Falling in love with a straight man is a rookie mistake. But falling in love with my soon-to-be-married-to-a-woman best friend is nothing but heartache.
Through all the years, and all the men I’ve fooled around with, he’s always been at the back of my mind. An unrequited crush I wish I could shake. A dream that was never going to come true.
When I whisk him off to a surprise bachelor party weekend in Vegas, I surrender to the idea that this is an opportunity for me to finally let go of my feelings for him and say goodbye.
But after a heated exchange and an even hotter kiss, everything I thought I knew about our friendship changed.
Maybe I had it wrong. Maybe, after all this time, we were more than best friends. Maybe, just maybe, he felt it too.
Confidently, she places her hand on her hip, not caring that every inch of her is on display. “I don’t need you to touch me because you feel bad, Gael.”
“That’s not what I’m doing,” I protest.
She leisurely reaches for a nearby towel and wraps it around her body. “Is this about Frankie?”
God, I hated hearing that man’s name. “Why are we talking about Frankie?”
“Because every time he comes up, you turn into”—she gestures her hand up and down my body—“this.”
“I just don’t like him for Jordan,” I exclaim.
“They have sex Gael, it’s hardly a marriage proposal.”
“He said he would bring him over in the new year. That’s more than just sex.”
She shakes her head at me. “He said that because you seem to turn into an over protective, ornery father every time he mentions people he’s with.”
His father? God, that was so far from the truth. Nothing I felt about him was familial. Not in a long time and even less so lately.
Lately, I was fucking jealous, and Elena knew it. Every part of me knew she did, but she wasn’t going to call me out. Because she was hiding from the truth just as much as I was.
“Sorry,” I say, because honesty isn’t really an option right now. “I can’t help but feel protective over him. Ever since—”
“I know,” Elena says, nothing but understanding in her voice. “Ever since he got kicked out of his home, you’ve felt the need to protect him. I get it. You’re the same with me,” she adds with a soft smile. “You’re like that with everyone you love. And we love you for it, but you need to let this disdain for Frankie go and let Jordan live his life. If it turns to shit, you’ll be there for him, because that’s what good friends do.”
Every word she said pricked at my heart in pain, leaving little holes as reminders that this was so much more than being worried and protective of your friend. It was a lifetime of hurt, longing, lust, and confusion. And it was wrong.
The only other book I have read by Marley Valentine is Without You, which if you know me I rarely read anything that says “angsty”, but I absolutely loved that book. (Go grab it if you haven’t read it!) It broke my heart about six different ways, and then put it all back together again. So, I definitely went into this book expecting something quite similar. Anyway, since I hadn’t been burned with the angst on Without You, I figured I had to try this. I was not disappointed.
There is a piece in this book that the author calls “an unconventional triangle”, which **small spoiler** may cause some people to be overly cautious about reading it. Don’t, please! It is usually a piece that I don’t want to read either, but the author did it very well. Honestly, the author made it very real life. Life is about choices, day to day, week to week, year over year. And in this case, the heart had made its choice years before.
It was obvious from the first chapter how in love these two MC’s were with each other. They just were not bright enough to figure out that they other one was also in love with them, despite everyone around them realizing it.
They go to Vegas, and realize that they’ve hid it from each other all these years, etc. The first half of the book is almost entirely based in Vegas, and sets up the second half of the book very well.
The MC’s were best friends before they were lovers. However, they were also family. Jordan found family in Gael, as well as with the entire Herrera family, and it was just wonderful to see how much they loved him back, no matter what. Each person in that family was there for everyone else, at all times. What a joy to read.
I cried…multiple times…reading this book, something I genuinely try to avoid. However, with this author I have done it more than once, and it’s likely I will do it again. And I’m here for it. 🙂
A big recommend, without question. Take on the Ache, but, I promise, you’ll get to your HEA.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Apparently this was a short that was included in a previous anthology. It has since been re-edited with 50,000 words added.
We’ve seen this- best friends, gay falls for straight, long drawn out angst, straight goes gay for you, happily ever after. It’s a bit that-but definitely more.
The more involves Gael’s family taking him in as their own when his parents throw him out at 17 for being gay. More is watching your best friend get engaged to a woman. More is finding out your straight best friend wants you just as badly.
I really loved that most of this book took place over a weekend in Vegas. The back story between Jordan and Gael is explained at appropriate times to move the story alone without bogging us down with their entire relationship since they were teenagers. It moved fast without sacrificing story and it had SO. MANY. FEELS. Family feels, romantic feels, friends feels, love feels. Sigh.
No one was a jerk, no one was the bad guy, no one needed to be redeemed. Just an awesome friends to lovers story that was really well done.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Living in Sydney, Australia with her family, Marley Valentine is a USA Today bestselling author and a former social worker who uses her past experiences to write real life, emotional and heartfelt contemporary romance.
She enjoys mixing it up with both M/F and M/M Romance incorporating all forms of life, lust and love as her characters embark on their journey to their happily ever after.
When she’s not busy writing her own stories, she spends most of her time immersed in the words of her favourite authors.
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