by Lauren Layne
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: August 25, 2015 by Loveswept, Random House
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?
When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.
The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I have read Lauren Layne’s previous works and I have liked them but this book?! I loved it! I LOVE the best-friends-to-lovers trope. I always have high expectations for this trope and this book did not disappoint. Parker and Ben have been the best of friends since their freshman year in college. After six years, they are still best friends, living together and they don’t have feelings towards one another. Parker is somewhat happy in her relationship with her boyfriend and Ben is happily flirting and hooking up. But then Parker’s boyfriend dumps her because he needs a break and Parker starts to consider having no strings attached sex with whoever. But she realizes she wants to have fun with sex and the only way to do that is to hook up with someone she knows, someone she trusts, someone who will not make it awkward once they have done the deed. All of the arrows point to Ben.
What if the right guy to scratch my sexual itch is the one who makes me laugh? The one I can talk to.
What if the right guy . . .
Has been right in front of me?*
The friendship between Parker and Ben, even after six years, is so intact and loyal. They have such witty banter that will have you smiling and laughing, too. But they also have their serious talks. They seek each other for advice, for a shoulder to cry on, just what every best friend would do. Ben has stayed by Parker’s side in one of the most earth-shattering experiences of her life and Parker has given Ben a friend and a family. This pair has gone through so much together. A pair like this will obviously soon start having feelings towards one another and sparks will fly like you have never seen before.
Ben and my no strings attached relationship? Yeah. Turns out that there are suddenly strings after all. And I’m completely tangled in them.*
The chemistry between them is out of this world. The sex scenes were steamy as hell. I was at work reading and had to look over my shoulder, just in case. I loved the sex scenes because they were really fun. I mean, they were hot of course but because Ben and Parker have been friends for years, the sex was very comfortable between them and funny, at times. Parker would crack me up with some of her excuses. It really was something that I think everyone would want to have with their partner—to have fun, have intimacy and be comfortable all at the same time.
I have to admit I was surprised by the characters in this story. You know how the male is almost always very sure of himself and what he wants. Well, Ben is kind of the opposite. Even though he’s smart, he doesn’t see his achievements—he actually tries to downplay them because he thinks he didn’t do a good job or tries to justify his achievements. His family wanted him to become a lawyer but he chose his own path. Since then, his family hasn’t been supportive and he has been on his own until Parker arrived. Ben really struggles with his self-esteem and it was nice to read about his character and completely see his vulnerable side, even though he is a total man-whore.
Parker’s family is very tight and they have received Ben with open arms since he was introduced. I loved reading about Ben’s relationship with Parker’s mom and dad. It wasn’t much but what the author wrote was enough to make my heart melt and feel happy that Ben could at least have a family in Parker’s parents. The other character I really loved but at the same time would have my hate moments was Lori, who’s Parker best friend and coworker. I have to admit that she was a good friend to Parker but she really had a major crush on Ben and that put me off for a while and I felt bad for her but at the same time, I hated that she had her sights on him. In the end, I ended up liking her again so all is good.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a refreshing and funny New Adult story. This is one that could probably leave you wanting more like it happened with me.
*Quotes taken from advanced copy which may not end up in final copy.*
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