"I don't want to for our lives to be over; I want to know right now, what will be?"
Daxton Hughes is a former teen heart throb clearly modeled on James Van Der Beek, who played the title character in Dawson's Creek. One of the big giveaways is that there is a popular internet meme of Daxton crying ("crying Dawson," anyone)? Also, the author most likely took the "W" and the "S" in the name "Dawson" and replaced each with the next letter in the alphabet. It's kind of funny that the author based the name on the character Van Der Beek played, since Daxton is the actor who played the lead in his universe's Dawson's Creek (It's My Life.) But I guess "Janfs" would have been harder to pronounce than "Daxton."
Coincidentally, I have recently been binge-watching the show Don't Trust the B in Apt 23, which featured Van Der Beek playing a post-Dawson version of himself, and of course the show made reference to the crying meme.
So, the female lead in Meet Cute is Kailyn Flowers. Five years before, she and Daxton Hughes graduated from the same law-school class at UCLA. Kailyn had been a huge fangirl and had met Hughes by physically colliding with him, when they were both in their first year. Through law school, they had a friendly rivalry that helped keep them both sharp. But at the end of final year, she relied on him to turn in a term paper for her, only to learn later that the professor had deducted points from the paper for late submission. The lost points caused her to just miss graduating first in their class, a position that went to Daxton. Ever since then, she has nursed a grudge, and told anyone who would listen that he's a terrible person.
One day, Daxton appears at Kailyn's office with his parents; they are setting up a trust for Daxton's 13-year-old sister Emme. That would be the end of their interactions for a long time, if not for the parents dying in a car accident soon after. Within the past six months, the parents have changed their will, so that Emme's legal guardian will be Dax, instead of her Aunt Linda.
Kailyn is needed as a lawyer, trustee, advocate for Emme, and a friend. Everything aligns for a romance between the leads, and I quickly picked up on some Pride and Prejudice playbook components. "Who does he think he is? He's SUCH A JERK! And I'll tell you why, based on [misunderstanding to be cleared up later]! But look how good he is with his little sister! He actually loves her and protects her!"
There were some elements that pulled me out of the story here and there, but overall, I could enjoy the book. Romance is generally not my genre, but I enjoyed this one, on balance. The reason I picked this read is that it was suggested in my library's summer-reading challenge, under the category "Light & Sweet Beach Reads."