3 Sentence Summary
Sarah Adams’ “Practice Makes Perfect” shines as a heartwarming addition to the When in Rome series. Annie, the seemingly reserved woman with disastrous dates, finds unexpected connection with Will, a sexy bodyguard who becomes her dating coach. This fake relationship evolves into a genuine bond, showcasing their delightful banter and gradual vulnerability.
Summary Read Time: Less than 7 minutes
Actual Book Length: 368
First Published in: 2023
Practice Makes Perfect is the 2nd instalment in the book series “When In Rome” by Sarah Adams. The series was started with the book “When In Rome” itself which had come out in 2022.
Below is the detailed yet quick Practice Makes Perfect book summary:
Our protagonist, Annie, is a classic introvert battling social anxiety. She’s on a date with John, and things take a turn for the worse when she accidentally spills beer on him. Dating, for Annie, feels like navigating a minefield.
Annie is convinced that dating is a form of torture, especially for introverts like her. She likens the experience to various uncomfortable situations, such as unexpected dental procedures or menstrual cramps. She’s on this date in hopes of finding the missing piece in her life: a partner.
Annie has specific criteria for her ideal partner, inspired by her parents’ loving marriage. He should live in Rome, Kentucky, have a stable job, be kind and supportive, and want a family. These are the only things that matter to her.
Annie struggles with social interactions, often freezing up or saying the wrong thing. During her date, she inadvertently suggests that she wants to get married, making the situation even more awkward. She then tries to clarify, only to dig herself into a deeper hole.
Feeling overwhelmed, Annie escapes to the bathroom to regroup. She texts Amelia, her soon-to-be sister-in-law and pop star Rae Rose, for advice. Amelia suggests bailing on the date, but Annie is determined to see it through, if only for the brownie she’s been looking forward to.
As Annie returns to the table, she overhears John on the phone, describing her as “boring” and “awkward.” She’s hurt but tries to maintain her composure. As she’s processing her feelings, Annie spots Will Griffin entering the restaurant. She refers to him as “the pirate” due to his roguish charm. He’s known for being one of the world’s hottest bodyguards and has a history with Amelia.
Annie is captivated by Will’s appearance and demeanor. She recalls various articles and images of him, showcasing his prowess as a bodyguard and his many romantic escapades. She’s particularly drawn to his tattoos, especially the butterfly on his hand.
To Annie’s surprise, Will approaches her table and greets her. She’s taken aback, not expecting him to remember her. Their brief interaction is charged with a mix of familiarity and tension. It’s revealed that Annie has a penchant for reading historical romances, particularly those in the piratical genre. This hobby is something she’s kept secret, even from her sisters.
Will, known for his confidence and charm, stands in stark contrast to Annie’s dating inexperience. Recognizing this, Annie sees an opportunity to learn from him.
Annie approaches Will with the idea of him tutoring her in the art of dating. She playfully assures him that she won’t fall in love with him, emphasizing that he’s not the type of guy she’s looking for. This humorous exchange highlights the platonic nature of their arrangement, at least initially.
Initially, Will is hesitant about the idea. He’s unsure about getting involved in such a personal aspect of Annie’s life, especially given their professional relationship. However, Annie’s persistence and genuine desire to improve her dating skills eventually sway him.
Given the close-knit nature of their community and the potential for gossip, Annie and Will decide to keep their lessons a secret. They don’t want the town to misconstrue their interactions or for Annie’s siblings to find out.
Will ends up staying at Mabel’s Inn, a quaint Victorian house surrounded by a white picket fence. The inn has been a significant part of the town’s history and holds special memories for Annie, as she used to visit frequently with her grandmother. Mabel, the owner of the inn, is a close family friend of Annie’s and has known her since she was a child.
Will, in an attempt to create a distraction for sneaking Annie into his room at the inn, damages a piece of the inn’s siding. This leads to a humorous situation where Mabel, along with other townsfolk, gather to inspect the “damaged” siding. Will uses this as a ruse to divert attention and sneak Annie in.
Their interactions in the room are characterized by playful banter, deep conversations, and lessons on dating. The lessons are meant to be instructional, but the close quarters and shared moments lay the foundation for a deeper connection between Annie and Will.
Will starts his next day with a mix of introspection and action. He’s up early, fixing the siding of Mabel’s Inn, which he had previously damaged. Mabel, the inn’s owner, catches him in the act, leading to a humorous exchange. Will’s thoughts are consumed by his brother Ethan’s upcoming wedding and his own confusing feelings for Annie.
Will struggles with his growing attraction to Annie. He reminisces about their recent interactions, especially a charged demonstration that left both of them wanting more. They’ve planned lessons to help Annie navigate the dating world, but Will’s feelings complicate matters.
