Friends to Lovers

Christi Barth
Friends to Lovers
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Carina Press
Release Date
October 2013
Book 3 of Aisle Bound
Contemporary Romance

As florist and co-owner of a successful Chicago wedding planning business, Daphne Lovell has been there for the happiest days of other people's lives. As for her own life? Well, it's hard to be perfectly happy when you're carrying a torch for your sexy, womanizing and oblivious best friend. So when the lights go out on New Year's Eve, she seizes the opportunity to kiss him senseless.

British expat Gibson Moore has a lot on his plate. The hotel he manages is being bought out, his family is crazy and someone just kissed him in the dark. When the lights go on, he searches the room, trying to find the mystery pair of lips. Only, he never thinks to ask the woman standing by his side. He's shocked when he discovers that Daphne is the woman he's been searching for. But Gib's also eager to act upon the attraction for her he's always fought to ignore.

It takes trust to move from friends to lovers, and as Gib's work situation worsens, he is no longer sure he can risk the friendship he relies on most. It's up to Daphne to convince him that some things are worth fighting for…

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Oct 03, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
121 people found the following review helpful
FRIENDS TO LOVERS is an excellent story, detailing the realistic journey of two best friends into lovers. The journey isn't smooth; it's racked with assumptions and misunderstandings as two friends try to shift the relationship to a whole new level, along with other difficulties and challenges that come their way.

Daphne Lovell has had a crush on best friend Gibson Moore for a long time, but she'd always pushed the feeling away, since playboy Gibson has never seen her as anything but a friend. However, one New Year's eve, she's had enough. In the darkness, she decided to take what she wanted--a kiss--if that's all she'll ever have of him. She just didn't know the consequences her actions would wrought upon their lives...

As stated in the first paragraph, the relationship shift was done slowly and realistically, and I like that. Too often, these kinds of stories rushed into the sex part without giving much thought to how new emotions would integrate into the existing ones, how both parties would need to adjust to each other before arriving at the correct fit. Or how a rake like Gibson adjusts to being a one-woman man. I like the way the author took the time to show these missteps and that communication (and groveling) is the key to arriving at a mutually satisfying situation.

Though Daphne and other people kept saying she and Gibson were best friends, I didn't see (or feel) this at first. I pretty much thought all six of them (with Sam and Mira, Ivy and Ben, couples from the previous two books) were good friends, not that there's anything special in the friendship between Daphne and Gibson to elevate their friendship to "best friend" status. It was only later (maybe a third of the way into the book) that I begin to believe this claim, and I think it would've been much better if we can see this best friend thing in action earlier. (Or maybe, this was portrayed in the earlier books in the series, which I didn't read.)

I didn't like Gibson at first, because he's such a tomcat. I understand the appeal of being the woman to reform the rake, but he's just a bit that much of a playboy for my taste. Although, I do have to say that he groveled pretty good, which is where he started to endear himself to me. I like seeing his growth throughout the story, and I thought he redeemed himself pretty well in the end.

Daphne is a great heroine, a woman who's not afraid to go for what she wants and who's big enough to forgive her enemies. Though she has a strong sense of her self, there's no doubt that Gib does influence her thinking and actions, and it is this love for him that make her a better woman in the end.

This book wouldn't be complete without the two couples from the previous books and Milo (Gib's roommate and Daphne's office manager), who make up Gib and Daphne's circle of friends. We can see their friendship as a live and vital thing, a necessary support structure that bolsters our main characters in their time of need.

The ending scene has a nice touch (I'm a sucker for romantic gestures, even if it's from the heroine), and I like that there's no pretty bow where everything is tied up nicely or all the problems are solved neatly. Because life's like that.

FRIENDS TO LOVERS is an amazingly wonderful story you shouldn't miss!
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