Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Almost Just Friends, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis.
Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.
When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.
Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.
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Jill Shalvis is always an easy author to read. You’re immediately drawn into a warm, humorous story with likable characters. But Almost Just Friends? This is absolutely one of her best novels, one which I didn’t want to put down.
Although Piper is prickly and bossy, she is totally likable because she knows these things about herself. She has endearing quirks, like constantly writing lists in her journals that is much like a kid’s security blanket. She’s brave and honest and deserves a chance at happiness, if she doesn’t run away from it first.
And then there’s Camden, “Cam” for short. This man is off-the-charts sexy because he’s a good guy with a sense of humor, is self-aware, kind, and vulnerable.
These two had some of the most swoon-worthy scenes I’ve read in a while.
Besides Piper and Camden, we had the second chance romance between Gavin and CJ, which was sweet and romantic, with both finally understanding what love is after so many years.
I really loved reading Almost Just Friends. It was one of those experiences which brings about the phrase: it has all of the feels. And it did. Tears, laughter, swoons, and mostly smiles. Is there anything better than smiling while you read?
Although this is part of the Wildstone series, it can most definitely be read as a standalone as can all of the books in this series.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies
“Well?” he asked.
She grinned. “That was possibly the most thrilling ride of my life.”
He pulled off her helmet, the look in his eyes saying that he knew he could give her an even more thrilling ride.
She had no doubt. But she hadn’t managed to raise her siblings and get them all a relatively decent life by following a whim, sexy as that whim might be. She’d been afraid of commitment with Ry because … well, she still wasn’t one hundred percent sure. But she thought it had something to do with the knowledge that committing to him would mean becoming something she wasn’t – a person capable of further dividing her heart, handing another chunk of it off to someone, and in turn giving them power to hurt her.
But looking into Cam’s gaze, she couldn’t see him ever trying to make her into something she wasn’t. Life with him would only get better.
But they weren’t going to go there. And if that caused a little teeny tiny spark of sadness, she shoved it aside. This wasn’t the time to dwell. She needed to live in the moment. And that needed to go into her journal. She had it in her purse in the truck. “Do you have the keys?”
“Sure. What do you need, I’ll get it for you.”
Okay, so she could admit her crazy here, or she could keep it to herself. But maybe to prove that this wouldn’t – couldn’t — last, she gave him the truth. “I need to write something in my journal.”
“Okay,” he said without blinking an eye and turned toward the stairs to get to the parking lot.
Just the fact that he’d do it made it okay to stop him. “I can wait.’ Then she stepped into him and pressed her face in the crook of his neck to just breathe him in for a moment, willing herself to remember. Live in the moment. There was no sense in thinking about the future, because as she knew all too well, not everyone got one. So there was no use in spoiling the here and now by running ahead of herself. Besides, she thought as his arms came around her, the here and now was pretty damn amazing. “Thank you,” she whispered against his skin, and then, unable to resist, kissed his throat.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
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