Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads
In a novel that's perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?
When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they're still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland's trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker's boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben's no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can't seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.
The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker's ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can't go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.
**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
We begin walking, and the tension seems to fade, and I think we’re back to normal. Back to where we should be.
Ben slowly reaches out a hand toward me, and I’m confused right up until the moment his fingers brush mine.
The gesture is tentative. Sweet. And maybe just a little desperate for something that neither of us want to name.
Ben-my best friend in the whole world-is holding my hand.
Sigh. I’m biased. So so sooo biased…except I’m not. Every time I go to pick up another Lauren Layne novel, I get extremely nervous. I’ve even gotten to the point where I don’t even read them as soon as I get the ARC (‘cuz you know I’m a stalker for that shit) because I am excruciatingly nervous that ‘this book will be the LL book that doesn’t do it for me.’ Imagine that-My favorite author writing a book that doesn’t make me swoon or giggle or cry. That would surely be the end of me. So, while this book sounded EXACTLY like what I needed, I didn’t rush to read it right away when I received it. I’m weird like that. But, when my two great buddies asked me to read this with them, I literally couldn’t say no. I mean, I can’t say no to an LL book, right? They picked it up and were so excited….but lo and behold, guess who came out of this one with the largest smile on their face and no regrets?? That would be moi…naturally.
When I saw this was a story about friends with benefits, I knew that it would either go strongly one way or the other: I’d either love it or hate it. I’ve never been huge on friends-to-lovers romance-it’s just not something I seek out. I don’t dislike it, per se, but I mostly enjoy when the people don’t know each other at first. But, from the moment I picked this up, I knew it was a winner. I was laughing, smiling, and had so many feels just from two chapters. The dialogue, AS ALWAYS, was so realistic and on point that I could barely contain my ridiculous urges to bust out laughing. The characters were people that I immediately became obsessed with, which isn’t that easy to do-I’m so picky with my leads. And the story was just extremely…lighthearted and effortless. The most genius thing about Layne’s novels isn’t that her stories are as sweet as cotton candy-it’s that within that fluff there are real emotions and tough situations that never fail to make my heart ache and my eyes to well up. The angst is never over done and there is just enough that you don’t feel like you are reading a snooze-fest of a happy book (Because, come on, admit it-books with zero angst these days barely stand a chance-we lubbs the drama). And while my two
cynical Sally wonderful wonderful friends found more that aggravated them with the characters and their decisions than joy, I thought it was perfection. But don’t I always?
She’s already moving up the stairs. “Suddenly that D you got in biology is making total sense. You apparently missed the entire section on how hormones work.”
“It just so happens that biology is a specialty of mine,” I call up the stairs.
“Earlier today, you didn’t know what the uterus was,” she calls back.
“I knew,” I mutter.
And here’s what’s funny about that: It’s not like I go in all balls to the wall and say, ‘No matter what, I’m giving this a 5-I mean, it’s Lauren Layne!’ No. I actually am the opposite. I am a fair reviewer and I go in with an open mind for each and every story for each and every author. I don’t play favorites-My mind is strong. But I can’t help what the heart wants.
I feel like Lauren Layne takes thoughts directly from my mind and writes exactly like I would if I had even a little ability to do so. She inserts humor in the most wonderful places to soften harsh blows and….Sigh. Will there ever be a universe where I’m not obsessed with LL? I don’t think that’s possible. Which makes me wonder-I have no idea why 20,000 people don’t jump on this woman’s books immediately upon release. I don’t get it. Certain authors, and I certainly won’t say who, release a book and all of a sudden there isn’t one person on my feed who isn’t reading it-and the sad thing is, I think [some of] these authors don’t have half the heart that Layne does. But that’s just me.
I hold her. I pet her hair. I let her soak my T-shirt with her tears, and supply her with ample tissues to cry into. (She’s not a dainty cryer, this one.)
Whatever the cause, the tears always rip at me a little bit, like there’s this pressure on my chest that I don’t know how to relieve. I mean, all girls’ tears do that.
But Parker’s especially. She’s my girl.
Ben. Oh. Em. Gee. Ben. I didn’t know how I’d feel about my boy at first…but from the minute he held Parker as she bawled uncontrollably, I was hooked. He was mine. I’d totally be his. Even with all of his man-whorish ways, he still always put Parker first-always. Call me a sucker, but Ben Olsen pushed all the right buttons. Best friends from college on, he never let a girl get between him and the person that made him happier than any guy friend could. To sum up?? Ben made my heart flutter and my soul soar…And he really didn’t have to do anything but defend Parker. Man oh man I have problems.
And then there was Parker. A lot of people, from what I can tell, didn’t like Parker and the way she handled many situations. I, on the other hand, felt connected to her. I felt like she was a super realistic character-And I know, I know we all like ‘flawed’ characters and we expect certain behavior, but I don’t think readers really all mean it when they say that. Because, yes, Parker was flawed. She had some issues when it came to making decisions and not being a total hypocrite-she was-but here is the kicker: So am I. A lot of you people might not like me that much if you really knew me, considering I can’t make a decision to save my life. And I am a total hypocrite. What’s good for the goose is certainly not good for the gander, for me, sometimes. I am so bad about that. And I know I’m being a tad extreme comparing myself to this character, but I’m trying to prove a point. Layne’s scenarios are completely realistic, at least to me, because not one of us is perfect. And I know in books we don’t want to read about ourselves, but just look at it from every perspective, ya know?
“There is too a rule about shirts in the kitchen,” I insist. “House rule number fourteen. Speaking of which, where are my house rules?”
“Hard to say,” he says, opening the fridge and glancing at it’s meager offerings before pouring a cup of coffee instead. “But I may have used them to mop up OJ the other day. Or maybe as a coaster for my beer.” He snapped his fingers. “Oh wait, no, I remember. I just plain threw them away the old-fashioned way.”
So…yeah. Another huge win for me. And it’s so shocking to me this isn’t more popular than it is, already, because this might be my absolute favorite by her. But, I say that a lot about her books. That says a lot about this author: No matter how many times I say nothing will ever top one of her books I just read, I always come out at the end of a new book gushing and proclaiming my love for it. So….as I was desperately hiding in the bathroom on my husband’s birthday trying to finish this beautiful, fantastic book, I realized how far I would go to get more Lauren Layne-Making time where there is none (seeing as how I was supposed to be done a half hour prior). So, Lauren, can we please have lunch sometime? I know we’d be the BEST of friends. Seriously. Besties. Call me. 😛
**Quotes are subject to change upon release date**
Aaaahhhh so it begins-A buddy read with my two favorite cynical NA Sally’s…I shall defend the Lauren Layne name.
Why yes, yes I do 😛