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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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Tour: Accidentally in Love (Friends First #3) by Laura Drewry *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Accidentally in Love (Friends First #3)
by Laura Drewry

A Contemporary Romance
From Loveswept
Released June 16th 2015

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Ellie Palmer and cops don’t mix, and getting pulled over by Officer Brett Hale—again—doesn’t help. Neither does being forced to take a safe-driving course with him. Brett’s by-the-book attitude leaves Ellie ice-cold, and his rock-hard body won’t change that. Still, the more time she spends with the guy, the more she finds herself warming up to his unexpected charms.

Even though Brett comes off like a boy scout, Ellie has sparked something he wants badly enough to get him to rethink his past mistakes. But when her ex shows up, Brett makes it his mission to keep Ellie safe in the here and now. His gut tells him the guy’s trouble, and Ellie must agree, because she doesn’t complain when Brett pulls her close. To keep her safe, though, he’ll have to choose between breaking her heart… and breaking the rules.

 

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Review

5-stars

Ellie’s past experiences with cops have left her weary of them. It’s just her luck that a cop resides among her group of friends–and he’s the very one that’s always stopping when for speeding.

Brett Hale is not looking forward to having Ellie in his safe-driving class. But Brett’s the type of guy that does what needs to be done so he will endure the Ellie’s attitude towards him if he has to. He has always noticed her, but now that circumstances have thrown them together, he can’t seem to stop thinking about her. Especially when her ex comes back into the picture.

I loved this story! What made this such an enticing read for me were the characters. Ellie was hard-headed, sarcastic and fun to get to know. I especially enjoy watching how her defenses came down the more time she spent with Brett. How could she not?! He was protective, sweet and an all-around nice guy. I loved that I got to see Brett come out of his shell and stand by his beliefs. I admired his integrity but most especially his patience. Ellie did not make it easy on him–what with her not linking cops and fighting their connection every step of the way.

The way the author worked the concept helped too. I appreciated how she went about bringing these two reluctant individuals together in a way that felt real. Their interactions were sometimes amusing, sometimes serious and always entertaining. They shared great chemistry and an even greater connection.

One aspect of the story I enjoyed was that Brett and Ellie’s connection was slow in building. Although the physical attraction was always there between these two, I liked the author took the time to develop their connection through their every interaction. The bickering, the subtle flirting and the candid moments they shared were what truly sold me on this relationship. I don’t think I would have invested myself as much in this relationship if the connection wasn’t viable. Like I said, it was slow in coming, but the journey was fun and worth the wait.

Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the Friends First series the book can be read as a standalone. I have not read the previous installments and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this story one bit. The author focused on Brett and Ellie’s relationship but still gave enough backstory so that the reader could follow the story without missing a beat.

All in all, a very enjoyable read. A bit of romance, a dash of intrigue and a whole lot of fun.
 

Excerpt

Carter took the mound and tossed a slow looping pitch a good six inches outside.

“What’s the problem, Sparky?” Regan taunted. “Did I wear you out back there behind the dugout?”

Catcalls followed from both the field and the rest of the players waiting to bat until Carter laughed and tossed another pitch, this one a perfect shot over the top corner of the plate. Stepping into it, Regan cracked a hard fast grounder between Brett and second base. Diving left, and with more luck than he cared to admit, he managed to get his glove on it, but had to spin before he could fire it to first.

His throw was off, too low and too short, yet somehow, Ellie managed to stretch impossibly far and snapped it up just before Regan’s foot hit the base.

While the rest of the team cheered, Brett waited for Ellie to look at him so he could give her a nod of both appreciation and apology, only she never even glanced his way. In fact, she didn’t acknowledge any of the cheering, just laughed at whatever Regan said on her way back to the dugout.

They rotated positions until everyone got time at the plate and as Nick cranked a liner to left field, the rain finally started and sent everyone running for the dugout. Everyone except Brett and Ellie, who remained at their positions watching the rest of the team take cover.

“Oh, come on,” Ellie cried from out in right field. “It’s just a little rain!”

With a sigh Brett could hear across the diamond, she shook her head and started off the field, heading straight past where he stood near the on-deck circle.

“Ellie?”

She took another couple of steps before stopping and turning to face him.

