I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Friends to Lovers by Christi Barth
Series: Aisle Bound #3
Published by Carina Press on October 14, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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 have to admit I was reluctant to start this book. While Gib is a really good friend to the women of Aisle Bound, he’s also renowned for being a serious serial lover. The idea of Daphne getting involved with him wasn’t that appealing. But, I guess this is my year to find warm places in my heart for these guys….my third one so far!
Gib is gorgeous, smart and the talented British manager of a five-star hotel in Chicago. He and Daphne, a creative and successful florist, have been best friends for a long time, though she’s secretly had a thing for him. When she makes the first move, he’s stunned but warm to the idea. When he decides to date her (he’s not really used to being with anyone more than once), Gib is out of his element as he’s only skilled at being suave and romantic. Their friends are also a bit worried that this new relationship might negatively change the dynamics of the group.
What worked for me
I love friends-to-lovers storylines and this was exceptional. Daphne isn’t missing anything…she’s pretty, independent and smart. While she’s sort of in love with Gib, she also knows him inside and out and doesn’t give him a break. She makes him “work for it” and share himself in ways he’s never done as a friend to her or as a lover to the hosts of women in his past. It’s a rocky start with no guarantees that things will work. Gib is also a British Viscount with family issues that he’s never shared with anyone. Of course, that’s a factor in why he’s lived a life commitment free, too. Daphne’s the one in control and Gib’s in the unusual role of fighting for a woman.
What made me cringe
Just a warning…anytime a story is about a guy with a lusty past, you’re going to have to grit your teeth and suck it up through his path to commitment. I don’t know how Daphne was able to put that aside.
The bottom line
This story did it for me. I was so happy to unexpectedly love it, with its depth, humor and interesting characters. It’s at times a riot and at others a tear jerker. What it isn’t is light-weight. Both Gib and Daphne are more substantive than what lies on the surface and this turned out to be a great story.
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