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Do You Take This Man

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After butting heads, an event planner and a wedding officiant begin an enemies with benefits arrangement as wedding bells chime around them in the newest rom-com from acclaimed author Denise Williams.

Divorce attorney RJ would never describe herself as romantic. But when she ends up officiating an unplanned wedding for a newly engaged couple in a park, her life is turned upside down. The video of the ceremony goes viral, and she finds herself in the unlikely position of being a sought-after local wedding officiant. Spending her free time overseeing “I dos” isn’t her most strategic career move, but she enjoys it, except for the type A dude-bro wedding planner she’s forced to work with.

Former pro-football event manager Lear is a people person, but after his longtime girlfriend betrayed him, he isn’t looking for love. He knows how to execute events and likes being in control, so working with an opinionated and inflexible officiant who can’t stand him is not high on his list. He’s never had trouble winning people over, but RJ seems immune to his charms.

Surrounded by love at every turn, their physical attraction pulls them together despite their best efforts to stay an arm’s length apart. Lear refuses to get hurt again. RJ refuses to let herself be vulnerable to anyone. But when it comes to happily ever after, their clients might not be the only ones saying “I do.”

350 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 6, 2022

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Denise Williams

9 books2,515 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 732 reviews
Profile Image for Ali Hazelwood.
Author 12 books77.4k followers
March 27, 2022

Okay so, come with me on this amazing journey: RJ is this kickass, deliciously type A divorce lawyer who moonlights as a wedding officiant (trust me, it makes sense in the book) and Lear (best. name. ever) is an event planner (also kickass and type A) who finds himself taking over his cousin’s clients and working with RJ (Lear is new to wedding planning, he used to plan sports events but ***stuff*** and ***things*** happened). So, RJ and Lear have a meet ugly AND declare that the other is the last person in the world they could ever be prevailed upon to bone. And yet, they to work together (muahahhahah) on MULTIPLE weddings (which is also kinda funny since both our leads just don’t believe that love is for them, bc they’ve seen and experienced ***stuff*** and ***things***).
However, of course, they are also super attracted to each other, and guys… I’ve been watching Bridgeton season 2 this weekend and if you want to recreate that amazing Anthony/Kate dynamic, this book is IT. Like… these two idiots are trying so hard to despise each other, soooo hard. But they literally cannot keep their hands off each other. And that’s where my fave trope enters the scene: RJ and Lear end up having sex IN A NUMBER OF CREATIVE PLACES AND WAYS (Thank you Dr. Williams, you are a gentlewoman and a scholar) WHILE REMAINING DETERMINED TO HATE EACH OTHER AND PRETENDING THAT THEY’RE NOT CATCHING FEELINGS. PLS FETCH ME THE ICE BUCKET. Also before and after the sex there is a ton of REALLY SEXY TENSION AND BANTER. Hello. Hi. I would like to nominate this book for the Nobel Prize In My Kind Of Literature. And then they slowly get to know each other and realize that they are deserving of love (*insert Toby McGuire crying dot gif*)

(Also we get to see Britta which was super nice, but not as nice as RJ and Lear doing it. Sorry Britta I promise I love you).

Anyway, this is the end of my review, pls read this book, you know you want to.

Disclaimer: early copy from the publisher, Berkley (which is also MY OWN corporate daddy).
Profile Image for Kezia Duah.
391 reviews342 followers
September 17, 2022
A divorce attorney who officiates weddings. I LOVE IT! I really enjoyed RJ’s characters. She kept giving bad bitch vibes throughout the book even though we also see through that facade as we continue to read. Lear was also a really cool character. They both have similar insecurities from past relationships and I like how Williams shows this through how they struggle to completely open up together.

Here’s my struggle with this book though: Lear and RJ still felt incompatible to me. I get the sense that the message this one was trying to send was “I love you just the way you are.” However, I didn’t get enough to feel as though they were really great for each other and would last, so unfortunately I was quite disconnected from their relationship. I find this feeling interesting because I wouldn't necessarily say I don’t like one or both of the characters, I just don’t really see them together.

Loved seeing some characters from her previous books. Even though I didn’t completely love this one, I’m still looking forward to her future books.

Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,124 reviews3,709 followers
August 29, 2022
A divorce lawyer moonlighting as a wedding officiant. Is it just me? Wouldn’t that be considered a conflict of interest? Then again it's probably job security too!?

Trope: enemies to…Well, friends with benefits 💁🏻‍♀️

Lear's life has been turned upside down with a devastating breakup. While he tries to figure out his next step he stays busy helping his cousin’s wedding-planning business.