A thick smudge of dirt ran from the side of her nose down her cheek, and it only got worse when she scraped her forearm across her mouth. Brett punched his free hand in the pocket of his glove and cleared his throat.

“Since we’re going to be playing together, I hope we can keep what happened today off the field so it doesn’t make things difficult for the rest of the team.”

“What happened . . .” A moment’s confusion made her frown before she released some kind of guttural sound that was part choke, part chuckle. “Right. That. Least of my problems right now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing, forget it.” She started to turn away, until Brett spoke again.

“That was a hell of a catch you made earlier,” he said. “Too bad the dumbass playing short didn’t have his shit together.”

Ugh—he’d meant it as a joke, but as usual, he probably sounded clipped or cranky. He started to say as much until Ellie spoke over him.

“Whoa,” she mocked, her left eyebrow lifted in surprise. “I’d heard rumors that the cop had a sense of humor, but who knew it was true?”

Her response caught him so off guard he didn’t know how to respond and thankfully, he didn’t have to because she kept talking.

“Look, Ponch, to hear Jayne talk, you’re like the Derek Jeter of slo-pitch, so hopefully you’ll understand this. Beer league or not, when I play, I play to win, because I don’t know how to play any other way. I also believe in the idea that we win as a team and we lose as a team, so no matter what happens off the field . . .”

She hesitated long enough to give him a pointed look, then continued: “When we’re here, we need to work together, not against each other. We’re all going to make mistakes, but dogging each other isn’t going to do anyone any good. Now, if that’s going to be some kind of problem for you—”

“What? No!” A problem? Was she crazy? She’d just voiced his exact philosophy, and if it had been any other woman standing there, looking that good and saying those things to him, he might have fallen a little bit in love right there in the on-deck circle. Shaking the crazy thought from his mind, Brett forced a swallow. “Not a problem. That’s, uh . . . good. Yeah.”

“Okay. Next time, though, get your arm behind the throw; I can’t save your ass on every play.” She started for the dugout again, then glanced back over her shoulder and smiled.

At him.

If the rest of the team weren’t already in the dugout, he’d have looked behind himself to see who the smile was really aimed at; since he was the only idiot left out there in the rain, it must have been for him.

Ellie smiled at him.

Not a smirk, sneer, or jeer—a real honest-to-God smile. Warm, easy and natural, like a small burst of sunlight through the raindrops, like the spark of a lit match in a dark cave, like a flash of . . .

Holy shit, man, get a grip.
Brett stayed right where he was, watching her weave her way through the crowded dugout and out the other side to her bike. It wasn’t until Nick gave him a soft shove that he actually blinked, and by that time she was already riding away.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“What?” Even looking straight back at Nick, it took a second for Brett to see him. “Nothing. I’m, um, I’m good.”

“Then don’t just stand there—help me grab the bases.”

Another blink, this one a little longer, then Brett blew out a breath, shook his head, and hustled over to grab third which he tossed into the back of Nick’s truck with the rest of the equipment.

“Thought you said most of the team had never played before.”

“No,” Nick laughed. “I said most hadn’t played together before. Everyone’s played some kind of ball before. Hell, Ellie played . . .”

He paused, then called over to Jayne. “Babe—what level ball did you tell me Ellie played?”

Before answering, Jayne reached inside the front seat of the truck and came back with a covered dish, which she held out to Brett. Then she tucked herself up next to Nick, who opened the side of his jacket and wrapped it around her.

“She was on the women’s national team for a couple years.”

Wow. Well, that explained not only her ability but her attitude toward the team.

“What?” Nick closed the glass door of the truck cap and grinned at Brett. “D’you really think I’d be stupid enough to ask you to play on a team that had no chance at winning?”

Honestly, Brett hadn’t thought about it at all. Nick was his friend, he’d told Brett he needed him on the team, so he’d agreed. Simple as that. Not including the other cops at the detachment, Nick was the first person Brett had met when he’d moved here, and he liked to think he’d helped get Nick and Jayne together. Okay, “help” might be a bit of a stretch, since his actions almost blew their relationship apart, but to look at them now you’d never know it.

Had Brett ever been that happy? He thought he’d been happy with Kerri, but that happy? No. And ever since she’d left, it was like he’d been walking around on automatic pilot.

Until today. Until that exact moment when Ellie looked back and smiled at him.

Ellie smiled at him.

 

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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