Tag Archives: Friends First

New Release Tour! A Friendly Flirtation (Friends First #3) by Christine Warner *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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A Friendly Flirtation (Friends First #3)
by Christine Warner

A Contemporary Romance
From Entangled Publishing
Released February 15th 2016

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One kiss can change your life…

Allison Hall is fed up with being a social outcast. Even at the tech company where she works for her brother and his best friend, Jared, she’s the invisible nerdy girl. What she needs is confidence-and that requires a makeover and dating tips. And she knows just the man to help…

Jared Esterly is shocked when Allison asks for his assistance and turns her down, knowing that her brother-his business partner and best friend, Nick-would kill him if he dated her, even if it is just for practice. But when Al’s attempt to make changes on her own fails spectacularly, Jared reluctantly steps in. Things heat up quickly, and soon lessons move from the salon to the bedroom.

When overprotective big-brother Nick discovers Jared is dating Allison, their friendship and business partnership sour. Allison, consumed by guilt, must make a choice: stay with Jared, even though that means ruining his friendship with Nick and possibly his career, or leave the one man who sets her on fire.

 

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Review

3-stars

3.25 stars

Allison is ready for a change and is hoping that her brother’s best friend helps her in her transition. But when he refuses, she decides to to do it on her own. Failing spectacularly doesn’t necessarily deter her from continuing her quest, but now that Jared is willing to help she feels confident in her decision.

Jared didn’t always notice Allison, but he’s always admired her smarts and her quirkiness. So when she comes at him with the plan a plan to help her get her foot in the dating world, he is tempted but refuses to jeopardize his friendship with his best friend. But Allison brings out all his protective instincts to the surface and when he notices how determined she is to go ahead with her plan, he decides to help her along.

Soon sparks are flying, emotions start running rampant and what started as a way to get Allison into the dating world soon turns into both of them developing feelings for each other.

Although I’ve read plenty of stories with this premise, I was intrigued on how the author was going to bring it all together. Especially since I thought Allison would be a great character to get to know. Thankfully, I was not disappointed in that regards.

Allison and Jared were both great characters. They had their flaws and yearned to find that someone to spend the rest of their lives with but both were stuck in their own issues to make an attempt into love. I enjoyed how the author went about bringing Jared and Allison’s connection to the page. Their interactions were entertaining and ranged from flirty and fun to honest and emotion-driven. I especially liked how Christine Warner built up their chemistry from a tiny spark to smoldering as the story progressed. Especially since I got to experience the emotions each struggled with when they realized there was something more than friendship between them.

My only complaint would have to be Allison’s brother and the conflict that added to the story. Nick’s overreaction to Allison and Jared’s involvement only managed to irritate me, especially when it only served to highlight Jared and Allison’s inability to stand up for what they wanted. Thankfully, both of them grew a backbone and fought for their relationship. But my attention had already drifted and my interest had waned.

Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the Friends First series it can be read as a stand alone.

All in all, a fun flirty romance with some emotions added into the mix to round it up.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

She leaned her forehead against his chin, then tilted her head back, parting her lips and inviting him in for another kiss.

And he wanted seconds. More than he’d ever imagined. The soft blush creeping over her face, the way her breasts strained against her blouse as she tried to regain her breathing only encouraged him. Holy. Fuck. With her it’d be too easy to forget where the hell they were. And he didn’t like an audience. Not now. With Allison, not ever.

But that didn’t stop him from running his thumb over her bottom lip. For a second he lost sense of where they were when her eyes grew dark and her lashes fluttered gently over her skin. She looked so beautiful, and that protective urge— or maybe he should just call it what is is…lust—overtook him. He couldn’t picture her with anyone but him. Fuck. He didn’t want her with anyone else. Screw Nick. He’d deal with him later.

If anyone would teach Allison how to please a man, let a real man do the job.

Him.

She was ready, so was he. He was willing, and so was she. And they were both adults. “Al, I don’t want you with any of these men.”

She sighed, sagging against him. “Are we really going to have this conversation again? I—”

He took her mouth in a hard kiss, parting the seam of her lips with his tongue and thrusting inside, swallowing her gasp. She melted against him. He slid his hands down her throat, past her shoulders, and lower still until he curved his arm around her back and squeezed her rear. She smiled into their kiss, and this time he melted. “Do I need to rephrase?” he whispered against her mouth.