RJ is a straight-shooting, take no prisoners divorce lawyer! She’s also one of the most sought after wedding officiants in the area.

As you might guess, Lear and RJ don’t exactly hit it off when the two collide…literally! But maybe, just maybe they can find a way to 'work' together.😉

Told from both perspectives RJ and Lear’s. I frequently had difficulty knowing who was narrating, forcing me to refer back to the chapter’s heading. Frustrating!

This was just an average read for me. I had a really hard time warming up to RJ, who at times, was so rude to Lear I wanted to tell him to “just move on”! But he just kept going back for more!🙄

There’s a lot of heat between the characters🔥 with multiple open door scenes. But everything just lacked heart.

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,302 reviews43.9k followers
July 27, 2022
Another light hearted, sweet, tempting enemies to lovers comes from one of my favorite romance authors Denise Williams.

An aspiring, hard working divorce attorney marrying people in her spare time after she conducted a Hollywood couple’s ceremony at the park, writing amazing speech in air and their marriage video goes viral, becoming big hit. Ladies and gentlemen here’s TJ: tough, hiding behind her walls, doubtful about true love after her family’s failed marriage.

When she’s running late to the ceremony she will minister, she literally bumps into a hot guy, as her belongings get strewn in everywhere, the guy has no intention to apologize. He even dares to advise her smile more!

Yes: TJ and ex-football event manager, new wedding planer Lear just met like that. And this is not the worst part: they have to work at several ceremonies together, by burying their hatchets , restraining their impulses to control everything.

Lear, changes his occupation, still suffering from ex girlfriend’s betrayal, trying to build a new life in NC and TJ barely keeps her guard when their palpable chemistry prevents her to do her job.

Their push-pull and hot-cold relationship is undeniable. Could they give a second chance for their happiness?

Overall: the chemistry between characters is pure perfection. I love both TJ and Lear but their stubbornness and self sabotage inclinations made me frustrated a little bit. But it is still great, lighthearted, enjoyable read that I highly recommend.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,587 followers
November 22, 2022
Enemies to lovers where they really genuinely don't like one another. RJ is a divorce lawyer with a sideline in officiating weddings. She's extremely self protective, as a Black woman in an aggressive world, and a lawyer, and having been left fairly brutally by both father and lover before. Lear is a nice guy who was horribly cheated on and is now working in his cousin's wedding planning business and trying to be less of a nice guy. He does this extremely poorly, including telling RJ to smile more, which goes down like the cup of cold sick that it is.

We genuinely feel the difficulties here, as well as the growing liking (there's plenty of lust). They are both quite badly screwed up people who are busy protecting themselves, and whose periods of openness and vulnerability do not align well--so both at one point or another offer more than the other one feels ready for, and get turned down. It means they are at odds / each other's throats for a fairly large proportion of the book, but because we see things from both sides, we can nevertheless believe they'll be able to make it as a couple once they finally get into alignment. Basically it's an enemies to lovers where they have good reason not to like each other and they both behave like genuine dicks, and it still works. Serious props for that.

Highly readable and a bit different. (Except for the bumping into people. If we could put a moratorium on romance MCs bumping into people and spilling their coffee/doughnuts for say five years, that would work for me. I might start a pledge.)
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
September 13, 2022
I was really excited to read this book because I love Denise Williams, but this one was more boring than anything. RJ meets Lear because they're both working weddings, her as an officiant and him as a planner. They don't get off on the right foot, so RJ decides she hates him. But she finds she's super attractive to him, so they start a friends with benefits deal. I don't know what is up with traditionally published romances lately, but the story was just bland and I had a hard time really caring about the story. I didn't really feel too much of a connection beyond a physical one between these two characters. Maybe the audio wasn't the way to go with this one, but I just didn't love it as much as I wanted to.
Profile Image for Hannah B..
873 reviews1,305 followers
September 3, 2022
✨I have untook the man✨

This was just alright. I wasn’t ever really incensed, but I was perplexed and confused. I guess there were just so many choices in this book that left me simply asking…why?

Why make Lear such a dude bro “you should smile more” type of frat boy? I mean really he was UNSAVORY to say the least at the beginning and I really want to understand but I just can’t. He immediately regretted the “smile” comment but what the fuck Richard? Why was that something he even thought to say? His backstory was actually very tragic and I was very touched when he revealed it…but it doesn’t translate to him reverting to blatant toxic masculinity as a defense mechanism??

