Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.
The heroine’s stubborn insistence on being a dishtowel in all situations except one that might make her happy is verrrry frustrating. Her willingness to subsume herself for her daughter grated — at the beginning she says she’s going to give up on finding a partner till her daughter is eighteen, eleven years in the future 😳 Like why hasn’t anyone talked to her about not making her daughter solely responsible for making her happy, there’s a recipe for some future trauma — she was so scarred by her mother not caring for her that she’s overcompensated to the point she has almost no life besides her kid.
Some of the scenes with the kid dragged, detracting from the romance. I imagine for single moms reading it might better match their experience of fitting a partner into an existing relationship between parent and kid 🤷♀️
It’s interesting to see Christina Lauren’s shift as a writer from hot impulsive people in their twenties to middle-aged single mom and business focused dude — a shift I would guess matches their own life path, even if it doesn’t resonate with me.
See also: first read in 2021