One Night Only
Grade : C

Jayci Lee brings punch and verve to her Han Sisters series, but One Night Only leans too heavily on certain stultifying tropes and hamster-in-a-wheel scenes which repeat themselves, seemingly to pad out the novel’s page length. Only the originality of her characters manage to punch through the fog of typicality surrounding the plot.

Megan Han has plans to become a well-respected chamber violinist, and has worked too hard to give up her plans now. Working as a trio with her sisters, cellist Angie (heroine of book one, A Song of Secrets) and viola player Chloe, they seem to be very close to reaching the pinnacle they’ve always wanted to achieve. But Megan wants to break out of the traditional straits of her musicianship, and she takes up playing rock violin with a band at a local dive bar. A disastrous night and a chivalrous gesture leads to an off-page one night stand.

A few months later, Megan is suspiciously nauseous but pushing away her fears. Then her father invites Daniel Pak, his new CFO, to dinner, and her world is rocked – there’s her one-night stand in the flesh again. A positive pregnancy test has Daniel proposing a paper marriage, but Megan is determined to stay single and raise the baby on her own, with Daniel participating if he wishes. That’s fine with Daniel, who continues to try to micromanage the situation while refusing to even consider giving in to love. Unfortunately, her father – and perhaps true love – seem ready to upend Megan’s plans.

You know the steps to this waltz. Daniel has been Hurt by an Evil Woman and Does not Believe in Love; Megan thinks she can Get By On Her Own. Her father keeps pushing them together so the baby won’t be born out of wedlock without knowing Daniel’s the biodad. This is another weak plot point that feels retrograde; they decide to lie to him to keep her father from “killing” Daniel, which feels very much like they’re two teenagers instead of a couple of adults trying to build a family.

Everyone is meddling but goodhearted, and the only good part of this is Megan’s wonderful relationship with her sisters. The problem with this book is that it repeats itself. Multiple times. And as charming as Lee’s prose is, I felt like we got stuck on a feedback loop of Daniel and Megan going to an OBGYN appointment and being moved, the two of them remembering they don’t really want to be a couple because Reasons, her father forcing them to go out on blind dates together, them being attracted but remembering they don’t want this, rinsing and repeating. Daniel is your average pushy alpha cold fish softened up by a baby on the way, and Megan is your average fun, kind modern girl looking to get a family and life together.

Lee is so much more talented than this, and the Harlequin Desire formula can be done well but here her characters seem to be trapped in a horrible game of Groundhog Day where the only evidence that time has moved at all is the growth of their baby. One Night Only is proof that Lee can entertain even when her plots are threadbare, but everyone deserves better.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local bookshop

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : C

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : December 31, 2022

Publication Date: 12/2022

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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