I just thought it was a WILD way to introduce the hero. Especially as a contrast to R.J. who is such a strong and bad ass character. Dare I say she deserved better? Yes and no. I do think the book did a good job in changing my opinion of Lear (for the most part), but I’m not quite convinced I wanted them to end up together.

Why start the book of banging and then just drop off? The book rather abruptly starts banging pretty early on, which was rather detrimental in my opinion. Obviously this is an enemies/friends with benefits situation so it needed to bang early (!) but it kinda set the tone for quickies than never held any emotional depth. Every sex scene was surface level, even if well written and hot.

There was a moment where I thought we were going to finally have an intimate bed scene, but then it faded to black so suddenly. The next full scene (with no fading) was HOT but it was a hard, rough, denying feelings scene. We never got the slow burn love scene after they realized their feelings. The sex scenes just function differently here than I would’ve liked.

In and out of bed, I never felt like the two even knew each other. There were like two deep moments between the two of them, but most of the book was them denying feelings and avoiding each other or getting a quick fuck and starting the cycle over again. I’ve realized that friends with bennies is just not for me. I’ll takes an eggs benny instead.

Why must Teddy Hamilton be attached to this audiobook? I thought January LaVoy did fantastic, but Teddy just has the worst voice for women EVER. Especially contrasted with January’s flawless performance. January’s R.J. was confident and smooth, while Teddy’s was simpering and sort of whiny. I stopped the audiobook 50% through and literally started the ebook over to give it a fair chance. I’ll say 50% of the asshole quota was Lear in general and 50% was Teddy’s delivery.

Why reference the pandemic RANDOMLY for the FIRST TIME at 98% in the epilogue???? In what world was that necessary??? I sincerely hope that it was just an ARC flub and will taken out of the book because it was so odd. Random mentions of the pandemic are so off putting to me.

The writing was great, it is Denise after all, but the plot just wasn’t there for me. I’ve been the head caterer at dozens of weddings and always enjoy reading about the wedding industry. The pressure is absolutely real!! I also really liked how they both held accountability at the end after the breakup. That doesn’t always happen and I was very happy to see it here.

The contrast of R.J. being a divorce lawyer and an officiant was quirky, but it got kind of muddled. There was a random bit at the end that was very abrupt regarding the overlap of her two jobs. The concept was fun but the execution was just a bit blah. Book one remains my favorite by the author, but I’m happy I gave this one a shot nonetheless.

⭐️⭐️⭐️.25/5 🌶🌶🌶.25*/5

*I think this is technically a 3.5🌶 but none of the scenes hit me emotionally and none were particularly memorable.

Thanks so much to the publisher for an eARC via NetGalley and PRH Audio for an ALC. All opinions are honest and my own.
Profile Image for kimberly ☆.
236 reviews3,844 followers
July 30, 2022
Thank you so much Berkley for the ARC!

4 stars 💗

This book was kind of a dynamic I’ve never read before, and I had a fun time while reading it. Lear and RJ are basically frenemies with benefits, and watching them navigate that relationship was really fun for me. I loved the scene of her taking care of him while he was sick, that’s one of my favorite troops ever so I enjoyed that thoroughly. I also loved that at the end she acknowledged that she was wrong, I feel like that was a really good thing to happen because he was quite open with her and he constantly got shut down so it was good to kind of see her own up to it. Sing them fall in love with each other on their own accord was really cute, especially when you think about how they first originally met versus how they ended. I don’t know I had a blast while while reading, and it was centering a black woman being loved out loud. That is my all-time favorite trope so I was hooked from there!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Zoe.
331 reviews1,430 followers
March 28, 2022
rightttt, Ali Hazelwood rated it 5 stars I will be reading this.

Ali, I hope you realise how much power you have over me
Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
1,119 reviews2,803 followers
August 25, 2022
this is actually my first denise williams romance and it was so fun! i had so much fun reading about rj and lear falling in love even if they didnt want to at the beginning. if you're looking for an enemies with benefits romance, you've found it。・:*˚:✧。

one thing that i know will annoy a few people is the hot/cold dynamic. it annoyed me quite a bit, but i think it works for them. still, im not going to deny that i wanted to shake them up and tell them to talk to each other!!! but i get it, i get it. their walls are way up high, they dont really trust each other even if you think they do. they have been hurt and don't want to go back to that place, so they protect themselves in the only way they can. STILL. i wanted them to talk, communicate, because there are a lot of hot and cold moments between them where they want to but then don't.