She shook her head, their mouths still touching. “I really only wanted one man in this room, but I didn’t think he wanted—”

“You better be talking about me.” He leaned back just far enough so he could watch the way her emotions flickered across her eyes. Excitement. Uncertainty. Acceptance. She nodded, her lips parted and moist.

“Are you telling me—?”

“I’m telling you I’ve come to my senses. Or lost them completely.”

 

About the Author

christine

Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, one laptop, and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good dose of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing, but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes, and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com.

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Tour: A Friendly Arrangement (Friends First, #2) by Christine Warner *Review and Giveaway*

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A Friendly Arrangement (Friends First, #2)
by Christine Warner

A Contemporary Romance
From Entangled
Released October 26th, 2015

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What happens when your plus one becomes “the one”?

Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two besties with everything in common–they’re neighbors, career-driven, and commitment-phobes. Tired of always being set up on dates by well-meaning friends and family, they take matters into their own hands: they will be the other’s plus one–a little friendly arrangement between friends.

Easy…until a steamy night where they cross the line. But that’s okay, they’ll add an addendum–one that includes a little action between the sheets…on top of the sheets…and without the sheets. But there are rules. Dating and sex are exclusive until one of them decides to terminate the agreement. No slumber parties. And if either party becomes emotionally involved they will break things off with no hard feelings.

When unexpected news changes their plans and turns their fun arrangement into something more serious, Holly and Roth must come to terms with what’s more important–what they thought they wanted, or what they really need.

 

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Review

3-stars

Friend-to-lovers stories are one of my favorite, so when I saw this title I jumped at the chance to see two ‘besties’ fall for each other. Sadly, it didn’t pan out as expected.

I guess my main issue with this story was the fact that I didn’t quite connect with the characters. In the blurb and throughout the story Roth and Holly refer to themselves as ‘besties’, so imagine my surprise when as the story progressed I found they didn’t know each other as well as two best friends should. This I could come to overlook easily if there were an added element that would take what they shared to another level. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t there.

I found the characters to be interesting and quite good together, especially when they acted their age and not like two irritating tweens. They shared a great deal of chemistry and had great rapport which helped tremendously in those moments when they reverted to their silly ways.

Like I said, Roth and Holly did have great chemistry, but their attraction for each other was something that they could both do with or without. It didn’t seem like a necessity for them to spend time together unless it served their purpose of getting their friends and family off their backs or their need to get off.

Having said that, I still think that A Friendly Arrangement was a good entertaining story. It had intriguing characters that ultimately showed some growth, an engaging storyline and some smexy scenes. I just think my expectations ran too high since I love this trope so much.

All in all, a fun and sexy read.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, three laptops (she might have a slight addiction, or maybe it’s a fear of one imploding from overuse) and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities.  She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and her website at christine-warner.com.

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Tour: How Forever Feels (Friends First #4) by Laura Drewry *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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How Forever Feels (Friends First #4)
by Laura Drewry

A Contemporary Romance
From Loveswept
Released October 13, 2015

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From USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry comes a warm and witty new Friends First novel—perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. How Forever Feels is a sweet tale about the one that got away . . . and the one that came back.

Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.

Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.

 

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Review

4 stars

After reading Accidentally in Love (book three in the series), I became increasingly curious about this group of friends. So of course, I picked up the previous installments so that I could have a full understanding of their lives and their friendship. Right about the end of my series marathon, How Forever Feels became available on NetGalley and of course I had to have it too.

Maya is done fretting over her divorce and what could have been. Focusing her energy on her business and her friends, she’s content to live her life on her own terms. Alone, but on her own terms. However, during one of their weekly girls’ night out Maya reconnects with Jack and soon the dreams she had once shoved at the back of her mind come to the forefront of her mind. What would it be like to live her own fairy tale love story with Jack?

Jack has harbored a crush on Maya since the first time they met. He lost his chance years ago when his best friend and foster brother swept her off her feet and he has regretted it ever since. Reconnecting with Maya brings back all those feelings he kept at bay through the years. But after seeing first-hand how much she went through in her marriage and the betrayal that led to her divorce, he decides to keep her as a friend rather than explore the chemistry that sparks between them.

