear me out…

So I’m throwing myself a breakup party, a glittery fete where I envision I’ll lift a glass and celebrate being free and single again.

What I actually do: Drink too much champagne and blurt out to my best guy friend that I’d really like to get back on the horse.

But what I truly don’t expect is Carter’s answer – he volunteers as tribute.

With his sinful brown eyes and too-good-to-be-true body it’d be no hardship for me to say yes, though I certainly don’t want him to feel obligated to, um, service me, just because my failed, loveless marriage was a s-e-x desert.

But since the charming and confident pro football star owes five public dates to his dating app sponsor, we make a deal to help each other out.

Pretty soon, our public how to date lessons turn into, ahem, very private ones. And I’m a star student, graduating quickly from flirty banter and lingering looks to toe-curling, sheet-grabbing, mind-blowing hours of physical education.

The problem? Turns out learning to date again feels a lot like the real thing. Can our friendship withstand all these late-night bedroom sessions?

Especially since I’m suddenly longing for my best friend and there’s nothing fake about my feelings…

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Best-friends-to-lovers is my favorite trope, and it’s not surprising that I find these stories so relatable since I’m living my own best-friends-to-lovers love story. Lauren Blakely really does this trope justice by focusing on the friendship as she builds up the romantic relationship. Plays Well With Others is another friendship-set-on-fire gem in her catalog. This was a fantastic best-friends-to-lovers tale, and I was swooning and grinning the whole way through. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by two of my favorites – Erin Mallon and Teddy Hamilton. Both gave fabulous performances, full of natural chemistry, as they brought Carter and Rachel to life in my ears.

Blakely’s writing sparkles with its clever and engaging narrative, capturing the essence of Carter and Rachel’s playful friendship and the red-hot ramp-up to their romance in a way that feels authentic. These characters were vibrant and endearing, and their genuine camaraderie laid a solid foundation for the simmering romantic tension. The transition from friends to lovers is filled with sizzling sexual tension and delicious anticipation, and the emotional journey they undertake to get to the other side was heartwarming and satisfying.

Blakely balanced the steamy romance with light-hearted, laughter-filled humor well. A cast of charming and well-developed secondary characters added depth and dimension to this story. Lauren Blakely has crafted a romantic comedy full of heart, heat and humor that had me rooting for these characters to find their happily ever after from the first page. Five smooches from me for Plays Well With Others by Lauren Blakely!

~Danielle Palumbo



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