but the dynamic between them, the banter and the bickering and the competition aspect of their relationship is so cute. i laughed and had so much fun reading about them. the weddings and the cute locations they were at made this novel so enjoyable. whenever they texted or called each other, i was like swooning. YOU KNOW ME: i love a good soft, quiet moments where a text, a call, a finger graze between shoulder blades, makes for an epic love story.
Profile Image for Diana_bibliophile.
284 reviews32 followers
September 29, 2022
This is my first book by Denise Williams and the idea of a divorce attorney having a side gig as a wedding officiant is kind of hilarious. However, I did not connect with Rj and Lear as a couple. It felt like their chemistry was forced and that if we are honest, it’s a couple that would break up. I know the theme of the book is “I love you just the way you are,” but Rj seemed rude rather than assertive. And Lear would just take it, that is not a healthy relationship.

After the halfway mark, the story seemed to be going in a circle and not much of the plot was really developing. Adult miscommunication is my least favorite thing in a book, this had lots of that. If you are not mature to be open and honest, then you are not ready for a relationship even with fictitious characters. Again, this might just be me not connecting with the characters, but I this didn’t sound like a healthy relationship.

**Teddy as a narrator is swoon worthy, I refuse to look him up.
Profile Image for Alex.
94 reviews22 followers
September 9, 2022
This was my first time reading a Denise Williams novel and I was so disappointed. RJ was beyond unlikable and I was disappointed that Williams chose to portray her as a stereotypical career woman who would rather do anything other than share her feelings. Also, it was so exhausting when RJ would talk herself into not being emotionally available for Lear for the 800th time every time Lear did or said something sweet.

There was no chemistry at all between RJ and Lear, and any s*xual tension between the two just seemed super forced. I was bored so many times throughout this novel, even with the relatively short chapters. Forgettable story. Lackluster characters.
Profile Image for Basic B's Guide.
1,036 reviews332 followers
September 4, 2022
Debating on stars because my interest really dwindled around 60% and I’m not sure if it’s just me and my mood.

Audiobook narrated by January LaVoy and my boy Teddy Hamilton. If you haven’t listened to an audiobook narrated by Teddy then you’re missing out. Swoon!

Lots of sexy time so make sure you enjoy open door romance if you’re picking this one up.

Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,181 reviews114 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 24, 2022
DNF at 42%.

This author is hit or miss for me. I DNFed her debut, loved The Fastest Way to Fall, and now we are back to another debut.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the whole misogynistic/mansplaining type of character ESPECIALLY when it's a white man addressing a Black woman, which is the case here.

RJ is an incredible character. She's a headstrong and intelligent divorce attorney who is trying to claw her way to the top of an elite firm while officiating marriages on the side thanks to some good press.

Enter Lear. The first time Lear bumps into (literally) RJ and knocking her over, there's some banter that's exchanged, but he ends on "you should smile more" knowing full well its a misogynistic dig that he even admits to. Ugh Whatever. Fast forward, and of course these two must work together on an upcoming wedding. Lear was instructed to have RJ take point because it's her specialty, but instead, he proceeds to talk over her, ignore her, and mansplain his way through the whole meeting with the clients. At this point, I just wanted to put him in a chokehold.

As a Black woman who is also incredibly type A as RJ is portrayed, I just wanted to take Lear out. Yes, RJ does give her a piece of his mind after completely embarrassing her in front of the clients, but it was just too much for me. I didn't care for their budding romance, and the chemistry just felt forced because the author is pawning the story off as "two headstrong people just finding their way" while completely ignoring the nuance surrounding how Black women are expected to shrink themselves to conform to society.

Well I guess this turned into a rant, but yeah, this is a hard pass for me. If you're going to write interracial romance, please put some damn respect on Black women. We don't need them talked down to or to cater to white men.

Thank you PRH Audio & Berkley Romance for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jessica Silfen (Exercise_Read_Repeat).
1,088 reviews135 followers
September 22, 2022
3.5⭐️I have read all of Denise Williams books and been looking forward to "Do You Take This Man"! In my opinion, nothing compares to her debut "How to Fail at Flirting," but this was still an enjoyable story with great representation, lovable supporting characters, humor, and spice ! Plus, any book centered around wedding season automatically win me over :). The one reason I am not giving it more stars is that I think it got repetitive and could have been shortened.

I listened to the audiobook, and loved the narration! Teddy Hamilton is my favorite male narrator and he totally aces it in this book!

