First Comes Like
Author: Alisha Rai
What I’m Talking About:
Jia Ahmed is a Southern CA based internet influencer sharing makeup and beauty tips. She’s been DM’ing with Dev Dixit, an Indian film star from an influential Bollywood family. He was kind and sweet when she was sick, and after a year of online-only contact, she’s decided to meet him face-to-face by crashing the party he’s attending for his new American-based TV show.
Dev Dixit has long lived in the shadow of his famous grandfather and brother, and now that they’ve both passed, he’s decided to relocate to America with his niece and uncle. He’s trying to make it on his own, without funds from his grandmother. However, he can inherit his grandfather’s fortune if he marries before his next birthday. When the beautiful Jia approaches Dev, he’s shocked to find out she thinks he’s been messaging her. In an effort to discover the truth and make amends to Jia, the pair decides to “fake date.”
Ah, the fake-relationship trope is one of my favorites and Ms. Rai knocks it out of the park with First Comes Like. I simply adored Jia and Dev, finding their quick but genuine romance heartwarming. While their relationship starts under false pretenses, they are always honest with one another. First Comes Like is the third book in Ms. Rai’s Modern Love series, and there is a connection to the earlier books via the characters; however, it can be read as a standalone without issue.
Jia, a Pakistani American, embraces her families traditions and cultures, while simultaneously works to find her own voice. In a family filled with successful doctors, she feels like a huge disappointment, often viewing herself as “too much” and over-the-top. It’s heart-breaking to read her inner-most fears and thoughts. Similarly, Dev finds himself at odds with his family’s legacy. He knows the fame helped him in India, but he wants to break out on his own. Additionally, he is struggling how to best parent 13-year-old Luna, not knowing much of her relationship with her decease father. Their relationship is touching and an important part of the story.
Dev and Jia feel an immediate connection, and I appreciate that Jia questions her feelings because of a year spent talking with a fake Dev. I absolutely love that Dev and Jia are respectful of their respective traditions, while trying to find their own way together. They don’t go along blindly, but also don’t turn away just to rebel. They work because they are able to express their concerns and feelings in a safe place.
First Comes Like is an absolute delight. I love how the universe brought Jia and Dev together, and that the couple embraces it. The book shares an HEA that is honest and true. The story is unique and fresh, and all about what works for Dev and Jia.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed it a lot
About the Book:
Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.
There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.
The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…
When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Series: Modern Love #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (431 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Netgalley
Amazon (affiliate link)
Reviews in the Series:
Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (Modern Love #2)