Series: Friends First #3
Published by Entangled Publishing on 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.
In a modern Pygmalion twist, Allison Hall seeks help from her brother’s best friend for an extreme makeover, to very little success. In the bid to be the confident female version of Jared Esterly, Allison takes the mantra ‘clothes maketh a (wo)man’ to heart and after a day of major changes to her physical appearance, appears to have taken on a personality transplant as well – from bookish nerd to sexy, flirty woman.
Yet while this started out fun, it ended up agonising and excruciating. It was hard to ignore the rather flawed premise that Allison would approach Jared for help for something so personal because they didn’t seem to be sufficiently close for her to ask that much of a favour of him. But just as I wished Allison didn’t keep putting herself down for being awkward, inexperienced and desperately insecure, I wished Jared had been less of a oblivious, clichéd serial dater who simply ‘dated’ in his so-called quest for love and connection: conforming so thoroughly to the stereotypes of the chick-lit genre that I found myself internally pleading for some variations in these typical character traits of both protagonists. Despite my high hopes for this Cinderella-story, I felt it all seemed a little shallow, especially seeing Allison hell bent on becoming who she really isn’t and placing so much value in her appearance instead on the good ol’ traits that should have been sufficient in attracting the ‘right’ man for her. Finally catching Jared’s interest only after the makeover he’d helped with seemed to merely cement the notion that appearance trumped character and that troubles me more than a wee bit.