Read if you like:
-Enemies to lovers turned friends with benefits
-Dual POV
-Steamy romances
-Wedding planning
-Strong, successful female leads
-Great banter

Thank you PRH Audio for the gifted audiobook!
Profile Image for Bookaholic Lens.
239 reviews8 followers
February 24, 2023

This book had no business being this good and SPICY🥵 Ate everything up like a hot fudge sundae😋

We meet our FMC, RJ, who runs (literally) into our MMC, Lear. They quickly became enemies. You know the saying that goes, "There's a thin line between Love and Hate." In this case both MCs started to become physically attracted to each other and made an arrangement.

From enemies to enemies with benefits. That supply closet scene though (iykyk😉). The irony was not lost on me that our girl RJ is a divorce attorney who officiates weddings. WHAT A BOSS MOVE💃🏽💅

Loved the back and forth between RJ and Lear. The tension was there, the conflict was there, the angst was there. A bonus is RJ being a closed off grump for good reason. We get to see why she's the way she is.

Enjoyed everything about this book although it was a bit slow here and there. Worth every second.
Profile Image for Rachel McKenny.
Author 1 book185 followers
January 7, 2022
Listen, all I can say is that I got to read an early copy of this one. You think you're ready for it, but you're really not. It's one of the sexiest romance novels I've ever read, and I can't wait for everyone to get a chance to be burned by the heat between these characters.
Profile Image for Kaylee Gwyn (literarypengwyns).
906 reviews84 followers
August 13, 2022
4 Stars

I have a love/hate relationship with this book (much like Lear and RJ have with each other). On one hand, I really loved both of these characters and their prickly natures, hard exteriors, and resistance to vulnerability. But also, I’m a lot like them, so it’s hard to read and enjoy a book you relate to so hard, while it isn’t really showing you in the best light. Did I say you? I mean the characters. Ha.

The dedication says “For the ones who think they’re hard to love,” and that is exactly what this book is… a love letter to those of us that feel like we can be hard to love because we are snarky and have a hard time trusting others and letting people in to care for us the same way we want to care for them. For those of us who hold back because we have been burned before.

RJ and Lear have both been vulnerable and burned by that and both are reeling from recent experiences with trust being betrayed. They have been left behind and feel used and the both promise to not let it happen again. So when they are forced to work with each other over and over and they keep butting heads, they decide that being enemies-with-benefits is the way to go.


But they both start to catch feels and both sabotage the relationship before it can even become one. This story really was so incredible to read because we rarely get two grumps making it work. At times you want to shake them both. And other times you feel so burned by how hurtful they can be because they want to protect theirselves. But you will equally feel so much passions and care because often, those of us who love the least love the hardest.

I highly recommend this one and I cannot wait to help curate this book for the September Authentic Book box!

* thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free eARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. *
Profile Image for Katy O. .
2,312 reviews723 followers
May 22, 2022
(free review copy) So here’s the deal. There is a lot to like about this book involving the depth of the characters’ back stories and the inclusivity of the characters. However, I rate a book on how much liked it and this one just didn’t work well for me because I don’t enjoy reading about sex between characters who are denying any emotional connection and who treat it more like a business transaction. And at times, are actively being unkind to each other. To me, that’s not sexy or appealing to me. So, as the Sharks say, this one isn’t for me, I’m out.
Profile Image for Tabassum Irin (whatirinreads).
160 reviews74 followers
September 15, 2022
Since it's a Denise Williams novel, I wanted to enjoy Do You Take This Man a lot more - but unfortunately, the story fell a bit short for me. I loved the writing style and everything - there's something so wonderful about Denise's way of writing romances.

Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. The friends with benefits trope was paired with that for Do You Take This Man, and I think Friends With Benefits is just not my cup of tea. (or should the trope be called enemies with benefits in this case? I am kind of confused to be honest, lol) The chemistry between RJ and Lear was not convincing at all to me. I liked the conversations that they had, especially regarding their pasts. Honestly, that was the only time I enjoyed them being together. I did not see any kind of spark between RJ and Lear, so it was difficult for me to connect with them. I loved The Love Hypothesis/Love on the Brain, so miscommunication does not bother me much ( mentioning this as a reference hehe) but the lack of communication between the two leads in DYTTM frustrated me countless times. I had to stop reading more than once just because I wanted to shake RJ and Lear in order to put some sense into them!!

My favorite thing about the book was definitely RJ's character. I liked the headstrong attitude she had, especially as she worked in a field that's dominated by men in general. I love female leads who know what they want - and RJ was definitely a character who expressed that vibe every step along the way. The author showed how vulnerable she was with love and romantic relationships, so I really liked that aspect of the story. Seeing her grow made me really happy! Strong independent women >>>> everything.

