Series: Marriage, #3
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
CW/TW: Character with PTSD, divorce and parental abandonment
After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.
Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they’re stuck together for the entire wedding season.
So they make a deal. She’ll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.
I gotta start by saying that this book delivered way more than I ever thought I would get. While the third in the Marriage series, this is my second book by Sara and I am hooked. I can’t wait to read The Dating Plan next and immerse myself in all this wild fun and craziness. One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that while focusing on Indian characters and the culture, it wasn’t overwhelming and most importantly, it wasn’t cliche. I’m all about Indian characters finding love, but I like it when authors change it up and deliver more than just the usual stuff and Sara’s really good at making that happen.
The Singles Table follows Zara Patel and Jay Dayal as they navigate being single during the wedding season when they’re surrounded by matchmaking aunties and parents who only want the best for them, but also when they’re both carrying so much baggage, a relationship sounds like way too much work. I loved these characters so hard. Zara is loud, bright and colourful while Jay is straight lines and sharp suits. They have nothing in common and are too far apart to ever work, and somehow that’s what makes them stick together. Zara also lives her life with abandon even though she pours all of herself into her job as a personal injury lawyer. She doesn’t let anybody bring her down and works her butt off to be the best she can be. Jay lives with routine and having served in the air force and lost his brothers in arms, he’s kept his life straight and uncomplicated because it calms him. And the last thing he needs is Zara coming in and changing that up.
Their first interaction goes not so well, but it will make you laugh. Honestly, every single one of their interactions will crack a smile because Zara is so vivacious and full of life and Jay is doing the best he can to keep up with her. After they constantly run into each other and every meeting includes a moment of disaster, they make a deal––Zara will help Jay find the perfect match while he will introduce her to his celebrity clients. As a Hollywood and celebrity addict, the only thing that Zara wants in life is to meet famous people and then in turn make them her clients. And as the CEO of a security company, Jay works with celebrities and other rich folk to keep them safe and protected in every situation.
“He could feel when he was with Zara. She had crashed into his life like a hurricane, and after years of feeling numb inside, he wanted to ride out the storm.”
Their relationship is a combination of laughter, frustration and swoon. Simply because Jay is so great. He’s the grump that wants to protect Zara even though he’s convinced himself that nothing can happen between them and all he feels for her is frustration. I mean…whatever that trope is called, I’m a sucker for it and that’s exactly what fits Jay. He goes out of his way to make Zara happy even when they’re playing the whole ‘we’ve made a deal’ game. He’s patient and generous with his time, and even though Zara is everything he usually avoids, he can’t help but be enamoured by her in every way. Seriously, the way Jay looks at Zara, I want someone to look at me like that too.
This book was also HOT. I don’t think The Marriage Game was this steamy. But I have no complaints. I loved the build and the sexual tension and when things took that turn, I was ready and waiting. And Desai did not disappoint. I should have known that grump, former military, buff bodied Jay Dayal would be an animal in bed and he was. He rocked my world while rocking Zara’s world. I mean… *fans self*. There are a few steamy scenes, but for me, it was also about the tension and the chemistry that really set this book on fire.
There’s no real intense conflict, but there’s some angst, there’s a whole lot of denial and there’s lots of swoony and cute moments too. I have to give Zara’s father extra points for being so wildly inappropriate and awesome at the same time. But, all my love goes to Parvati for being the bestest best friend and being so supportive, protective and good to Zara. I really hope she gets a book, because what I saw of her in this made me love her so much.
The SIngles Table was the perfect romantic comedy with two wonderfully unique leads and a host of supporting characters that will stick with you for a long time!
Thanks to Sara Desai, Berkley Romance, NetGalley and Social Butterfly PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.