cover image If I Never Met You

If I Never Met You

Mhairi McFarlane. Morrow, $15.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-295850-1

McFarlane (Don’t You Forget About Me) brings a welcome dose of reality to the fake office romance trope with flawed, honest, but still endearing protagonists. After Laurie’s boyfriend of 18 years, Dan, abruptly leaves her and then confesses that he and his new girlfriend are expecting a child, Laurie dreads having to see him every day at the law firm where they both work. When Laurie gets stuck in an elevator with Jamie Carter, a notorious playboy who also works at the firm, they realize they can help each other: Jamie wants a promotion and needs to impress the partners by appearing to have grown out of his womanizing ways; Laurie wants to quell the office gossip. They agree to fake a relationship to achieve both goals, but as the inevitable real feelings bubble up between them, Laurie wonders if her heart is too broken to take a chance on new love. McFarlane’s arch humor and earnest characters make this familiar plot feel fresh, fun, and genuinely moving. This is a delightful rom-com full of sass, sparkle, and heart. Agent: Doug Kean, Gunn Media. (Mar.)