🎧 Happily Never After by Lynn Painter @LAPainter #HelenLaser @SeanPatrickHop @BerkleyRomance @PRHAudio @Librofm #LoveAudiobooks

Posted March 19, 2024 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 10 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

🎧 Happily Never After by Lynn Painter @LAPainter  #HelenLaser @SeanPatrickHop @BerkleyRomance @PRHAudio @Librofm #LoveAudiobooksHappily Never After by Lynn Painter
Narrator: Helen Laser, Sean Patrick Hopkins
Series: Mr. Wrong Number #2
Published by Berkley, Penguin Audio on March 12, 2024
Genres: Romantic Comedy
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & NobleApple
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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 wedding 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 “I object!”

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

Max and Sophie start working together, the two love cynics going from wedding to wedding, and she’s having more fun than she’s had in ages. Sophie looks forward to every nerve-racking ceremony, where she gets to save the lovesick souls of the betrothed masses. As they spend more time together, however, they realize 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.

I can always count on Lynn Painter for snappy, forthright dialogue and interesting concepts.  In this case, having an objector at the wedding when one of the party is a cheater.  It makes it feel more like it is not the non-cheater’s fault, as though they are an innocent victim rather than an accuser.  I did find it a little unbelievable that the non-cheater would just go through with the marriage otherwise.  But there is a lot of pressure around weddings.

Our main couple here,  are a bride Sophie, who was a non-cheater and Max, the objector, since her potential groom was cheating.  There are other dynamics since Sophie works at the same company as the cheater.  Sophie just plain doesn’t believe in one true love. Max believes but hasn’t found her.

Together they end up fake dating. Sophie has a way to prove to her boss she has a personal life beyond work. Max can hold off the dates and pressure from his family to settle down.  They end up doing objections together, since they are proponents of objections.  Sophie and Max also find they have other hobbies and interests in common.

You can guess how this will end up as they just become more and more real in their fake dating.  I enjoyed this enough to finish it in one day!



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.

Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, I thought, panic tightening my chest. With every word the pastor spoke, my anxiety grew.

Stuart squeezed my trembling hand, the ever-supportive fiancé, and I squeezed back hard enough to make him look at me in surprise.

“Should anyone present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your-”

“I do.”

A collective gasp shot through the large chapel, and when I turned around, the man standing up was not at all what I expected. He was big and tall and impeccably dressed: charcoal suit, white shirt, gray tie, and matching pocket square. He looked like Henry Cavill’s stunt double or something, but with darker hair and more intense eyes.

Honestly, I’d imagined he would be a party bro, like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers, but this man looked more like he belonged in a boardroom.

“So sorry to interrupt,” he said in a smooth, deep voice, “but these two should absolutely not be married.”

“Who is that?” Stuart hissed, daring to give me an accusing stare as a low rumble of whispers emanated from the pews.

“Oh, she doesn’t know me, Stuart,” the man said, looking a hundred percent comfortable in his uncomfortable role. He raised one dark eyebrow and added, “But my friend Becca knows you.”

I gasped, my response entirely authentic even though I’d actually practiced it beforehand. I’d known this man was coming, but I hadn’t expected him to be so . . .


The man was good. The way he spoke made me feel just as shocked as I’d been two nights ago, when I’d discovered Stuart’s Becca on his phone.

“Listen, pal, I don’t know-”

“Stuart. Shut up.” The man looked down at his wrist and straightened his cuff, as if the mere sight of Stuart bored him. “The lovely Sophie deserves so much more than a cheater for a husband. I would imagine most of us here know it isn’t the first time; wasn’t there a Chloe last year?”

“I don’t know who you are, but this is bullshit.” Stuart’s face was red as he glared at the man, and then his darting eyes came back to me. I looked at his face, remembering how it’d looked when he’d sobbingly begged my forgiveness over his Chloe transgression, and he actually had the gall to say to me, “You know it’s not true, right?”

My gut burned as he feigned innocence and I said, “How would I know that? Isn’t Becca the name of the girl who texted you in the middle of the night, and you said it was a wrong number?”

“It was a wrong number,” he said with wild eyes. “This guy is obviously trying to ruin our day, and you’re letting him, Soph.”

“Then give me your phone,” I said calmly, and Pastor Pete pulled at his collar.

“What?” Stuart’s flushed face twisted, and he glanced at the congregation as though looking for backup.

“If you have nothing to hide,” the objector said, still standing and talking in that deep, steady voice like this whole scenario was completely normal. “Just give her the phone, Stuart.”

“That’s it, fucker!” Stuart yelled, rushing toward the guy. All hell broke loose as his groomsmen followed, though it was unclear if they were trying to hold him back or incite the forthcoming brawl.

It was a cacophony of male yelling and gray tuxedos in motion.

His mother yelled, “Stuart, no!”

Just as Stuart punched the objector square in the face.

“Oh, my God,” I said to no one in particular, watching in disbelief as the objector took the punch without his body moving, as if he hadn’t even felt it.

Stuart’s father looked right at me as he loudly muttered, “Jesus Christ.”

And Pastor Pete apparently forgot that his lapel mic was on, because he sighed and said, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Excerpted from Happily Never After by Lynn Painter Copyright © 2024 by Lynn Painter. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.



I believe this is my first listen to these narrators.  Helen Laser’s voice for Sophie seemed a little sharp and sarcastic which fits her. I definitely got the emotions Sophie was feeling.  Sean Patrick Hopkins voice for Max was very pleasant and I liked his softer voice for Sophie also. I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip: HERE


About Lynn Painter

Lynn Painter is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author who writes romantic comedies for both teens and adults. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and pack of wild children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, odds are good she’s guzzling energy drinks and watching rom-coms.

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
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Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Posted March 19, 2024 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 10 Comments

10 responses to “🎧 Happily Never After by Lynn Painter

  1. OH, this sounds like such a fun premise for a story. I’ll see if I can pick it up from the library down the road. Thanks for sharing.