Lear on the other hand though, kind of...irked me out. He apologized a lot for his toxic masculinity-packed behavior (which he showed at the beginning of the book) but I just couldn't warm up to him at all. I normally LOVEEE male leads with a sad tragic past as that opens up a lot of space for character growth in a book. But umm, I just couldn't vibe with Lear urgh.

So yeah, this one was kind of disappointing as I love Denise Williams. I guess I just have to accept the fact that I won't fall in love with every book by my favorite authors. :(
Profile Image for Weekend Reader_.
796 reviews53 followers
October 22, 2022
Honestly I feel like I'm going to be stoned for saying that this book was not enjoyable albeit nothing was glaringly awful.

Lear was presented as a nice guy because he cares too much and gets taken advantage of. However, I thought his niceness was contingent on his feelings towards the person, as in, if he cared it showed but if he didn't care about the person he was flippant. I don't think that's how niceness works. And RJ girl was or tried to be all things to all people. I did think it was interesting to have a lawyer/officiant combo and see a character who loved both careers. It's often positioned that a character hates one job and the other is an outlet, but each pathway engaged different parts of her brain. Very cool.

My biggest grievance was I don't think these two had a really compelling reason to be together beyond sex. The initial draw was sex and physical attraction and if I'm being completely honest the time they spent together sharing didn't feel like a relationship should have been on the table. The banter? if that's what we want to call it was basically trying to one up each other. Big picture both characters felt one dimensional with an occasional glimpse of more, though there was more of a focus on their attractiveness or quickies. So I say again, why did they end up together? I mean I know why, it's romance. I just didn't think there was a good reason to move it from the frienemy with benefits situationship.

Clearly I'm in the minority here but the writing felt ver different and not what I've come to expect from Denise Williams. This book just felt very flat to me. I did like the cameos if Britta and Wes. ☺️

CN: cheating, emotional manipulation, elder caregiver stress, career conflicts,
Profile Image for Suzanne (The Bookish Libra).
949 reviews109 followers
September 5, 2022
4.5 STARS.

I loved Denise Williams’ first two books, How to Fail at Flirting and The Fastest Way to Fall because Williams writes such smart, vibrant, and relatable characters. She also excels at writing snappy dialogue and at bringing the heat during those steamy scenes when her characters finally connect. I’m thrilled to report that Williams has another winner on her hands with her latest novel, Do You Take This Man.

The story follows RJ, an up and coming divorce attorney who also, oddly enough, officiates weddings in her spare time. When we meet RJ, she is running late for a wedding, and in her haste to get there, she accidentally crashes into a handsome stranger and ends up in a heap on the pavement. What could have been a meet-cute instead becomes a hostile encounter as RJ gives this guy a piece of her mind. Their conversation ends with him telling her she should smile more. Instead of murdering him like she would love to, she hurries to get to her wedding. Things take a turn for the awkward when it turns out this guy, whose name is Lear, is the cousin of the event planner RJ always works with and Lear is filling in for his cousin for the foreseeable future. So RJ finds herself stuck working with this “dude bro”, as she has dubbed him.

I love a good enemies to lovers romance and was totally on board with this story from the moment I knew RJ and Lear were going to have to work together so closely. The tension was pouring off them in those opening scenes so I knew I was in for one heck of a ride!

Burned by her ex, RJ has no interest at all in a romance for herself and instead buries herself in her work. I really loved RJ. She’s smart, independent, headstrong, and she knows what she wants and what she doesn’t. Well, at least she did before Lear came into her life. His presence shakes her up in ways she did not anticipate and really throws her off kilter to the point where she can’t decide what she wants from one moment to the next. It’s frustrating for Lear, but I just loved how realistic and messy RJ was in this situation. I was also tickled that RJ turns out to be the best friend of Britta from The Fastest Way to Fall and it was so much fun to watch RJ go to Britta for advice.

Like RJ, I’ll admit that I wanted to smack Lear upside the head the first couple of times he and RJ interact. He kept interrupting her, overstepping when it came to overseeing the wedding ceremony, and even tried to mansplain her at one point. RJ puts him in his place, and thankfully Lear is a man that learns from his mistakes so I quickly grew to like him, especially as we learn more about him and the heartbreaking circumstances that have led him to leave his life in L.A. and come all the way home to NC.

