I ADORE Mariana's writing. I didn't even KNOW I love slow burn so much until I started reading her books. But I do! and in this one you have to WAIT and wait and wait and it's SO worth it because besides LOVING the slow burn it's also my favorite trope of (best) friends to lovers. It took me long enough but I DID finally realized why Zac was familiar.. He has already appeared in a previous novel by Mariana - "The Wall of Winnipeg and Me" - being firstly Aiden's roommate and second a close friend to Vanessa. These two actually make an appearance in this one which was much appreciated and also made me want to read it all over again.
Like all of Mariana's books this one is also solely told from our heroine - Bianca Maria Brannen. While she didn't have the easiest life she has managed to make it her own and even make a successful business as a cook on social media. She is still working at the front desk of "Maio House" (the business Elena's family from "The Best Thing" has founded) but until her close friend Deepa who also works there finds another job she is staying to be there for her and secure herself a bit more before counting on her rather new found business to support her.
She has a big extended family, but her close one is rather small with parents working far away they entrusted both her and her her big sister Connie to the loving hands of her Mama Lupe who cared for both girls as well as 2 certain boys until her last days. The two boys are Boogie - Bianca's cousin who is like a real brother to her, and Zachary "Zac" Travis his best friend who also lives close by. All of Bianca's childhood and teens are filled with endless memories of them spending time together and though Boogie and Zac are 7 years older than her, it never truly affected their friendship spending time together, playing and laughing. But things changed when Zac left their small town to college and became a known quarterback. They might call him "Big Texas" now, but he used to be her much smaller "Snack Pack" best friend. Back when he remembered who she was..