Author: Jen Doyle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2016
There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she’s back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”
Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and…
Oh, God, was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?
Doing everything she could to keep herself immune from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”
Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.
She had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would be on her breast.
And was that…?
Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her chest.
Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.
“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”
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I don’t think falling in love with your best friend had ever been this sexy or sweet. I firmly believe this because this book was those and more. I fell in love a little bit with Deke myself every time he appeared. My heart broke for Fitz, so much so that I wanted to get inside the book and try and become another friend to her. And when I’m this invested in the characters, their lives, it’s a no brainer I’ve enjoyed this story. So so much. How can I not? Not only was I already crazy looking forward to it, but I also knew that there was a small town involved-which, by the way, became almost a requirement for my choice of romances lately, I won’t lie- and a friends to lovers story that was one of the deepest, most complicated yet simplest I’ve ever read.
For those of you who haven’t yet read the first book, my advice is to change that fact immediately. I was so excited for this series, and it seems like it’ll only get better so it’s better to start from the beginning. And for those who’re familiar with the tight knit crowd of Inspiration, yeah, you’ve got a sweet ride waiting for you. Especially if you’re a fan of friends to lovers stories because let me tell you, this is the king and queen of those rolled into one.
I’ve already said it but I’ve loved both Deke and Fitz from the first book. Although we had clues as to the nature of their relationship-which is purely friends only plus a dose of chemistry- the intensity of their friendship and care for each other was palpable in their own book. We knew the background of Fitz since she was the step sister of the previous hero, but clearly we were only scratching the surface. The deep emotions she had buried inside, the hurt she carried all those years..I’ve never felt sympathy with the likes of this for a character before. Fitz and Deke’s friendship was something to envy too. Everyone should have someone like Deke in their corner, let me tell you.
As emotional as this book was, it was also very sexy. There’s just something enticing in two friends slowly falling for each other. The secret glances, the odd reactions, the self delusion phase of friends with benefits..It worked out so well, so sweet and sexy that it was impossible not to fall in love along with them. Yep, that’s what I did, folks, I fell in love with this couple. Individually, they were okay, they got by and they dealt, but the real magic was when these two were together. Their actual strength came through when they stood up for one another, when they were alone, existing in their own world. That was the kind of strong bond I thought they had and it was beautiful. Kinda made me feel like a third wheel invading their private moments.
I don’t have any more words to tell you how much I loved this book. This was a deep story, one of love and trust, friendship and love, forgiveness and understanding. It was a kind of friends to lovers story I’d want to read. One I definitely recommend.
I’m adding five huge, love filled spoonfuls of this charming story into my hodgepodge. And add a handful more for good measure because I’m so over the moon for Fitz and Deke, why not?
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).
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