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Happily Never After by Lynn Painter

Happily Never After

by Lynn Painter

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Quick take

Have doubts about your hubby-to-be? Enlist these pro wedding crashers. But be warned: They might be hot for each other.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Millenial


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SalaciousPeach


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Wedding



Their name? The objectors.

Their job? To break off weddings as hired.

Their dilemma? They might just be in love with each other.

When Sophie Steinbeck finds out just before her nuptials that her fiancé has cheated yet again, she desperately wants to call it off. But because her future father-in-law is her dad’s cutthroat boss, she doesn’t want to be the one to do it. Her savior comes in the form of a professional objector, whose purpose is to show up at weddings and proclaim the words no couple (usually) wants to hear at their ceremony: “I object!”

During anti-wedding festivities that night, Sophie learns more about Max the Objector’s job. It makes perfect sense to her: he saves people from wasting their lives, from hurting each other. He’s a modern-day hero. And Sophie wants in.

The two love cynics start working together, going from wedding to wedding, and Sophie’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. She looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony saving the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As Sophie and Max spend more time together, however, they realize that their physical chemistry is off the charts, leading them to dabble in a little hookup session or two—but it’s totally fine, because they definitely do not have feelings for each other. Love doesn’t exist, after all.

And then everything changes. A groom-to-be hires Sophie to object, but his fiancée is the woman who broke Max’s heart. As Max wrestles with whether he can be a party to his ex’s getting hurt, Sophie grapples with the sudden realization that she may have fallen hard for her partner in crime.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Happily Never After.
Happily Never After



The moment my dad raised my veil, kissed my cheek, and handed me off to Stuart, I wanted to throw up.

No—first, I wanted to punch my groom right in his besotted smile.

Then I wanted to vomit.

Instead, I took his arm and grinned back at him like a good bride.

The pastor started speaking, launching into his cookie-cutter TED talk about true love, and my heart was racing as I waited. I swear I could feel four hundred sets of eyes burning into the back of my Jacqueline Firkins wedding gown as I heard nothing but the sound of my panicked pulse pounding through my veins and reverberating in my eardrums.

Was he already there, seated among the guests? Was he going to burst through the doors, yelling?

And—God—what if he was a no-show?

The photographer, kneeling just to my right, took a photo of my face as I listened to Pastor Pete’s love lies, so I turned up my lips and attempted to project bridal joy.

“You look so nervous,” Stuart whispered, giving me a small smile.

I honestly don’t know how I didn’t throat-punch him at that moment.

“Welcome, loved ones,” the pastor said, beaming at the congregation as he spoke. “We are gathered here today to join together Sophie and Stuart in holy matrimony.”

I felt my breath hitch, unsteady, as he kept yammering, leading us closer to the moment. Something about the twinkling lights and evergreen boughs that we’d painstakingly selected for our December wedding felt garish to me all of a sudden, as if the hobo ghost from Polar Express was going to show up in the back of the church and mock me for my foolishness.

And he wouldn’t be wrong.

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Why I love it

There’s nothing quite like picking up a book that forces you to leave your reservations and cynicism at the door. While reading Lynn Painter’s Happily Never After, I was transported to a place where professional wedding objectors are real, flawless banter is plentiful, and chemistry is off the charts.

Our story begins at our heroine’s wedding, but Sophie Steinbeck is not getting married today. After finding out that her fiancé has been cheating on her, she’s ready to call it off. Due to some complicated family dynamics, though, she’s unable to do it herself. That’s where Max comes in—a professional wedding objector. It’s his job to stand up at the ceremony and do what Sophie can’t: call off the wedding. After the fact, Sophie learns more about her hero’s job and wants in. They band together, traveling the country to help couples in terrible situations end things. Max and Sophie’s adventures are full of antics—and a growing attraction. As it develops they decide that starting a physical relationship (no feelings involved, of course) is in order. But after a job arises that involves Max’s past, Sophie finds that some emotions might have gotten mixed up between them after all.

A true rom-com romp, I loved every second of this book. Every wedding Max and Sophie attended was more fun than the last, and I couldn’t get enough of their amazing chemistry. Lynn Painter has drawn up a winning story that is wild and heartfelt all at once.

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Member ratings (3,000)

  • Alexandra H.

    Colonial Beach, VA

    I really enjoyed this book! Usually I’m not the “rom-com/romance” type. However, I totally got behind Soph’s reasonings with her feelings! A cute story that proves “lovers are best when friends first”

  • Teresa F.

    Clifton Forge, VA

    The main characters are incredible!Would love to see a continuation of Max & Sophie’s story Their journey from friends to lovers is incredible ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

  • Caroline M.

    Depew, NY

    I loved this book so much… I knew it was a good one from the first 5 pages. The story line is so different from what I’ve read before and I enjoyed the whole concept of “wedding objectors”… Sophie an

  • Karmen K.

    Milpitas, CA

    Best rom-com I’ve read in a while. Couldn’t get Henry Cavill out of my head as Max. You can practically feel the chemistry radiating off the pages between Max and Sophie. 🤣 friends with benefits 🤐

  • Michelle B.

    Charleston, SC

    Love everything about this book! The rapport between the two main characters was adorable. The chemistry was unbelievable, with zero “ick” factor. Couldn’t get enough of them and their relationship.

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