Series: Friends First #4
Published by Loveswept Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Romance, Second Chances
Buy on Amazon
Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.
Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.
I adore this series! I have had such a fun time reading the series and watching the women of this group fall in love. I have to admit that I was totally looking forward to reading Maya’s story. When the beginning of the series started, we were introduced to Maya, and all we really know about her and her situation is that she caught her husband cheating on her and lets just say he was a super jerk. So I wanted Maya’s story, I wanted to see her get her happy ending. And I have to say I am glad I had to wait for her to get her romance, she needed time to move on from the jerk that was her ex. But the fact that she falls for the guy who is her ex’s best friend, oh my gosh that just made it even better.
One of the things that stuck out to me first right off the bat about this book is the dynamic between Jack and Maya. When Maya and Jack run into each other at a bar, they are just so adorable right off the bat. You can tell that the two of them really care about each other, and had an easy going friendship, even though they hadn’t really spoken in years, because of the break up between Maya and her ex. However, one of the most frustrating things about this book was how beholden Jack felt to Maya’s ex’s family. I mean he goes along with a lot of things that he doesn’t agree with because these people took him in out of foster care and gave him a normal home. I think one of the things that Jack regrets the most though was giving up Maya after she left her ex. I will say that I really liked how Jack evolved throughout the book, it was really hard for him to really decide that he had to live for himself, he had spent so much of his life doing for others, his evolution was kind of awesome. Also I loved that he was a video game writing who made women main characters in his game (there need to be more chicks in gaming).
As for Maya, well I kind of loved her. I think what I loved about her is how kind she really is. I mean she always understood the awkward position that Jack was in when they started hanging out again. She never wanted to come between Jack and her ex, I mean she knows his family is the one who took him out of foster care, so they are basically his family too, and she never ever wanted him to have to chose between them. I loved that she was so understanding. And I also loved that she went for what she wanted when she realized she wanted Jack. There is also this moment towards the end of the book where she ends up providing the flowers for her ex’s wedding, and I have to say if that doesn’t show what a good person she is, I don’t know what will. She’s just such a good person, and she’s so much fun to read, she had a great personality, by the end of the book I wanted her to get the happy ending that she so richly deserved.
This book had great chemistry, some hot scenes, and a lot of emotional pull. The drama of the awkwardness of the budding relationship made for some really good reading. This is one of my favorite series this year, and I easily recommend this book and this series to anyone who likes a good romance.
“From the guy in the gray T-shirt at the end of the bar.” Grinning, Shelley set a white frothy drink, complete with a pineapple wedge and tiny blue parasol, in front of Maya then moved on to her next table.
With scarcely a glance at the piña colada, Maya and all three of her friends immediately craned their necks toward the bar.
“A piña colada?” Regan snorted. “Come on, buddy.”
“I know him,” Ellie muttered. “Why do I know him?”
Jayne just gaped. “He’s huge.”
Being the shortest of the four of them, Maya had to push away from the table and stand up to be able to see around and over everyone in the packed pub.
“Oh my God! ”
“Who’s Jack?” Jayne’s question hung unanswered, because Maya was already dodging and weaving her way around waitresses and other tables.
Ducking under Shelley’s lifted tray, Maya came around the corner of the last table just as the guy sitting there stood up, shoving the chair hard into her hip. She tried to right herself but ended up crashing into the corner of the wall and spiraling off like she was in some kind of pinball game.
Grasping and flailing, and with the floor racing up to meet her, Maya was saved by two big hands that caught her under the arms and righted her.
Without a word, Maya thrust her hands straight up over her head, snort-laughed, and gave a dramatic bow as everyone cheered.
“And that’ll be a ten from the Canadian judge,” Jack announced, using his beer bottle as a mic, “for sticking the landing with such grace and style.”
“Thank you, thank you very much.” Another quick bow, then she turned and walked right into Jack’s open arms.
“Hey, Snip.” He laughed quietly, and his huge frame swallowed her up until her feet dangled just below his kneecaps.
“What are you doing here?”
His chest rumbled with a low chuckle. “Someone had to be here to catch your sorry ass, didn’t they?”
Maya pulled back far enough so she could see his face. “Oh, God. Will’s not here with you, is he?”
“Nope—I’m solo.” He set her down slowly, then perched on his stool, bringing them closer to the same level, his hazel eyes wide, his brow lifting slowly. “You look . . . .”
“Thanks.” She laughed lightly as she leaned her hip against the stool next to him. “But I think we can both agree anything would be an improvement over the last time you saw me.”
“I don’t know about that.” He shrugged. “You looked pretty good then, too.”
Ha! She’d looked like a crazy person and they both knew it, but considering she’d been going through her divorce from Will at the time, she hadn’t really cared.
“So what’s going on? Are you in town to visit Will?”
“Partly.” His grin vanished as he twisted his jaw to the side and blinked down at his beer for a second. “I’m sorry, Snip. I didn’t know about him and Stella, but I swear I could’ve killed him when I finally found out.”
Maya snorted. “Yeah, you and me both.”
“And then . . . jeezus . . . I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do. I mean, shit, it’s we’re talking about.”
“I know, which is exactly why we’re going to stop talking about him right now and agree to disagree on the fact that he’s a complete asshole and deserves to rot in hell.”
It was a feeble joke at best, so she couldn’t really blame him for not smiling back at her.
“Oh come on, Jack, it’s done, it’s over. Dickhead . . . sorry . . . . . . has moved on and so have I.”
“Have you? Moved on I mean.” Finally a smile, hesitant as it was. “Should I be watching out for some big hulking dude who’s going to kick my ass for buying you that drink?”
“Yeah, right.” Jack was six three, with the shoulders of a linebacker and arms the size of tree trunks, so there weren’t many guys who had what it took to kick his ass. “No hulking anyone, just my girls over there and they’re pretty friendly.”
His gaze flicked past her briefly. “I don’t know, that one in the green sweater looks like she could take me.”
Without turning, Maya laughed. “Ellie. And you might be right on that one. Are they still staring?”
“Oh yeah.” Jack’s eyes crinkled at the corners. “I don’t think any one of them’s moved since you shoved them all out of the way and leapt over the table.”
“I didn’t leap!” Heat raced up Maya’s neck and across her cheeks until she finally had to laugh and look down at the floor for a second. “Okay, I might have leapt a little, but I haven’t seen you in . . . what . . . two years, so a little leaping wasn’t completely uncalled for.”
“Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” His gaze never wavered as he took a slow sip of his beer. “How are you doing? For real, no B.S.”