I had gotten to know a little bit about Maya in the previous books, but had not learned the extent of the farce her marriage truly was nor the extent of the heartache her husband’s betrayal caused. So yes, I was curious and more than a little excited to see how Laura Drewry was going to bring to the page.

Maya was smart, hardworking and a wonderful friend. I enjoyed her sense of humor and the easy way she got along with everyone. I especially liked her with Jack. Maya and Jack as friends were a treat to read. Mostly I loved that the author took the time to showcase the connection they shared. They talked about their lives, reminisced about the past and even addressed the huge elephant in the room–her ex. Through it all their connection continued to be on the forefront–growing, deepening. I loved it!

Of course, as you can probably guess, they were even better as lovers. *sigh* Jack. That guy was almost perfect. Handsome in an understated way and funny with a caring heart, Jack was loyal to a fault and completely smitten with Maya. I admired his loyalty to his family, but I admit there were times where I just wanted to throttle him. The sacrifices he made for because of his gratitude were admirable, but cost him so much that i couldn’t help but feel for him and cheer him on once he decided to pursue his own happiness.

Although Jack and Maya’s romance was slow in coming, once it arrived it was the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. I enjoyed how the author infused their time together with some humor while still bringing the heat their chemistry generated. It fit them perfectly, since they were both quirky in that way.

Keep in mind that although this is the fourth book in the Friends First series it can be read as a stand alone. But if you enjoy your friends to lovers romances with a side of humor and heap of heat then I recommend you pick up the other books in the series too. This group of friends is a fantastic bunch and their stories worthwhile.

All in all, How Forever Feels turned out to be a fantastic friends to lovers story with an awesome mix of emotions, heat and romance. This series has become a favorite of mine and Laura Drewry has certainly earned a spot on ‘my list of ‘auto-buy’ authors.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

“I’m fine, really.” She waved away his concern, because for the most part she was fine. Sure, she still had moments every once in a while when it hurt—that was normal in any divorce—but those moments were few and far between now. “I can’t believe you’re here. Thought for sure I’d seen the last of you when I left Will.”

“Yeah, well . . .” He chewed his bottom lip for a second, then shrugged. “It was pretty easy to avoid you when there were three hundred kilometers and the border patrol between us, but when I saw you sitting over there . . . I don’t know . . . I figured after all this time, the very least you deserved was the chance to tell me to go screw myself for deserting you the way I did.”

“Hmm. Tempting.” She pinched a couple peanuts out of the bowl on the bar and tossed them in her mouth, all the while grinning up at him, at that face she’d missed so much. “I never felt like you deserted me. We all did what we had to do.”

She might be Jack’s friend, but Will was like his brother, and when push came to shove, Jack’s loyalty had always been to Will and the rest of the Carson family. She’d known that from the first day they met, and she’d never expected him to change, which was why his next words made her choke on her peanuts.

“He never deserved you, Snip.”

“Well, that’s true,” she snorted. “But come on, enough about Dickhead. What’s up with you?”

It took a couple seconds for him to finally let it go, and when he did, his expression warmed, his mouth lifted at the corner.

“We’re moving to Newport Ridge.”

“We who?” Wife? Wife and kids? A lot could have happened in the two years since she’d seen him.

“The Vancouver office. The lease is coming due on the building we’re in and we need something bigger, so we did some looking around and found space in that new building down on the waterfront.”

“The Luna Building? That’s great! Does that mean you’re moving back from Seattle, then?” Her enthusiasm faded as her own words echoed in her ears. “Hold on . . . if you already have a place lined up, how long have you been here?”

“Me?” Jack glanced down at his watch and tipped his head a little to the side. “About three hours.”

“Then how—?”

“Keith from the Vancouver office has done everything up to this point, but he’s having knee replacement surgery this week, so they sent me to keep an eye on things while he’s sidelined.” He glanced down at his shoes for a second before looking back at her, his little wry smile doing nothing to hide the regret lingering in his eyes. “I don’t want to keep you from your friends, but since I’ll be in town a while, I was hoping we could get together and maybe catch up?”

“Come on, I’ll introduce you.”

“But—”

“No buts. This is what you get for showing up unannounced after so long. Come on.”

