Updated: May 23
The Plus One Pact
by Portia MacIntosh
Published by Boldwood Books
What if your plus one could be the one...?
Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.
But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone. So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course...?
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul Language Rom-Com Feel Good
The Plus-One Pact by Portia MacIntosh is a cute, rom-com novel about Cara, a young woman who befriends a man named Joe (aka Millsy) after being stood up. They quickly become friendly enough to decide to be each others plus-ones for all the events they have to attend in the summer.
I thought this book was rather sweet. It kind of falls in that "fake date turns to real love" category, but not really, as they truly go to these events as friends, and not pretending to be in a relationship, which I found refreshing. In fact, there wasn't even hints to romantic feelings between them until closer to the end of the book, which gave two strangers time to become best friends, and get to know one another. The story flowed really well from chapter to chapter, and was consistent. Even better - it wasn't predictable. My only complaint was the writing style. I typically like stories written in first person, which this one is, but a lot of the time it felt like I was reading the rambling thoughts in Cara's head.
I really liked the characters in The Plus-One Pact. Cara and Millsy's chemistry is great, and while I usually like more adult content in the books I read, the relationship between these two characters helped me get over the skipped over steamy scene. I liked that Cara was just an average woman, kinda dorky, and hey - her job is designing escape rooms. I love escape rooms. Millsy is just a total frigging sweetheart. Who doesn't like a male protagonist who does everything he can to make the woman he is into happy? Even if it means not getting what he wants, he just wants her happy. Add to that he is funny, and kind, you can't help but fall for him.
In the end, I recommend this book to anyone who loves romantic comedies, and those who likes innocent romance stories. It's a sweet love story that I am sure you will love.
Top 3 Favorite Parts
Millsy rescuing Cara from her very late blind date
Millsy accidentally hitting on Cara's boss, the bride at the wedding
Cara accidentally releasing the gender reveal balloon, and Millsy and Cara's replacement for it
(bonus) Millsy bring Cara to the family cabin for his grandmothers birthday
(bonus) Millsy and Cara making the married guy that hit on Cara sweat
(bonus) Millsy meeting Cara's family
(bonus) Millsy's reaction to Cara admitting she went on a date with his step-brother
(bonus) Millsy and Cara hooking up in the party bus
(bonus) Millsy and Cara admitting they want to be together
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Dating App Messenger:
Chad: What's a nice girl like you doing on an app like Matcher?
Cara: A nice girl like me was just about to give up on Matcher for good. What's a nice boy like you doing here?
Chad: Saving you.
Millsy: "Mills. Joe Mills, but my friends call me Millsy."
Cara: "Am I your friend?"
Millsy: "If you don't stand me up, sure."
Millsy: "You must be pretty smart."
Cara: "Naaah. Just a bit dorky."
Millsy: "Well, everyone loves a dork."
Cara: "Are you going to be my girly best friend?"
Millsy: "Don't knock it until you've tried it."
Millsy: "Yes, that's what I'm talking about. I take risks all the time - they always pay off."
Zander: "Until one day, when you get a specific kind of infection the antibiotics can't quite shift."
Millsy: "You're just jealous."
Johnny: "Oh, hey, Mills. You two know each other?"
Cara; "We're friends."
Millsy: "Met at the STD clinic."
Millsy: "I'm not bringing you down here to kill you, honest."
I glance down into the darkness
Cara: "Are you sure? Because right now I look exactly like the kind of body they pull out of a river at the start of Law & Order."
Millsy: "You've got your shit way too together to pull off claiming your dating me."
Cara: "And you're way too cool for anyone to think you're dating a puzzle nerd. But you're an actor, right? And, like I said, we're not pretending we're in love. We're just plus ones."
Millsy: "Just don't go falling in love with me for real."
Cara: "Wouldn't dream of it."
Cara: "I don't have a boyfriend, I just have a plus one."
Mum: "Joe the actor."
I raise an eyebrow
Cara: "He's a real person. I'm not so desperate for a man that I'm imagining one."
Mum: "I didn't think that, don't be silly. I thought maybe you were paying an actor."
