Flirting with Forever by Cara Bastone

Wednesday, January 27, 2021



by Cara Bastone
Series: Forever Yours #3
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Publication Date: January 26th 2021
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷✷

How does Cara Bastone do it? Every new release of hers is somehow better than the previous one. I'm in complete awe of her writing abilities and for selfish reasons, I hope she never stops writing romance. Flirting with Forever is a heartwarming and tropey book about wrong first impressions, finding love in your 30s, and the various forms of family. 

The book opens up with Mary, our protagonist, showing up on a blind date with the son of one of her regular customers. Only this date takes a sour note when frowny John basically calls Mary "old" to her face. Mary, the smart woman that she is, obviously leaves never wanting to see him again because who wants to be insulted on a first date? Fate (or John's mother) has it out for them though because they keep running into each other. And well, these two somehow find a way to become friends and get close to each other. The journey, as with all of Cara Bastone's stories, is slow, romantic, and incredibly satisfying. 

There's just something about her stories, especially the romance parts, that evoke strong feelings for me. I think it's perhaps the fact that we see the relationship evolve during moments that one could consider small and inconsequential. It's a work of art how Cara Bastone does that. As you can probably guess, I loved Mary and John (yes, even this rude grump). Mary is sunshine and rainbows and everything good in the world. She exudes optimism and happiness and is genuinely one of the kindest characters I have come across. She lives her life "in the moment" despite the grief she had gone through of having lost her beloved aunt and her best friend. Mary also lives with the constant pressure her mother burdened on her. I found their relationship to be interesting to read because there is clearly love on her mother's part but her guilting of Mary for being a single woman in her late 30s is so bad and borders on emotional manipulation. Despite all of that, she remains this buoyant character who brings lightness wherever she goes.

The execution of the sunshine plus grumpy trope is done beautifully in Flirting with Forever with the forever quiet and sullen, John. Obviously, our first impression of this man is not a good one, but Cara Bastone makes his character work so well - I swear she is a magical genius! He is a very tense man and much of that is attributed to his career as a public defender and his convoluted relationship with his father. He repents his "old" comment throughout the entire book and the author really did make me feel like his guilt was authentic. Despite the cruel words he uttered to Mary in his moment of nervousness at her blinding beauty, I was never not convinced that he was the perfect guy that she deserved. 

Watching them slowly develop crushes on each other, and then thinking that their feelings were unrequited hurt a little, but it was the good kind of pain. There were so many little heartachingly swoon-worthy scenes that stole my breath away. I've read a lot of romance books but Flirting with Forever is probably one of the most romantic books I have ever read. I could also write an ode to the sex scenes in Cara Bastone's books. They are sensual, steamy, and so intimate - it's easy to feel like you are a peeping tom because you can just sense the love characters have for each other in those scenes. The last thing I want to mention about Flirting with Forever and the Forever Yours series is the way these books explore the idea of different forms of family. For both Mary and John, their friends are probably closer to family and I loved how these people were incorporated into the story and their lives.

If you love the sunshine and grumpy pairing, slow-burn romances, and books that hurt in the best way possible, do yourself a favor and pick up Flirting with Forever. We're only in January, but it's a solid favorite of 2021 for me.

Relationship disclosure: Cara Bastone and I are mutuals on social media.

CWs: emotionally abusive parents, mention of the death of an aunt and a best friend, robbery

Let's chat!

Have you read any books that start off with the couple having a bad date?
Let me know in the comments below!

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