Curling her fingers around his wrist, she tugged him up off the stool and led him back through the crowd, her brain spinning the whole time. Jack Rhodes had walked into her life four years ago, changed everything, and then faded out.

And now he was back. How could that make her so happy and yet a little freaked out all at the same time? And why was her stomach flippity-flopping like that—this was Jack for crying out loud.

Three huge grins greeted them at the table as Maya held her palm up in front of Jack first, and then each of the others around the table as she made introductions.

“Jack Rhodes,” she said, “this is Ellie, Regan, and Jayne.”

“Jack Rhodes,” Jayne murmured. “I’ve heard that name before.”

“Yeah,” Maya said. “Probably from me.”

Chuckling quietly, Jack shook everyone’s hands, then tipped his bottle toward the table. “It’s nice to meet you all, but I didn’t mean to interrupt your night, I just wanted to say hi to Maya real quick. I’ll catch up—”

“Good try,” Ellie snorted. “But you’re not getting away that easily. Pull up a chair and tell me why you look so familiar.”

“And don’t worry,” Jayne added. “You’re not interrupting anything. We do this every Tuesday.”

“Ah.” He nodded. “Ladies night?”

Regan nodded. “But consider yourself an honorary member for the night, because we need to know why Maya threw herself at some guy none of us have ever met.”

“Must be something good, because I didn’t even know she could move that fast.” Ellie pointed Jack in the direction of an empty chair.

When he went to grab it, Maya tipped a warning look at each of her friends. “Be nice.”

“Aren’t we always?” Regan blinked innocently as Jack set a chair down at the end of the table. “So how do you two know each other?”

Maya turned her face toward Jack and half muttered, half laughed, “Yeah, you might want to scooch your chair closer to me.”

“Why?”

Instead of answering, Maya looked straight back at Regan and grinned. “He was Dickhead’s best man.”

“Oh, that Jack!” Regan, Ellie, and Jayne in surround sound was more than enough to make Jack choke on his beer and everyone at the nearby tables stop and stare.

“I knew I’d seen him before,” Ellie said, wiggling her finger at him. “He was in the wedding pictures we burned.”

“Wow, okay.” Head down, eyes wide, Jack gripped the sides of his chair and shuffled it a little closer to Maya. “Is it too late to make a run for it?”

“You’re fine,” Maya said, patting his arm. “But that might change when they find out you were the one who introduced me to him.”

“What?!” Again in surround sound.

“Hold on.” Sputtering and laughing, and with his cheeks flushing all sorts of pink, Jack held up both hands in surrender. “You can’t just say that and then leave it hanging. I mean, yeah, I did, but tell them what happened so I don’t come off looking like a total dipshit.”

“Okay, but it’s not much of a story.” Maya frowned. “It was, what, four years ago . . . ish . . . and my roommate at the time—have you ever meet Louise, Ellie?—she got invited to this Hawaii-themed birthday bash for some woman she worked with, but she didn’t want to go by herself, so she dragged me with her. We’d barely made it in the door when she hooked up with some guy and deserted me.”

Ellie clicked her tongue. “Bitch.”

“Right? Anyway, I didn’t know anyone else there and had just called a cab when Jack here took pity on me. He brought over a piña colada, stayed until he could finally flag Dickhead over, and then he took off to do the limbo, which he sucked at, by the way. Ba-da-boom ba-da-bing, here we are today.”

“Ohhh.” Regan nodded, pointing at Maya’s drink. “Piña colada—got it. Okay.”

Maya turned to smile at Jack, but he wasn’t smiling; he was actually looking a little dumbfounded. “You’re kidding, right?”

“What?”

“Seriously?” Shaking his head slowly, Jack lifted his bottle but blinked a few times before drinking. “How did that not make me look like a dipshit? Let’s try telling them what really went down that night.”

“What do you mean? I did.”

“Ooooh.” Ellie clapped her hands together and leaned forward. “I haven’t even heard it yet and I already like Jack’s version better. Spill it.”

Jack hesitated, chuckled quietly then downed a good shot of his beer.

“Will had an on-again-off-again thing going with the birthday girl. That’s why we were there.”

“He was with someone else that night?” Maya growled. She shouldn’t have been surprised, but still. “Figures.”

“Sonuvabitch,” Ellie muttered.

 

About the Author

 

Laura_Drewry

Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

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