Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.
But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.
Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.
It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.
The pact is about to change everything.
“Nine years. I’ve been waiting nine years for this. Nine years to finally have you the way I’ve always needed you.”
I’m actually a little sad to say this but I expected more from this book. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, because as a whole, I did. But I can’t say that The Pact by Karina Halle blew me away like the other she wrote did.
“If neither of us are in a serious relationship by the time we are both thirty,” he says, looking at me so dead in the eye that I can’t help but hold my breath, “then we agree to marry each other. Agree?”
I find my voice. “Agree.”
Now I know this book was different from the stuff she usually writes so I didn’t go into it thinking I would get exactly what I was used to read by her. And the subject matter is actually one of my favorite plot settings. But even though there were definitely stuff that did it for me in this book, at the end of it, I wasn’t blown away, even though I enjoyed it.
“The two of you in a marriage? World’s pickiest woman with the world’s biggest manwhore? Yeah, have fun with that.”
I was on board with a lot of things starting this book. I was on board with the whole pact thing. I was on board with the friends falling for each other too. And I was definitely on board for the sex between said two friends falling for each other. What I wasn’t on board for was the drama my dear Linden created that could have been avoided and that kind of spoiled things for me.
“Don’t act like you haven’t been thinking about that kiss every single day since it happened. Don’t pretend you haven’t thought once about what it would be like to do it again. To do more.”
I liked Steph and Linden as characters. Sure they irritated me too because they were so stubborn in their friendship, but I liked them. I loved their connection and how even though they were hot for each other, most of all, they were friends. That’s truly something I like reading about. Two people having an actual connection and friendship as the foundation for their feelings. And that’s what Linden and Steph have in this book.
“That was real. That was something. Tell me you felt something, that you felt what I felt.”
“What did you feel?” I whisper.
He runs a thumb across my lips. “I felt you. The you I’ve always wanted.”
Sure they don’t realize it right away, and once they do they keep denying it with all their might (that’s kind of the downside of friendship growing into something more) which actually annoyed me at some point in the book because their denial of their feelings for each other (or should I say, someone’s denial of their feelings) almost ruined everything here, but (thank God) they eventually see the light!
“He grins at me. I wish he wouldn’t. Sometimes his smile rips the air from my lungs. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s messy, violent and abrupt and I wish it wouldn’t happen because, fuck it, I like breathing.”
It was hard sometimes being in Steph’s shoes. Seeing her lust and then love Linden from afar, with everything it entails. I felt sorry for her, especially when their respective partners got between the two of them, or when they tried to move on from their feelings for each other but just couldn’t. Thankfully, it wasn’t too angsty for me, just enough to make me tell them through my Kindle to just stop making themselves miserable and just be together finally!
“I want her to realize we’re both not with the people we should be. And if she already knows that, I want her to know it’s not too late.”
It was actually the back and forth between Linden and Steph that annoyed me. The fact that they had the worst timing ever in their relationships was irritating in and of itself because they spend half the book being with other people when all they want is to be together. But what really displeased me about this book was the useless drama and heartache Linden forced on himself and Steph out of some stupid and misplaced loyalty to his jealous and immature friend. Here were my thoughts on the matter at the time:
“You fucking idiot Linden! You just told each other you’re in love and just because James McFuckface wakes up 9 years too late you’re bowing out!!!!!! You’re as much of a fuck face as he is then!!!! Bros before hos doesn’t fucking work when love is involved!!!!!”
It’s that part of the book I have in mind when I talk about the difference between this book and Karina’s other work. I’m not used to finding unnecessary drama in her books, so I had a hard time with the bullshit Linden created here.
“This is huge, isn’t it?”
He cocks his head and grins, nodding his head. “Well, the ladies seem to think so.”
I roll my eyes… “I’m serious,” I tell him. “One minute we’re just friends and the next…”
“The next I’m kissing you. And I realize I’ve been a fool for not doing it sooner.”
His constant fear of hurting James and of losing Steph got old, especially when one minute he said stuff like “I love her and I want to be with her and nothing can stop me from being with her”, and the next he was “sacrificing” himself for his so called buddy. The almost love triangle didn’t help things either here but anyway.
Something that didn’t change though from other books by Karina was the quality of her writing. As always, this woman shows her talent with words. And let’s just say that the sexy bits in this book were really well written too.
“Then again, my head is usually always inappropriate. It’s like a Pinterest page of hot, barely dressed men 24/7 up in there.”
I just wish the plot would have followed. But truly, apart from the fact that those two had the worst timing ever and that Linden screwed up (very badly), the book was good and after the agonizing moments where the characters lost their way, the ending was really sweet and made it all better. The secondary character (even James once he apologized for the bullshit) were cool and entertaining, and sometimes so nice to hate (I’m thinking Linden’s evil girlfriend here).
Now, even though this book wasn’t my favorite by Karina Halle, I’m actually looking forward to getting to know Linden’s brother and his story with Steph’s friend in The Offer. I don’t know why but it already sounds inappropriate enough for me 😉