While We Were Dating
While We Were Dating Book Cover While We Were Dating
Jasmine Guillory
Berkley (July 13, 2021)

Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.

Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he’s trying to ignore and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star, Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she’s also down to earth and considerate, and he can’t help flirting a little…

Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she’s booked her next movie. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation? 

But their light-hearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them. 

When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?

As a fan of Jasmine Guillory, I started this book expecting a fun and flirty read. I didn’t anticipate getting so much more substance from each of our main characters. Not to mention a realistic peak behind the curtain of the celebrity life style. I think most of us have had a fleeting fantasy of dating our celebrity crush. In While We Were Dating, an average man named Ben unexpectedly finds himself living out this dream.

A former backup dancer meets an Oscar-nominated actress.

Ben Stephens is working at an ad agency in San Francisco when he meets Anna Gardiner, a well-known Hollywood actress. They’re beginning is fun and light hearted. No heated pick-up lines. Just two mutually attracted people that genuinely like each other. The lusty journey between these two takes-off after only a few chapters.

I appreciated that Guillory wrote Ben as a compassionate and patient man capable of guiding friends and family through a crisis. Like most humans, he’s great it at for others but not himself. In this area, Anna gets to eventually step to the plate for him when he finally admits his vulnerabilities.

A woman on a mission… and it’s NOT to find a man.

Lets all give a round of applause to a woman driven to fulfill her own success! Anna Gardiner overcomes a personal mental health crisis, and executes a plan to land a big movie role. Her end game is an Oscar win. Sure, finding Ben on the way was extraordinary, but it wasn’t where she peaked. After a rough year personally, nothing would stop her from succeeding in her professional life.

I related Anna’s year-long struggle with her mental health to the long pandemic year we endured globally. I wonder if Jasmine Guillory was weaving in some of her own experience during the pandemic “lock-down” at home into Anna’s life. Anna chose to stay away from the public for a year. When she meets Ben, she’s just starting to regain a public life again. It’s unusual and scary for her. Isn’t that how we’ve all felt in the last few months?

While We Were Dating was the perfect book for readers like me, that enjoy a fun story with a splash of spicy romance. Honestly, their connection to each other felt real and made me giggle while curling my toes. Anna and Ben learn so much about keeping their own self a priority while also lifting up the other. That’s what lovers do, and I hope it makes readers pause to think about what a healthy relationship looks like.