My feelings in regard to Happy Endings are a bit complicated. I really liked the feisty heroine and the more responsible hero. But some readers are going to find his choices a bit irritating. Reader discretion should be applied, but I still had fun with the book’s humorous, spunky spirit.
Trixie Nguyen is a sales rep for a sex toy company, and she runs her pop-up shops with a sense of humor and a group of ribald friends. She’s going to make a success of it come hell or high water, if only to prove to her folks that she doesn’t need to stay on a straight and narrow path and do what a traditionally-minded Vietnamese woman should do – become a doctor or a pharmacist. So she and three other women form the Boss Babes, and they sell their toys throughout the Washington area.
At her first pop-up event, they get some delicious catering from a local soul food restaurant. Who should be tending bar for them but her old boyfriend Andre Walker III – formerly known as Tre – and she is ever pissed off to see him.
Trixie and Andre had an incredible relationship for two years before he disappeared on her, actually braking up with her via a post-it note Sex-and-the-City-style, leaving her alone in New Orleans with her dreams. Andre, naturally, had a reason for not telling Trixie about his past back in the Big Easy; his mother’s serious cancer diagnosis called him home. He wanted to make a life of his own outside the shadow of his restaurateur mama, and he’d been deliberately oblique with Trixie about his past – she didn’t even know about his sister or his mother’s Mama Hazel’s restaurant.
Now that they’re both in Washington, DC, Andre can’t run from his past – in fact it’s all around him, as he’s running Mama Hazel’s with his sister, Keisha, his mom having passed recently. Worse yet, Mama Hazel’s is going under and teeters under the possibility of being mowed over by gentrifying land developers. Since his mother was diagnosed with cancer, Andre’s felt responsible for the family. He decides to make a desperate deal with Trixie; he’ll let her hold her presentations at the restaurant in the hope of attracting a new clientele. If they become friends with benefits along the way, so be it.
Andre and Trixie have powerful chemistry, but is their love true enough to survive their mistrustful pasts? And what will they do when Trixie gets a better job offer?
A lot of readers are going to have issues with Andre’s choice to dump Trixie without so much as a short conversation. Many more will notice that Trixie’s business reads kind of like a MLM. But Trixie and Andre have such lovely, fun chemistry and their interaction is spicy enough for the book to eke out a recommendation from me.
I really did like both of them; Andre for being a mature, reasonable figure in the face of what he’s been through and Trixie’s refusal to be steamrolled by his excuses. I loved her determination to get a career of her own going, and I liked the way she was determined to land it.
As I’ve said, Andre’s excuses will not wash with a lot of readers, but he and Trixie work through their issues – Andre’s secretiveness, Trixie’s feeling of inferiority – in a mature way. They have a lot of spicy, steamy sex before they get there, and the journey is worthwhile.
The book’s other big flaw is that none of Trixie’s friends really pop out as unique characters at all. But I liked the DC setting and the delicious descriptions of soul food leapt up off the page.
Happy Endings will leave readers happy, but its flaws make it a just-okay read.