I very much enjoyed the progression of RJ and Lear’s relationship, both their working one and their personal one. There’s of course lots of cute and flirty banter and some sexy, steamy scenes, but what I especially loved about this relationship is how real it felt. RJ and Lear’s journey to that coveted happily ever after ending is a rocky one. They are both dealing with baggage from previous relationships, and RJ has such a tough outer shell, but it’s clear that underneath, she’s pretty vulnerable as well. It takes a lot of work to break down her walls and really get to know her, as Lear finds out. RJ thinks that she is hard to love, so I was thrilled that Lear seemed determined to try to prove her wrong.

Denise Williams just never disappoints. I love her dynamic characters and their relatable journeys, and Do You Take This Man is no exception. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys enemies to lovers romances, headstrong female protagonists, witty banter, and sexy, steamy love scenes.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Phoebe (readandwright) Wright.
403 reviews231 followers
August 26, 2022
Thank you Berkley Publishing for my copy! All thoughts are my own.

I am an unofficial but probably official fan girl of Denise Williams. Since her debut with How to Fail at Flirting, I’ve fallen in love with her writing. It’s fun and sexy but also so real and reflects the world we live in today. When she told us about her latest novel last year on Read It or List It, i’ve been chomping at the bit to get my eyeballs on it.

And it did not disappoint! I think it may be my new favorite of hers…but it’s hard to rank them because they’re all so individual. But I loved Lear and RJ and I hope you do too.


“Divorce attorney RJ would never describe herself as romantic. But when she ends up officiating an unplanned wedding for a newly engaged couple in a park, her life is turned upside down. The video of the ceremony goes viral, and she finds herself in the unlikely position of being a sought-after local wedding officiant. Spending her free time overseeing “I dos” isn’t her most strategic career move, but she enjoys it, except for the type A dude-bro wedding planner she’s forced to work with.

Former pro-football event manager Lear is a people person, but after his longtime girlfriend betrayed him, he isn’t looking for love. He knows how to execute events and likes being in control, so working with an opinionated and inflexible officiant who can’t stand him is not high on his list. He’s never had trouble winning people over, but RJ seems immune to his charms.

Surrounded by love at every turn, their physical attraction pulls them together despite their best efforts to stay an arm’s length apart. Lear refuses to get hurt again. RJ refuses to let herself be vulnerable to anyone. But when it comes to happily ever after, their clients might not be the only ones saying “I do.” —StoryGraph

What I Liked:

The Concept—A wedding planner and a divorce attorney who can’t stand each other but are undeniably attracted to each other. Brilliant! So fun. Denise Williams is SO GOOD at crafting full, complex characters that you want to root for but also get frustrated with.

The Characters—I loved Lear and RJ. Especially Lear, but I could relate to RJ’s fears of letting people in so much. I love that Williams always writes women who are passionate about their careers.

The Spice—DENISE! She always writes good spice but wow, this one checked a lot of boxes. Their attraction to each other leaps off the page and it does not disappoint.

What Didn’t Work:

Nothing, I loved this book and swooned over RJ and Lear. Also, best names I’ve read in awhile!

Character Authenticity: 5/5 Spice Rating: 2.5/5 Overall Rating: 5/5

Content Warnings:

sexism, infidelity (past)
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,127 reviews977 followers
September 22, 2022
Divorce attorney RJ is my favorite type of romance heroine; she's kind of mean, she takes no shit, and she cannot fathom why she's so attracted to Lear and she's so irritated by it. Especially since Lear is one of those guys who is universally likeable, and he can't deal with the fact maybe RJ does not, in fact, like him.

These hate to want stories I eat them up! I especially loved all the details of the weddings RJ and Lear were forced to be at together, and that RJ is so great at officiating them despite being a divorce attorney. She's also secretly a little squishy on the inside.

So much fun to read.

thank you to the publisher for the ARC!

Full disclosure - the author is a friend of mine <3
Profile Image for kelseyandherbooks .
332 reviews268 followers
February 8, 2023
I love Denise Williams, and that is why it absolutely kills me to rate this book so low.

I just didn’t connect. The male MC rubbed me the wrong way from their first interaction. The banter was unnecessarily mean. I didn’t buy into the chemistry between the two characters.

Now, this is a Denise Williams book, which means the writing was still phenomenal and the spice was on point. Was this her steamiest book yet? I think yes!

I will continue loving on Williams and can’t wait to read her next release.
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,484 reviews246 followers
November 21, 2022
It was the synopsis of Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams that prompted me to pick it up, as well as the author herself, of whom I’d heard good things but hadn’t yet had a chance to read. The set-up is quite a fun one – a female divorce lawyer who moonlights as a wedding officiant embarks on a mutually agreeable frenemies with benefits relationship with the male wedding planner with whom she butts heads. Based on these first impressions I had high hopes for this one, and it definitely met them.

