Book Review, Romance Review

ARC Review: The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

This is a sweet second chance romance about Tae and Riggs. They were unlikely friends in high school, but when things went further, she ran off scared. For him, she’s the one that got away but it’s for the best because he thinks she can do better. Riggs carries a lot of guilt for his brother’s injury since he was deployed on a mission and unable to be there to help. He couldn’t be happier to run into Tae and the old attraction is still just as strong but Riggs still thinks he’s not good enough.

Tae isn’t asking for forever though. She just wants one night but when she suggests it, Riggs insists they should be “just” friends. She’s not happy to be turned down or to be friend-zoned when all she wanted was some fun. Her walls are too high for anything else because Tae doesn’t let anyone in. And for all her bluntness in everyday life, she won’t tell him how she really feels.

They dance it around it, with Riggs desperate to be near her and Tae trying to avoid him after their last disastrous run-in, but to no avail. When Riggs figures out that she needs help, he won’t take no for an answer and the more time they spend together, the harder it is to be “just” friends. I enjoyed seeing them get sucked into this relationship almost against their will but it was fun. This is a steamy FWB situation that quickly gets out of hand and they’ll have to decide if being “just” friends is even still an option. Just when they take some tentative steps towards a real relationship, a secret from the past comes between them. This had a good mix of humor and suspense that left me wanting more. I received an ARC from Get Red PR in exchange for an honest review.

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