Series: Friends First

A Friendly Flirtation by Christine Warner

A Friendly Flirtation by Christine WarnerA Friendly Flirtation (Friends First, #3) by Christine Warner
Series: Friends First #3
Published by Entangled Publishing on February 15th 2016
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two-stars

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.

two-stars

How Forever Feels by Laura Drewry

How Forever Feels by Laura DrewryHow Forever Feels by Laura Drewry
Series: Friends First #4
Published by Loveswept on October 13th 2015
Pages: 300
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four-stars

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.

Maya McKay is best remembered as the psycho chick who trashed her cheating ex-husband’s house and in what feels like the last installment of this very fun, low-angst series, finally sees her own happy sunset ending with Jack…who happens to be her ex’s best friend. But big, goofy and awkward Jack has been torn taut by his loyalties from the very start. He’s made a name for himself in his own right as a gaming scriptwriter and his hots for Maya had always had to take a backseat, until he abruptly re-enters her life 2 years after her divorce and somehow burrows into it like he’d never left. Like the rest of the books in the series, ‘How Forever Feels’ is likeable, funny and best of all, chocked to the brim with quirky but unforgettable characters falling so far outside mould of growling Alpha protagonists that have been dropping on my page a little too much lately.

four-stars

Accidentally in Love by Laura Drewry

Accidentally in Love by Laura DrewryAccidentally in Love by Laura Drewry
Series: Friends First #3
Published by Loveswept on June 16th 2015
Pages: 298
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four-stars

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.

Light-hearted, angst-free, enemies-to-more kinda of story that makes this a breeze and quite a delight to get through, though I did feel as though I was getting cock-blocked up until the very end. There were tons of 80s pop references here that I didn’t quite get, but that’s probably on me for my own ignorance when it comes to cop shows of that time. Apart from that, Brett Hale and Ellie Palmer do have very distinct personalities which shine through here and share a chemistry that lasts past the initial antagonistic phase of their relationship. Add a stalker ex and some familial problem that’s more quirky than devastating, Brett and Ellie end up finding that they’re actually better together than apart.

four-stars