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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…
*I received a free eARC of Friends to Lovers from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Friends to Lovers is the kind of love story I love to read, two people are best friends, hang out with each other all the time, get along, have the same interests and then… there is more feelings than they thought they had for each other. Gib and Daphne have been friends for several years, and for all that time, Daphne has hidden her true feelings for Gib, because he’s truly not the kind of guy who’d ever have a real relationship with a woman. He’s more the love them and leave them kind of man, and that’s OK since he always seems to be able to keep those women happy, even when he disappears from their lives.
I really enjoyed both Daphne and Gib as characters. Daphne is a florist, preparing bouquets for blushing brides more often than not, in the company she co-owns with her friend, Ivy, the wedding planner. Being in love with her best friend is something she’s used to by now, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of dating other men, or hanging out with Gib to watch a soccer game, a football game or an action movie while eating more than her share of junk-food. Gib is the perfect British gentleman, sea-blue eyes, dark hair and impeccable manners go with a close-to-perfect body and that sexy accent that makes Daphne want to purr when he says hello.
When Daphne finally dares to take the first step, in the dark no less, she is not disappointed by all the feelings that come to the surface just by kissing Gib. However, his reaction throws her completely off her game, as he thinks any woman but her could be the one who kissed him – and Daphne decides to keep her identity to herself. Until a few days later, when Gib actually kisses her. And realizes she’s his Cinderella before he runs out on her. Friends to Lovers continue to be both funny and romantic from that point.
Their humorous squabbling made me chuckle several times, and the sexual tension was so tangible I could almost touch it through the pages of the book! However, Gib is a one very stubborn English lord, and he is too afraid to lose Daphne’s friendship to dare to take things further, even if it’s all he can think about. Daphne knows what she wants, and it’s Gib all the way! But of course, there are obstacles for this lovely couple, both Gib’s past and their future seem to be parsed with a lot of trouble.
The side characters are probably already well-known for fans of the Aisle Bound series, but since Friends to Lovers is the first book I’ve read I didn’t already know them. They were all well fleshed out, though, and I want to read the two first books as well, to see how Ivy and Mira hooked up with their men. The way characters are portrayed really appealed to me, and of course the sexy scenes were hot enough to make my kindle blink on and off! Mix in a reality TV show, a long-term enemy, a revoked work visa and a distant family, and you have a story that is appealing on most levels. I thought the ending was a little bit too well wrapped up, though, but that’s often the case with contemporary romance novels, and it did not take anything away from my enjoyment of Friends to Lovers at all.
If you’re looking for a light, funny and romantic novel that will keep you warm on a dark fall-night, Friends to Lovers is just the book you need!
Daphne believed there was something magical about midnight on New Year’s Eve. Her father always said you should start the year you meant to continue.
Gibson Moore was far from sweet. Polished, elegant, refined and swoon-worthy sexy, yes.
He wore the same cologne every day. It always engendered the same Pavlovian reaction – an urge to lick him up on one side and down the other.
Being on the receiving end of a kiss by Gibson Moore was a powerful thing, indeed. The end result? Not much different from running a marathon (or so she imagined, because really, she saw no reason to run that many miles. Unless she was being chased by pitchfork-wielding villagers, or to nab the last doughnut in a fifty-mile radius). Knees buckled, heart both racing and palpitating, breathing heavily, Daphne could barely think for the sheer joy of it.
Their make-out session in the carriage had been so hot it was amazing the snow on the road hadn’t simply evaporated.