Mabel, with her sharp wit and keen observation, deduces that Will had damaged the siding to create a distraction for sneaking Annie into his room. She teases him about his intentions with Annie, hinting at a deeper connection than Will is willing to admit.
Will accompanies Amelia, his client and friend, to Huxley Farm. Their banter reveals a close, platonic relationship. Amelia, now embracing the country lifestyle, teases Will about his city attire. As they discuss wedding preparations, Will spots Annie working among the flowers.
James, another character, approaches Annie, and their warm interaction sparks a pang of jealousy in Will. Amelia doesn’t miss this and teases Will relentlessly about his obvious feelings for Annie.
Will remains in denial about his feelings for Annie, insisting it’s just physical attraction. He’s determined not to act on it, given the small-town setting and his new role as Annie’s dating coach. However, his internal monologue suggests a deeper connection.
Annie is seen working diligently at the farm, cutting flowers and interacting with James. Her cheerful demeanor and close relationship with James are evident.
Despite his attempts to stay detached, Will can’t help but be drawn to Annie. He’s conflicted, caught between his professional role and personal feelings.
Amelia, sensing the chemistry between Will and Annie, playfully pushes Will to admit his feelings. She hints at the potential for love, but Will remains resistant, believing he’s not built for such emotions.
Annie is feeling unwell, struggling to get up and make it to her doctor’s appointment. She’s alone at home, her sisters having left for a trip to Mexico. She’s also contemplating her upcoming date with Brandon from the flower shop.
Will unexpectedly visits Annie, finding her in a vulnerable state. Their interaction is charged with tension, especially since their last encounter involved a misinterpreted kiss. Annie clarifies her intentions, and Will, despite his usual detached demeanor, shows genuine concern for her.
Demonstrating a nurturing side, Will takes care of Annie, ensuring she gets medical attention and even making her chicken soup. Their bond deepens as they spend time together, with Will revealing a softer, more caring side that surprises even him.
Both Annie and Will open up about their pasts. Will shares about his dysfunctional family, his efforts to be the “perfect son,” and his struggles during his school years. Annie relates, discussing her own challenges in trying to support her grieving siblings after a family tragedy.
Their shared vulnerabilities bring them closer. Annie, despite her illness, feels a deep connection with Will. Their interactions are filled with affectionate touches and deep conversations, hinting at a budding romance.
Annie questions Will’s naturally affectionate demeanor, wondering if it’s reserved just for her or if he’s like this with everyone. Will admits to being generally tactile but assures Annie that their connection is unique.
Despite her initial reservations, Annie begins to trust Will more, allowing herself to be vulnerable around him. She finds comfort in his presence, and their bond strengthens. Will grapples with his feelings for Annie. He’s torn between his past, which has made him wary of relationships, and his undeniable attraction to Annie. He’s unsure of how to navigate these emotions.
The two share intimate moments, from simple gestures like Will making soup for Annie to deeper conversations about their pasts and fears. These shared experiences solidify their bond.
Part 5 – How Does “Practice Makes Perfect” Book End?
The narrative progresses to the wedding day, where Annie is busy with preparations. She’s aware that Will’s job as a bodyguard will soon be over, and they might part ways. Their interactions are filled with unspoken emotions, and they share a tender kiss.
Annie is overwhelmed with emotions, especially after spending a passionate night with Will. She reflects on their relationship, the love they’ve shared, and the uncertainty of the future. Despite the deep connection they’ve formed, she wakes up to find Will gone the next morning, leaving her heartbroken.
In a dramatic turn of events, Annie confesses her feelings to her friends and family. She admits to reading romance novels, fantasizing about pirates, and most importantly, falling in love with Will. This confession is a significant step for Annie, as she embraces her true self, messy emotions and all.
The climax intensifies when Will returns, seizing Annie and carrying her inside the house, away from the prying eyes of onlookers. This action-packed moment signifies Will’s intense feelings for Annie and his desire to protect and be with her.
Annie and Will both admit their feelings for each other. Annie asks Will if he has feelings for her, to which he responds affirmatively. They share intimate moments, and their bond deepens. Will confesses, “I love you,” and Annie reciprocates the sentiment.
Will proposes the idea of them being in a relationship, even jokingly referencing a past suitor of Annie’s, John. Annie dismisses the mention of John, indicating her clear preference for Will.
The story fast-forwards, revealing that Will and Annie have been living together for a year. They’ve traveled to Paris, and upon their return, they find themselves mistakenly identified as burglars in their own home. Annie speaks to a reporter, sharing tidbits about their trip and their plans for the future, including renovations to their house.