Cara: "You're an actor, right? Can you do a different accent?"
Millsy, presumably not taking this all too seriously, launches into the 'is this a dagger?' monologue from Macbeth. I cut him off
Cara: "Marvelous, but can you do something a bit more subtle?"
Millsy: "Received pronunciation. I can speak without an accent."
Cara: "Fab. Wait there."
Millsy: "I am sorry though, I just think ... after you were so firm about me chatting other people up, it seemed like a good idea. Obviously I never would have done it if I'd realized she was the bride."
Cara: "One would hope. So we go see her, you say hello, you channel every acting ability you have to just try and seem like anyone but yourself and then we run away, sound good?"
Millsy: "I'm uncomfortable with how good at this you are. But yes, sounds good."
Nick: "What do you do?"
Cara: "I design escape rooms."
All three of them seem taken aback by this.
Ruby: "What were you doing at an escape game?"
Millsy: "Erm, escaping. And it was so much fun. I was talking to the staff after and t hey introduced me to the designer ... and it was Cara."
Nick: "Isn't that a bit like Stockholm syndrome? Bonding with the person who held you captive?"
Millsy: "OK, well, how about you go upstairs and have a bath, get ready, and while you're doing that, I'll make us some ... pancakes?"
I bite my lip
Cara: "God, you say all the right things."
He just laughs
Cara: "What kind of padlock is it?"
Millsy: "Cara, seriously? Is now really the time to nerd-out over padlocks?"
Millsy rolls his eyes
Cara: "I'm not nerding-out."
Millsy: "Cara, Cara, Cara, you big nerd, thank you."
Millsy: "How about we play? Now you've finished me-too-ing Cara."
Rod: "Morning, campers. Assaulted anyone today?"
Millsy: "Not yet, but the day is young."
Millsy: "Cara Brooks, are you looks at my bum?"
I'm even more embarrassed now, if that's possible. Millsy, who clearly thinks this is hilarious, is grinning like an idiot."
Luke: "Which one were you?"
Becky: "She looked nothing like she looks now. She had that purple backpack with the stars on it that everyone used to make fun of."
Luke: "Oh, Space Nerd. Hello, how are you?"
Cara: "Oh, I'm fantastic."
Millsy: "I have to say, you really did go to school with some wonderful people. Honestly, just the absolute best."
Cara: "Hmm. It's interesting, isn't it? It's like school never actually ended. You've still go the cliques, the weirdos, the bullies, the couples, everyone being obsessed with who is sleeping with whom."
Millsy: "And these are supposedly adults."
Cara: "Adults are just kids who have kids. That's it."
Mum: "Cara says you're the best man at your best friend'd wedding next week."
Millsy: "I am. My friend Ruby. We've been friends since we were babies."
Dad: "Ruby? That's not a fella's name."
Millsy: "No, she's a she. I was going to be a bridesmaid but the dress didn't fit."
Millsy: "Here's what you do. You carry one of those hanging plants, wrapped around one of those hoops brides have flowers on - Ruby is having one. Except, you know how you're always complaining that women's clothes don't have enough pockets? You have a wedding dress made with pockets, and one pocket is for the soil, and the roots for the plant."
Cara: "Yes! And that way you can keep the plant - you can keep it for as long as you can keep it alive."
Millsy: "For as long as you keep the relationship alive."
I realize my mum is just staring at us.
Mum: "So you two are having this at your wedding, are you?"
Cara: "Our separate weddings."
Mum: "Obviously. Because you're just friends."
I pull a face at her.
I nudge Millsy
Cara: "I'm a feminist icon."
Millsy: "Oh, for sure. I'm just wondering who will play you in the movie."
Cara: "I refuse to have anyone but you play me."
Millsy: "Nicest chicken I've ever had. What is that sauce?"
Mum: "Really? Thank you. It's gooseberry sauce."
Millsy: "It's incredible. Can you make this?"
Cara: "I can't. I want to learn."
Millsy: "If you do then you can make it for us. Otherwise I'm going to have to keep coming here, begging your mum to make it for me."
