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Friday, September 19, 2008:
Theme: friends to lovers
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bantam (May 20, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0553591657
ISBN-13: 978-0553591651

A bad boy in black leather who'd never forgotten the first girl he loved....
Clint McCade roared into town to visit his best friend, just as he had a dozen times before--but this time the rugged photographer had romance on his mind! When Sandy Kirk told him she'd lost her heart at last, he knew he'd waited too long to claim her--but vowed to help her get her man. Practicing seduction and pretending to be lovers started out as a game, but would their lips and bodies betray the desire neither dared to confess?
In a book that's steamy and sensual, witty and poignant, Suzanne Brockmann celebrates an unforgettable reunion between childhood buddies whose romantic destiny is definitely each other! He'd always ridden off into the sunset before, unaware that his heart's desire was so close to home, but now that he'd figured out his dream, would she want the same?

Another favorite theme of mine, one that I know many of you share, is "friends to lovers". I just adore the idea of two special people - who are already familiar with each other -falling in love after years of only ever being just friends. They know the other person so well - what they like or don't like, their habits, their dreams - and one day something changes and their friendship becomes so much more. There's magic in that.
Of course there is usually the fear that becoming lovers will ruin the friendship, that it's better to stay friends than to hook up and then break up and never going back to what they had before. This argument almost never makes sense to me because I'm thinking if you're at the stage where you have strong romantic feelings for each other, it's already changed, so doing nothing at all doesn't mean things will stay the same either. Maybe that's just me. Of course there are certainly circumstances when the worst thing two people can do is cross that line and become lovers, but in a book, that argument is really annoying.
Anyway, one of my keepers with this theme is Suzanne Brockmann's "Body Language" (click here for Shannon's awesome review), which was originally released in 1998. I have loved this book since then, and have re-read it many times. What I really liked about this book is that it's obvious that Sandy and Clint really are good friends and have been for years. It's not just a story where the author tells us they are best friends and we have to try to suspend our disbelief and take him/her at their word for it. We see how interact, how they talk and have shared jokes and memories, how comfortable they are around each other. There is genuine affection between them, and simmering atraction, but because they've known each other since they were children, they just never developed romantic feelings for each other.
Well, until now, when MacCade realizes that the times that he is happiest are when he's with Sandy. He loves hanging out with her, even if it's just watching t.v., and it has become apparent that after years of running around and dating other women, no one as touched his heart like Sandy, and now he's come home to claim the woman he loves. But he may be too late, because Sandy believes she's fallen in love, finally!, with another man. And being the good friend that he is, Clint decides the only thing he can do is help her win the prince of her dreams.
Crazy guy. He figures the best way for Sandy to get the guy she wants is to pretend to be her boyfriend and get the other guy jealous. Which definitely works, only Sandy's too distracted by McCade's kisses to care about Gerald? Geoffrey? James Something-Something the 3rd. Or is it the 4th? Nothing else matters but the steamy hot attraction that blazes up everytime Sandy and MacCade get near each other, but they are only supposed to be pretending. Only, deep down, each of them knows that what they could have together is the real thing, if only the other person felt the same...
The tension between McCade and Sandy is scorching. In fact it's their kisses that are so much more erotically charged than half the sex scenes in some of the books out in the market today. You can tell they just want to rip each other's clothes off and damn the consequences, but one of them always leads the other away from the edge right at the last possible second, and you're left dying, wanting more.
Then the HEA shows up, and it's everything it should be for these two. It's the perfect blend of friendship and romance. They both come together on equal ground; neither has given up more than the other in order to be together, and it's a revelation to see not just one character make the grand gesture, but both of them. It's a true partnership, and for McCade and Sandy, no other way would do. It's just right.
Is this your favorite theme?
What are some of your favorite
"friends to lovers" stories?

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  1. Huh. You know, I've had this one for ages and haven't read it. I think I need to dig it out for maybe a weekend read.

    Great review, Stacy.

    Oh, I have a ton of themes, but along this line is the unrequited love one. Where they've known each other for years and one or the other of them has secretly been in love all that time.

    Love that theme!

  2. I have been wanting to read Suzanne Brockmann for some time now...this one seems like a perfect introduction into her writing.

    I love bad boy/good girl themes as well as friends to lovers. There is just something about falling in love with your best friend. Who better to love you than someone that really knows you.

  3. Stacy - I'm a huge Brockmann fan and yet have never read this book! Where have I been? I'm going to have to pick this one up.

    I do enjoy a good friends to lovers theme, but I guess my favorite would be 'the women who everyone dismisses as a non-entity comes into her own and becomes a force to be recokened with" - is there an easier way to say that? I find it a lot in historicals (westerns) and contemporaries. I love when the heroine blossoms and achieves her full potential.

  4. I am a fan of Suzanne Brockmann and am going to have to pick up this reissue. I have a lot of her books and some of her early books, but this is not one of them. Thanks Stacy for a great review.

  5. Great review Stacy. I've had this in my TBR pile for some time now. May need to bump it up.

    A similar theme to friends/lovers is the young lovers reunited. Maybe they were high school sweethearts, went their separate ways, then years later are thrown together.

    I also like the bad boy/good girl that Kara mentioned.

  6. I love her old books. This was a good one!

    Friends to lovers is always a favorite of mine, too.

  7. This might have to be the first Brockman book I read. Sounds fantastic.

  8. Y'know, I've never read a non-Seal SB. I love friends to lovers when it's done well. I think I'll have to give thus one a go.

  9. I love the friends to lovers theme. I also really enjoyed this book, I love Brockmann. And realized when I read your review that I never posted about this book. oops. I love the theme, but my mind is drawing a blank at the moment as to my favorite. :(

  10. I haven't read this one! What happened? I think I got it confused with Body Guard? Not sure but I'll pick it up. :)

    PS. I nominated you for a Brilliante Weblog Premio Award.

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