How to Plot a Payback

Melissa Ferguson returns with an irresistible rom-com that will have you laughing out loud!

2024 is the year of romantic comedies, and How to Plot a Payback is a standout addition to the genre! Hilarious, addictive, and utterly charming, this novel encompasses your favorite sitcoms and rom-coms while bringing its unique flair. With flawless execution, Melissa Ferguson delivers her best work, crafting characters that are impossible not to adore!


He crossed an ocean, and it still wasn’t enough to escape his lifelong nemesis. Now he has to work with her.

Successful screenwriter Finn Masters just landed his dream job writing for Neighbors, one of Hollywood’s highest-rated, longest-running sitcoms. The only downside? It will put him back in proximity of the show’s universally adored, optimistic, altruistic star, Lavender Rhodes, who has been inadvertently ruining his life since they were school chums in England. But she doesn’t even know she destroyed his acting career and wrecked his relationship with the love of his life.

He’s not about to let this woman yank yet another dream out from under his feet. In fact, he realizes he’s been given the ideal opportunity to plot his payback: spinning her character in shocking new directions.

What could go wrong? Only everything. As Finn’s not-so-brilliant plot backfires one scene after the next, catching him in the blasts, he’s forced to think about this impossible, infuriating… and maybe even lovable woman in an entirely new light.

“Whereas I’ve clung to every rotten moment, she lets trespasses slip through her fingers like sand. Whereas I’ve spent countless nights staring down at my journal, writing down my woes, she spends her nights looking up, counting the stars. I grumble, she cheers. I grimace, she smiles with eyes as bright as the sun. Somehow I have become darkness, and she is light. And of course, darkness cannot mix with the light.” ~ Melissa Ferguson

I don’t know why, but I’ve always read Melissa Ferguson’s characters with a British accent, so discovering that the protagonists in How to Plot a Payback were British was an exciting surprise. Finn and Lavender shine as the show’s stars, their character arcs expertly penned to the point where they practically leaped off the page. Every story has two sides, so the dual POV provided more hilarity as their lives collided.

How to Plot a Payback? More like How to Plot the Worst Revenge, haha! Finn’s antics to “get back” at Lavender were both comical and endearing. As the saying goes, “He who seeks revenge better dig two graves.” Poor Finn could not catch a break. I could feel his frustration and conflicting emotions seep between the lines as he wrestled with the transgressions made against him and his growing admiration for his lifelong nemesis. Nevertheless, through his plotting and Lavender’s kindness, readers will learn that sometimes the worst things that happen to us actually move us in a better direction. It may seem like your life is over at the time, but overall, our “worst” moments can become blessings in disguise.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned of late, it’s that dreams can shift, can change. They grow and evolve into new and different dreams—sometimes fashioned by outside forces, sometimes by change of heart. I’ve learned, from you actually, how my dreams could change due to external forces. And it’s not a bad thing. But this time, it’s a mix. Because you are my bigger dream now. I don’t care what I’m writing, so long as I get to share my days with you.” ~ Melissa Ferguson

Finn was a brilliant leading man, but Lavender stole the spotlight with her unexpected complexity and heart. From the minute I met her with ten dogs wrapped around her legs, I knew I couldn’t hate Lavender. She was the opposite of your typical Hollywood Starlet and, as Finn finds out, impossible not to fall in love with. The culmination of Finn and Lavender’s journey is nothing short of brilliant. And let’s not forget Bernie and Miles, the canine companions who bound into each scene with tails wagging, ready to take the attention off their owners.

If you enjoy a good laugh and a silly sitcom or rom-com, How to Plot a Payback must be at the top of your to-read list!

*Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with a pre-release copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.*

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My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Positive content: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Godly content: ⭐️

Sexual content: ⭐️
Violence: ⭐️
Age: 14+

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