Mum: "Oh, any time. You come here for dinner whenever you like."
Dad: "You don't even have to bring Cara."
Cara: "As funny as it sounds, I would never let a boy come between us. Especially not a disgusting liar like Jay."
Millsy: "I'm just so glad I didn't lose you to him. You're too important to me."
Cara: "Come on, Millsy, we'll be friends forever. After everything we've been through this summer. We've nearly ruined every event we've been to. I don't doubt for a second that we'll ruin the weddings."
Millsy: "Well, there is no one I'd rather ruin weddings with than you."
Cara: "You too."
Cara: "You don't know me at all. If you knew me you'd know how uncomfortable you're making me."
Lloyd: "I know that The Shining is your favorite book. I know that you love any cocktail with run in it. I know that gerbera daisies make you smile - remember how I always used to bring you bunches? You loved them."
Millsy: "Mate, you don't know her at all."
Lloyd: "And you do, huh?"
Millsy: "I do. The Shining isn't her favorite book, it's her favorite movie and the way it taps into her own fears. I know that she hates rum. She got too drunk on it one time in, frankly, the most boring story about a person getting drunk I have ever heard in my life. And she doesn't like flowers, she hates flowers. It makes her sad when they die. And when she gets married she's going to have a plant in her pocket, and I don't know if I'll be lucky enough to be there, but it would be a huge mistake if you're there because you clearly don't know her at all."
Millsy: "If you just want to be friends that's fine by me. So long as you're in my life."
Cara: "You want to be just friends."
Millsy: "No, you do."
Cara: "Wait, what? Let's just rewind a second. You're Joe 'Millsy' Mills. Ladies' man. Doesn't settle down. Sleeps with anything with a pulse, as the story goes."
Millsy: "Do you really believe all that?"
Cara: "Are you telling me that's not true?"
Millsy: "Years ago, when I was young and stupid, the last thing I wanted was a girlfriend, but then, when Ruby got with Nick, I realized I was just a man in his thirties going out to bars, refusing to grow up. Is there anything sadder?"
Cara: "You essentially picked me up in a bar."
Millsy: "I saw you sitting there alone and I felt sorry for you. Then, after we chatted for a bit, I realized that, not only did I like chatting to you, but you seemed like a bit of a loner too. OK, sure, I noticed you because you were beautiful, but can you honestly tell me you've seen this playboy Millsy you keep banging on about?"
Cara: "You thought I was beautiful and yet you immediately got me to change my hair color."
Millsy: "That's not true. You wanted to change. I wanted to make you happy."
Cara: "Don't think I didn't notice that the color you picked out for me was the same color hair your ex had."
Millsy: "She was blonde the last time I saw her - I told you at the time I almost didn't recognize her. You're really going to have to try a lot harder than this if you want to avoid falling in love so desperately."
Cara: "OK, last shot. When we were at my bosses' wedding, and I told you that you could flirt with whoever you wanted, and you immediately went off and hot on the bride..."
Millsy: "You were so adamant that you wanted me to chat-up other women. So, I was walking to the toilets, and there was a girl walking past me, so I asked her if I could buy her a drink. My plan was to bring her back to you and hope that you realized that you didn't like me talking to other women. In hindsight, it was a crap idea, and I should have chosen someone other than the bride ..."
Cara: "So when we slept together ..."
Millsy: "I thought that was it. I thought that was us finally getting together. You thought it was just us hooking up?"
Cara: "I did."
Millsy: "Cara, for months now, it's been all about you. I haven't looked at other girls. I've stopped going out. I just want to spend my days with you, and my nights with you. I want you to go everywhere with me. I want you to stop me killing dogs. I want you ruining all my family parties - it will be nice to have someone to hate Jay with. Just think how much fun it will be when there's two of us. We could have framed him for the gender-reveal balloon thing!"
Cara: "Do you really think the two of us can be together?"
Millsy: "We are together. It just takes a while to realize sometimes."
Cara: "Does your face hurt too much to kiss me?"
Millsy: "My face will never hurt too much to kiss you."