Lear Campbell was an event planner for a California football team before a personal crisis redirected him across the country and into a new career as an assistant wedding planner for his cousin Penny. On his first day of work he collides with a woman in a hurry, a bruising encounter that leaves them both irritated and now late for their respective events, which, of course, happen to be in the same place and are in fact the same event, a wedding rehearsal.

RJ Brooks is a divorce attorney by trade, and a damn good one too. When her best friend Britta asked her to perform her upcoming wedding ceremony, RJ got her license but had no intentions of making it public. Yet that’s just what happens when she finds herself officiating a wedding between two movie superstars following a spontaneous wedding proposal in a park, one that gets filmed and posted online and suddenly she’s the one everyone wants as their officiant. It’s a lucrative side job, especially since her older divorce clients often have children who are looking to get married themselves. But it’s not going to divert her from her career goal. And it certainly isn’t because she believes in love. She can pretend as well as anyone, but having been abandoned by her father, ghosted by her best male friend in high school, and endured a recent breakup with a man who never appreciated her or saw beyond her cool outer shell, she’s got no illusions about romance.

It’s not just Penny that connects Lear and RJ. Lear also happens to be a friend of Gretchen, RJ’s mentor, at the law firm. Lear’s relationship with Gretchen makes things even worse as far as RJ is concerned, as pissing off Gretchen won’t bode well for her career aspirations. When Penny and her wife Kelly get a sudden call regarding a baby for adoption, Penny leaves Lear to handle some upcoming weddings on his own, with RJ as the officiant. They have different styles with people, they clash constantly, and yet somehow, there is a sizzle of attraction that just keeps getting stronger and stronger. It leads to the inevitable, a sizzling secret affair with no expectations on either side. Until real feelings start to come into play and RJ has to decide if she’s willing to let down her walls and let love in.

I enjoyed many aspects of this story. The uniqueness of having a male wedding planner was a nice change from the stereotypical female role, and I loved that RJ, despite seeing mostly the ugliness of divorce, isn’t completely able to turn off her romantic side, even if it’s hidden under a pretty thick shell. As Lear and RJ spend time together and get to know each other, the antagonism that defines the start of their relationship gets put behind them. Their personalities don’t change – as a Black woman, RJ has to do more to overcome obstacles and this has made her appear cold on the outside and she still sometimes retreats behind that shield. But with Lear, she can start to relax and open up, and he’s able to see the wonderful, thoughtful, loyal woman that she really is as she interacts with her friends and family. And Lear, coming off a painful breakup with some deep emotional scars, is able to own up to his mistakes with RJ, apologize for his missteps, and open up his own heart to caring again. I just loved seeing them take these tentative steps towards each other emotionally, even though they both pretend it’s all about the sex and the challenge of one-upping each other.

Additionally, the author is excellent at writing friendships and family relationships that resonate with the reader because they feel true to life. RJ’s best friends Britta and Kat know her inside and out and are excellent sounding boards as she tries to sort out her feelings. They aren’t afraid to point out (with love) her faults and gently push her to realize what she really wants to have with Lear. And Lear’s sister Caitlin is a positive influence on his life, as is his quiet uncle Harold, who in his own gentle way, is able to tease out Lear’s complicated feelings about RJ.

There are lots of funny moments, witty banter, and steamy love scenes to round out this contemporary romance which gives this wonderful couple their well deserved happy ending. I’m looking forward to catching up on Ms. William’s backlist!

This review also appears at All About Romance: https://allaboutromance.com/book-revi...

A copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Piepie | The Napping Bibliophile.
1,973 reviews139 followers
August 18, 2022
Many thanks to Netgalley for my arc! I'm a huge Denise Williams fan!

What happens when a divorce attorney and a wedding planner start working together at weddings? And these two decide to embark upon a "with benefits" relationship, not a "friends with benefits" relationship, because they are not friends.

One thing I enjoyed about this book is the fact that the female MC was so prickly! I don't often see that in romance novels. Being maybe possibly hard to read myself, it was nice to see that represented. RJ knew EXACTLY what she wanted and was not afraid to take charge. I also liked when she talked about her name and how some people knew her as Ruthie and some others knew her as RJ and why.

Lear was such a fun character. I loved seeing a male sensitive side shine through. He seemed to be always up for a challenge and maintaining a relationship with RJ was definitely a challenge.

I also enjoyed seeing friends from Denise's previous two books. I can't wait to see what she will come up with next. This book is a winner!
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